It’s no big revelation to say that traveling with kiddos can be stressful (but also, don’t try to wait until it’s not). There’s just so much stuff — like the snack cup, the favorite lovey, and the paci — not to mention the constant threat of meltdowns, delayed flights or holiday traffic, and leaving something behind. There isn’t much to do in preparation for the unknowns but when it comes to handling all the stuff, the best travel diaper bags make it easy. Okay, fine. Easier.
To help you find the right travel bag — and to know what exactly to put in it — keep reading (there’s even a handy packing checklist).
What Are The Carry-On Restrictions?
With most airlines, every passenger with a ticket is allowed to bring one carry-on bag. It’s important to check with your airline for specific sizing, but your carry-on bag should easily fit underneath the seat in front of you, and the max dimensions are 22 inches long, 14 inches wide and 9 inches high (on most major airlines). Ticketed passengers are also allowed a single personal item — a purse, laptop bag, backpack, or diaper bag. When traveling as a family, the less you have to carry the better. So, when your diaper bag can double as a carry-on? Well, let’s just call that a travel-savvy parent hack.
What Makes A Great Travel Diaper Bag?
First of all, you’ll want a bag that’s easy to carry. Backpacks and cross-body bags are winners because they keep your hands free for, you know, strollers and car seats, and actual children. It’s also important to look for bags that open wide so you can see everything at a moment’s notice without rifling around into the abyss. Lots of pockets, especially zippered ones on the exterior, for organizing the chaos (and all those travel toys) is key. And you’ll appreciate extras, such as a trolley sleeve, pacifier holder, or multiple handles when you’re trekking through an airport.
Finally, aesthetics matter. Whether you prefer a minimalist diaper bag, a leather tote, or a modern look, there are a number of styles to choose from, and some are even waterproof (aka wipeable) because, well, sh*t happens.
What Goes In A Diaper Bag On A Plane?
All the normal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) restrictions, including the 3-1-1- rule, apply to carry-on bags. This means you are only permitted to bring liquid or gels containing 3 ounces or less and that they must all fit in one single quart clear plastic bag. However, parents traveling with infants are allowed to break the 3-ounce rule when packing breast milk, formula, and baby food. Just give the agent a head’s up and remove them from your bag before going through security. Other than that, most typical diaper bag items can be packed as usual.
Air Travel With a Baby: Packing Checklist
Here are a few items to consider when you’re packing your travel diaper bag for a trip with kids:
- Plastic bags/wet bags for dirty diapers or soiled clothes
- Multiple changes of clothes
- Baby food, snacks, formula, milk, etc.
- Bottles or sippy cups
- Breast pads
- Diaper cream
- Changing pad
- Hand sanitizer
- Pacifiers and/or loveys
- Medication, pain relievers, first aid kit
Below, we’ve gathered the best diaper bags for jet-setting or hitting the road with a toddler. May the naps be long and the meltdowns be minimal — either way, you’ve got this.