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What to Pack When Traveling with Kids

The dream: extra legroom; chilled OJ served in a glass; junior looking out the window, daydreaming ‘til you reach your destination. The reality: fitful kiddos fighting in their seats before the safety video even comes on. Sound familiar? But don’t give up on family travel yet! According to travel specialist Liora Cohen, of Dallas’ Melrose Travel and a mother herself, traveling with family can be wonderful—if you plan ahead. So just what do you squeeze into that carry-on? Here are Cohen’s suggestions according to age:

0-2: Extra diapers (more than you think you’ll need, in case of delays), a plastic bag for soiled clothing, favorite plush toy

3-5: Etch A Sketch, change of clothes (for child and you, in case kids get sick), smart phone/tablet/portable video game player

6-12: Portable DVD player, Sudoku/activity book, deck of cards

A few other things to keep in mind? When it comes to packing, be realistic. If your kids don’t read at home, they won’t spend an entire plane ride buried in a book. Also, be sure to bring enough earphones for all your kids’ gadgets—unless you want to spend the trip listening to Elmo’s Monster Maker app (and have a group of seething passengers give you the evil eye).