Holiday Travels with Toddlers

Posted by Zara Merbaum on 11th Dec 2014

Traveling with our kids usually means a few sleepless nights filled with packing anxiety. I always replay different scenarios about what to pack and what to leave behind, what I need to pack in the carry-on and what I should pack in the suitcase.  We have small children which therefore necessitates a plan in order to have a dignified flight. Recently, I added the below new life rule in order to ensure happy travels for our family.

Life Rule #44: Always travel with the expectation that you will be delayed whether it’s mechanical or act of god. 

Keeping the new rule in mind the below list entails our carry-on must haves for those traveling with smaller children.

  • Toddler size carry-on with wheels, if you can find it. Let them lead the packing choices by allowing them to pack their own toy bag. We always say "pack whatever fits". Coloring books, crayons, stuffed animals...It’s their bag let them have ownership of something. 
  • Avoid in flight air pressure crying with Dum Dums.  They are the perfect size, small enough for toddlers to eat and finish. It’s a special treat that our kids enjoy as part of the traveling process. On many occasions these lolly pops have been a life saver for take off and landing!!
  • Diapers - pack 1 for each hour of travel, then double it!! We love using the Mother Load diaper bag because you can easily remove it from your carry-on bag and just take what you need to the scary small airplane lavatory.
  • Snacks - Packing a snack bag is a must. Cut up apples, seeds and nuts if you allow, cheese sliced or stick and a sweet treat is the minimum.Carry on board 2 of whatever soothes your child. 2 binkies, 2 lovie blankets, 2 stuffies.  I guarantee your child will drop or throw one of the objects and you and/or your spouse will be unable to reach it.  Additionally there is always a chance that one of the lovies will get wet or dirty beyond your comfort level. If you have 2, pack 2, chances are good you will need it!!
  • Talking about a back-up.  Always pack an extra outfit for you and your kids in a clean clothes bag. I once used 3 outfits In one overseas fight with my 18 month old. It’s a flight I’ll never forget, my son spilled, threw-up and had a remarkable blow out all during an 11hr flight.  Ever since that flight, I pack at least one extra outfit for us both and depending on travel time sometimes it’s 2 or 3 outfits. 
  • Which leads me to having a dirty clothes bag, wet bag or some kind of plastic shopping bag to put all the dirty stuff in.


*Just a few pictures of our carry-on packing process. Pictured: Mother Load Diaper bag and Snack bag.

Everyone from Mother Load wishes you safe and happy travels this holiday season!!!

Warmest Wishes,


Zara Merbaum

Founder of Mother Load