Flying with a toddler (or a child of any age) can be intimidating. I have to say that I was a little intimidated myself this time, even though I have flown with M several times. She is very active right now, and we were flying alone without my husband. I wanted to be prepared, so I put a lot of thought into what I would pack to take to the airport.
What's in Our BagsCar Seat
M is 3 now, so she needed her own seat. We had to take her car seat with us for her to sit in on the airplane (and so we would have a car seat when we arrived in NJ). There's no way I would have been able to carry the car seat, so I was so thankful to have this Go-Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate. I attached the wheels to the car seat, and was able to load our carry-on bags into the car seat to navigate the airport - so easy!
I knew I was going to have to get M, a car seat, two carry-on bags, and a large checked bag into the airport. There's just no possible way to manage all of that without a carrier of some sort. I chose a woven wrap (mine was an Oscha brand, but similar wraps are more accessible, like Didymos, Storchenwiege or Dolcino) because it is just a long piece of fabric with no buckles or metal pieces (meaning I can wear it through security). I have worn M through airport security on several occasions, and I have almost always been allowed to leave her wrapped. They do require you to have your hands swabbed and sometimes do a quick pat-down to make sure there isn't anything in the wrap. It was an absolute lifesaver to have M on my back as I checked in and checked our large bag.
I put what I consider "essentials" into one backpack. This included my wallet, laptop, chargers, spare clothes and a wet bagfor M, wipes, snacks, M's water bottle (empty), a couple of small stuffed animals, and a small blanket.
The second backpack was full of activities to keep M happy during our wait in the airport and on the airplane. My husband always makes fun of how much I pack for trips, but we have always had very smooth travels.... something must be working!
And Next Comes L. I made several pipe cleaner trees, added pom poms for bushes, blue felt for lakes, and large popsicle sticks painted for roads. I had a small bag of cars and planes for her to play with, and she loved parking the cars around the perimeter to watch the planes land.
I love this DIY travel busy board from Mommy Testers. M isn't usually much into coloring, but for some reason she loves this mini legal pad! I bought some cheap mini markers (I couldn't find the Crayola Pip-Squeaks she was talking about). The markers were a little too big, so the Lego board that I velcro'd to the other side wouldn't lay flat (I could remove it to use since it just had velcro on the corners). I used a small cutting board (the lightest one I could find), so the Lego board is a little bigger than the cutting board, but it was still functional.
Magic Board is easy to pack and much more convenient than a ton of crayons or markers and construction paper.
Car Parking Numbers Game. I used a white colored pencil to quickly draw some lines for parking spaces. I put round stickers on the top of her cars and planes with numbers to match with the parking space numbers.
Train Themed Birthday Box.)
Do A Dot Markers. I cut them out and laminated them. I have several different types of magnets - pom poms with magnets hot glued to them, different sizes of round magnets (set from Staples), and buttons hot glued to magnets. These can be used for all kinds of activities - patterns, sorting by color or shape, etc. The magnets stick to the baking sheet, so they are really easy for M to keep track of while she plays with them.