Travel Essentials for Kids

Have you ever wondered what to bring when flying with kids? Since all of my family lives out of state, we do a fair amount of air traveling and road trips with my kids. I often tell them how lucky they are to have flown and traveled as much as they have—especially compared to kids their age. Below you will find a guide to my favorite travel essentials for kids!

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What do you need for traveling with kids?

Over the years, I have learned the items I think are essential to put in my child’s travel bag, from something to chew or suck on, so their ears pop to a good set of headphones. Having the right items on the plane will make your trip much smoother.


A good backpack is essential when wondering what to pack for kids on the plane! Something straightforward for the kids to carry on their own. Roller bags or backpacks on wheels may seem like a great idea but trust me; you WILL have to handle them in addition to your bags. We love our Jansport backpacks as they last for years. I’ve added a variety of choices from different retailers and price points, but they should all hold up during your travels. Now you can pack the rest of your carry-on travel essentials!

Gum and Snacks

This one might not seem like that big of a deal, but it is essential to give your kids something to chew or suck on during the flight, especially during take-off and landing. I have one daughter with sensitive ears after tons of ear infections and tubes, and chewing gum can help them normalize the pressure in their ears since they don’t always know how to do it themselves. If your kids are younger and don’t want them chewing gum or sucking on a piece of candy, you could do a sippy cup or a bottle.

Can I bring snacks for my child on a plane?

If you are wondering if you can bring snacks for your kids on the plane, the answer is yes! Snacks are always a good idea, depending on how long your flight is. It’s expensive to buy them on a plane or at the airport. Unlike liquids, most snacks you are allowed to bring through security. I added some ideas of things I have found easy to bring along and not very messy!


Whether or not you bring an electronic device for your kids on the airplane, headphones are a great idea. Some airlines have a screen available for you to utilize. Otherwise, the headphones will be handy if you need to distract them with your phone. Also, unless there is a legitimate reason they can’t, please have your kids use headphones. No one on the airplane in that close of quarters wants to listen to whatever your kids are watching at top volume!

My kids used to go through SO many headphones because the cords would go bad. We finally found affordable wireless headphones on Amazon, which have lasted for years! They stay charged pretty well but also come with a cord in case you want to plug them into something. This is especially nice since you will need a cord to use the screens on the airplane. I am also linking the case we use to keep them nice and all the cords together!

Empty Water Bottle

It is always a good idea to bring an empty water bottle with you through security (if you are new to traveling, make sure it is empty before you try to go through.) Then, once you are through, you can fill it up, saving you money from having to buy water bottles at the airport! Also, I recommend getting one with a straw, so you don’t have to twist the lid on and off to drink each time!

Activities or Fidgets

I’m not going to pretend I’m a mom that cares how much screen time my kids have. I know I should care, but most of the time, I don’t. So I am thrilled to let my kids watch whatever video they want for the flight…But I also have a daughter with ADHD, among other things, and she needs to keep her hands busy. So whether it’s a squishy, coloring, or some other type of fidget, it’s always a good idea to have it on hand! These are great airplane activities for 11-year-olds, 12-year-olds, and beyond!

Miscellaneous Extras – Travel Essentials for Kids

A couple of other things to think about. I always try to pack a sweatshirt or a small blanket. No matter how warm it is where you are traveling to or from, it gets COLD on the airplane!

What can I give my child before flying?

As I mention below, the only thing I have ever given my child before flying is Dramamine, as she has struggled with motion sickness. This can have a side effect of drowsiness which is sometimes a benefit for her as it gets her through a chunk of the flight sleeping and not focusing on the flight. To my knowledge, there is nothing else recommended to give a child before flying. If you give them something to make them unnaturally drowsy, this will mess up their schedule, and trust me, that will come back to haunt you!

How do I keep my child calm on a plane?

I have one daughter who suffers from anxiety; she has gotten sick on planes. So we always try to bring chewable Dramamine, which helps her as much mentally as it probably helps with any air sickness she might get. On that note, I would also encourage an extra set of clothing in case of any accidents or illnesses, and fingers crossed there won’t be!

Those are the main things I always try to remember! I hope this list of travel essentials for kids is helpful. I will update this post as needed. Similarly, if you are planning to travel with a small pet, there are many other things you should consider er! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions on Instagram or join me in my private Facebook group. Thank you, and happy travels!

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