I’ve covered a lot of diaper bag load outs, but our recent trip tested even MY packing abilities. Aer Lingus allows 1 carry on for each parent but nothing for the Wee Baby T, so we had to get creative. After a 14 hour flight to Spain and the 30 hour trip home I’ve learned quite a bit. Don’t make the same mistakes I did when you pack for the plane, check my loadout!
Carry On Bag 1: The Pack mule / Changing Station
One of the blessings of being 6’3″ is I’ve got an abnormally long torso. It’s ok, I’ve come to terms with it, and I’ve even found a backpack that doesn’t look like a purse between my manly broad shoulders. The practical upshot of this is an abundance of storage space. Loaded out with a change of clothes for K, T, and myself, plus diapers, wipes, toys, and passports I weighed in at an extra 22 lbs:
- 10 diapers
- full pack of wipes
- 3 outfits for the Wee Baby T
- spare t-shirt for each K and myself
- sweaters for K and myself
- passports and wallets
- light snacks for K and I (anything prepared & sealed – Clif bars work GREAT!)
- Burp cloths
- toys for T (this adorable Ferris wheel has flashing lights and is pretty compact – perfect for entertaining an infant on the go)
- Pacifiers (at least 2)
- Baby carrier – makes those lay-overs a little more comfortable
Carry On Bag 2: The Cafeteria
While this bag can be a bit smaller, it’s still going to weigh quite a bit. Obviously cater the following to your little one’s schedule and dietary needs:
- 2 Bottles – We used Playtex Drop-Ins. The water in air plane washrooms is NOT POTABLE. Don’t use it to wash your baby’s bottles.
- Nipples – While the liners can be swapped out with use, you won’t be able to wash the nipples until you reach your final destination Knowing your baby’s schedule will help here as well.
- Bottled water – the TSA or equivalent will allow you to bring as much water as you like for your little one (Unfortunately saying “and this beer is for the baby too…” doesn’t work). Don’t let them bully you, they have machines for testing these things. Same goes for breast milk, thought they may ask you to taste it.
- Baby food – If your little one is on solids you won’t want to change their schedule too drastically. That said glass bottles are just asking for disaster. The tetra packs of baby food are a great option, you don’t even need a bowl. Just squeeze from the pack onto the spoon and away you go!
- Bib – We got one of these. Because it’s plastic, it kept everything clean and just needed a quick rinse between feedings.
- Pacifiers – just in case the others fall on the floor or go missing in terminal 1 of Dublin International.
Checked Bag: The Junk Drawer
Literally: everything you own. Just remember you have to carry it through the airport, and there are weight limits. We came in at 21.5 kg, JUST under the threshold. At the end of the day chances are pretty good you can pick up anything that you forget, so don’t panic too much about this one. Most countries use diapers for their children, and there will be plenty of tacky tourist t-shirts to pick up. I actually forgot to pack shorts – 7 Euros later and I’m rocking the height of European fashion. Added bonus, the tan-line on my thighs is WAY higher than it would be had I brought my own shorts.
Stroller and Car Seat: The Saving Grace
With around 90 lbs of bags and an 18 lb infant we didn’t get far before my arms fell off, which put a bit of a dent on our holiday. If only we had something that was capable of holding some of our gear… BUT WAIT! It took some convincing from K, but I agreed to bring our stroller and car seat along. Loaded up with our 2 carry-ons, the car seat, and the Wee Baby T, the stroller left me with just our checked bag to lug around. The best part – we could gate-check the stroller and pick it up in Spain, so we had a mobile command station through the airport.
Since we only booked 2 seats and ‘babe in arms’ we were technically supposed to check the car seat, however since the car seat was FAA approved and the seat between us was still empty the flight attendants let us bring it on board. What a relief! In the future we aren’t going to risk it, we’re booking the extra seat.
You’re all packed for the plane. Now you just need to worry about keeping your little one safe from the sun while you’re away. Enjoy your trip!
Good luck out there.