When you love to travel as much as we do, there are certain things you come to terms with. The first is that if you’re spending your money on travel, you might want to consider penny pinching in other areas. The second is that it’s important to keep supplies on hand, especially things you need for flights, and especially if those flights are with a baby. So if your family is like mine and travel is your number one hobby, this list is for you! 15 items that you will need on board your flight with a baby, and all available at the Dollar Store! If you’ve read through my complete diaper bag packing checklist for flying with a baby, then you’ll recognize most these items from there – these are all things we’ve used multiple times on flights with our boys. So take a look through my 15 items from the Dollar Store for flying with a baby, and stock up for your next trip!
1. Anti-bacterial wipes
To be honest, we don’t bother bringing these on board anymore – our youngest is a toddler and toddlers are gross anyway (have I mentioned that he once licked an airplane toilet seat at the end of a nine-hour flight? Yeah. Gross.) and there’s no point trying to keep them clean. When my little ones were babies, however, especially very young babies, we always traveled with wipes to clean down the immediate seating area before we got settled in. We didn’t go crazy with this or anything; we just wiped down things like the tray table, arm rest, TV screen and remote – just the things we thought baby might touch the most and the things that were probably the least clean.
2. Hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is another thing we always fly with. We’ll be the ones handling baby throughout the whole flight, yet we’re going to be touching a lot more than they will, including super gross things like the inside an airplane bathroom! We always wash our hands of course, but it’s not practical to keep getting up and using the bathroom sinks throughout a flight, especially with a baby. Hand sanitizer is such an easy thing to throw in your carry on bag for the flight – just remember to include it in your liquids bag!
3. Sandwich bags
I always bring a handful of sandwich bags on board a plane with us since they can be used for so many different things. They can hold wet or dirty clothes in the event that baby needs to be changed, they’re great for keeping toys and activities all together so you don’t have to root through a diaper bag to find them, and they’re great for keeping sanitized bottle or pump parts separate from all the other things in your bag. We also use them to hold snacks and spare outfits.
Tissues are pretty much always a necessity when traveling with a baby, and this is the cheapest place to get them! I keep a travel pack of tissues in pretty much every bag I bring on board a plane so I always have a packet handy, and we go through so many of these!
It goes without saying that when you travel with a baby, you’ll travel with more diapers than you will anything else! In the past I have sometimes taken a handful of diapers out of the main bag to keep in my purse so they’re handy during the flight – but these travel packs with just a few diapers in would actually be perfect for a short flight!
6. Travel wipe containers
This is a great way to save some pennies on wipes; instead of buying travel packs of wipes, buy a big pack and take a few out to put into this reusable container. The container are waterproof so they’ll keep everything safe, and are super easy to grab on a flight. Bonus: if the case if empty, opening and closing it will provide hours of amusement for your little one!
7. Window gel clings
I discovered this hack a few years ago and it is genius! Bringing window gel clings on board is such a great way to entertain a baby during the flight. They can decorate the window over and over and again as often as they like without making a mess, and then the gel clings can be put back in a packet for use on a next flight! This is a great mess free way to entertain a baby, although sometimes they leave a little residue on the window, so just make sure you give the windows a bit of a wipe when you’re done.
8. Travel first aid kits
We always travel with a first aid kit, and the ones that are prepackaged and travel sized are perfect. They contain the basics you might need such as bandaids, antiseptic gel, gauze, and other little things that you may find you need at 35,000 feet. We’ve found we needed bandaids at bizarre times in the flight, and although flight attendants will carry first aid kits, this saves you trying to flag one down if they’re busy.
9. Snack containers
I love little snack containers like this, and we probably own about 10 of them! They’re the perfect place to put snacks like Cheerios and Goldfish crackers where baby has easy access, but they’re not going to go all over the place. Nothing is worse than getting up at the end of the flight only to realize that your seat is littered with Cheerios! I also like that this really only allows your little one to grab a few at a time, so they’re not trying to shovel whole handfuls of crackers into their mouth at once!
When we travel, I hate bringing toys that mean a lot to my kids or were particularly expensive, especially as carry on toys. Inevitably something will get dropped at some point during the flight, and no one wants to be crawling around on a dirty airplane floor trying to find a Hot Wheels car because it was absolutely his favorite Hot Wheels car in the whole world! On a recent flight this happened to us and try as we might, we could not find the dropped car – luckily, the car set off down the aisle as we landed and a kind flight attendant caught it for us! It’s much easier to buy some really cheap cars or other toys that you can pull out in case baby gets fidgety, but it won’t matter if you lose them.
11. Glow sticks
Glow sticks are something I never thought I’d need on a flight, until I did an overnight flight with my son. They dimmed the cabin lights so everyone could sleep, and luckily my baby fell asleep too. I then realized that I couldn’t see where anything was in my bag, and didn’t want to risk waking the baby to reach up to put my light on. I was talking to another mom about this, and she mentioned that she flies with glow sticks – she cracks them to make them glow before the flight, then throws one in her bag and puts another couple around her wrist. That way, they glow enough to be able to see what’s in a bag, as well as being able to hold one up to a page in a book or a TV remote to see what you’re doing in the dark while still keeping your seat area nice and dark.
12. Coloring books
Your baby probably isn’t going to be drawing any masterpieces yet, but most older babies will enjoy holding a crayon and doing some scribbling – and these super cheap coloring books are perfect to pack for a flight. You can pick up a packet of crayons from the Dollar Store too, and make sure you bring a decent amount of crayons – some of these are going to end up on the floor as well! I always put crayons in the aforementioned sandwich bags so they’re easy to grab!
13. Disposable diaper bags
Unless you want your fellow passengers to spend the flight glaring at you, bring scented diaper bags on board your flight – I speak from experience! Airplane bathrooms rarely smell delightful, especially after a long flight, but having a dirty diaper in the trash can stinking up the plane does not help the situation. I forgot scented bags on a flight last year and of course, my baby decided it was a great time for one of those explosive diapers where you wonder just what on earth you’re feeding them. Putting the dirty diaper in the trash, I prayed the smell would go away – the fact that a fight attendant was in there ten minutes later frantically spraying air freshener did not make me feel like parent of the year. Bring a few of those in your carry on to avoid having to hide in your seat for the duration of your flight!
Another keep-them-occupied activity for older babies, stickers are a cheap and easy way to keep those little hands busy for a while. I fold up a few squares of blank paper so they have something to stick the stickers on to, then let them go crazy. I’ve also found that when they tired of sticking them on to paper, letting them stick their stickers onto me worked pretty well!
So unless your baby is a genius, they won’t be sat completing a 24-piece puzzle on a plane – but this is something we started picking up on our Dollar Store visits for plane trips anyway. Not only did our boys love taking the pieces out of the bag and then putting them back in again – but this activity served as something for US to do as parents once the boys had fallen asleep! Once I was sure my little one was snoozing peacefully, I would sit and do the puzzles on the tray table with my free hand to give me something to do!
What Dollar Store items do you use for flying with a baby? Let me know in the comments below!