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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!
I have always loved musical theater; if I could give myself one talent, it would be to be able to sing and dance and act (OK so that’s three talents…) and be up there on the Broadway stage. Sadly, I can do none of those three things, and have to settle for going to watch other far more talented people than myself do their thing. I see as many shows as I can whenever we visit New York City, and the rest of the time, we’re seeing local or touring productions at home in Orlando. I seem to have passed my love for all things musical on to my 5-year old, Harrison, and I’ve been waiting for a couple of years for him to be old enough to come and see a show on Broadway with me. Finally this past December on our Christmas in New York City trip, we went to see Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theater, and Harrison was in his element! I’d done a few things to prepare him for his first Broadway show, and I thought I’d share those tips for any other parents planning a trip to New York City who might want to take their kids to see their first Broadway show too.
I didn’t want my son’s first big stage production to be at a Broadway theater for a number of reasons. Firstly, Broadway is crazy expensive these days, and if it turned out that Harrison’s love of musicals did not translate from the TV screen to the stage, then I didn’t want to have paid hundreds of dollars for him to lose interest quickly. Secondly, New York City is quite the distance from Florida, and although we do visit often, I didn’t want to have to wait until our next trip to see a show. So we decided to start with a touring production for Harrison’s first show, and luckily for us, our local performing arts center frequently offers Broadway Across America productions. The Lion King was one of the shows featured in the particular season we were looking at, and I figured that would be the perfect first show for Harrison; he knew the story, and it is a very family friendly show. The seats were reasonably priced since it’s a local performing arts center, and there were lots of other kids at the show. Harrison loved it, and we saw a few other local productions after that. If you live near a center that Broadway Across America visits, it’s definitely worth looking to see what shows they have coming up. If not, look into local community and high school theater productions to see what they’re offering. These are the perfect places to see just how much your little one enjoys the theater.
Choose the right first Broadway show
In other words, don’t start with The Book of Mormon. Not every Broadway show is family friendly; they might include violence or strong language or completely un-family friendly scenes or storylines – or they just might not be the kind of show that would hold a child’s interest. There are, however, a number of shows that are perfect for kids to go and see. The Disney productions are ideal here; The Lion King and Aladdin are great shows for families. If your child does well with these shows, you could try shows like Wicked, School of Rock, or Anastasia. You know your child best, and what kind of shows they will enjoy; some kids are more mature and might enjoy shows that others would find boring or not understand. Harrison enjoys the music most of all, so we tend to pick shows with big song and dance numbers to keep him interested. If you choose the wrong show, you risk your child getting bored and fidgety, which will make the show miserable for you and for them.
Be sure of the rules
Most Broadway shows will give a suggested age limit for a child to enter, but some actually have strict rules about kids under a certain age being allowed in the theater. Make sure that your child will actually be allowed to see the show before you buy tickets, otherwise you could get there to find you’re out of money and out of luck.
Go at the right time
I almost always buy tickets to matinee shows when taking Harrison. These shows are usually on in the afternoon, which is a much better time for him to be able to enjoy the show than at 8pm, which is past his bedtime. Matinee shows often have more children attending so you won’t feel out of place or awkward, and your child might have a longer attention span at this time of day. I’ve been to many an evening production where children have been obviously tired and lost interest in the show quickly. Again, you know your child best, and if they’re a night owl, they might do fine; I have just found for us that matinees work better.
Talk about behavior beforehand
Before I took Harrison to see Aladdin, we had MANY conversations about the behavior I expected from him. We talked about being quiet in the theater, and if he had a question during the show, to ask me quickly and quietly after a song when the applause would cover his whispering. We talked about going to the bathroom beforehand so we didn’t get up during the show, and if we did, that we’d have to stand at the back when we returned until an appropriate time to retake our seats. We talked about sitting still and not fidgeting, paying attention, and giving the actors on stage our full attention and respect. In other words, we went over basic theater etiquette that pretty much any theater goer should know. I had Harrison repeat a lot of this back to me as we were taking our seats to make sure he really understood how to behave, and I have to say, he’s always done a pretty good job.
Keep expectations to a minimum
Having said that – he’s only 5. Any young child can be unpredictable, and I know there are going to be times that he doesn’t behave perfectly, or he loses interest in a show I thought perhaps he’d like. This is the reason I generally pick cheaper seats when going to see these shows. While I don’t want to be sat all the way in the back so Harrison can’t see anything happening on stage, I’m also not going to be paying $500 for a front row orchestra seat that might go to waste if we have to leave – because if his behavior is disrupting others, that’s exactly what we’ll do. I buy tickets with the knowledge that I might have to take my child out of the theater for one reason or another, and I don’t pay more than I am comfortable wasting if that happens. Don’t get me wrong – I would NOT be happy if we had to leave a show I’d paid for if my son wasn’t behaving properly, but it would be better than him ruining it for others. So don’t spend a fortune on crazy expensive tickets if you’re just not sure your little one is going to last through the whole performance.
Have you taken your child to their first Broadway show? Do you have any other tips? Let me know in the comments!