Getting Ready for a 24-Hour Plane Trip: Carry-On Luggage Planning for Your 20-Month-Old Toddler

Getting Ready for a 24-Hour Plane Trip: Carry-On Luggage Planning for Your 20-Month-Old Toddler

Preparing for a 24-hour plane trip with children requires careful planning. Our much-anticipated trip to Europe is just two weeks away, so it's time to get organised and ensure we have everything we need before heading to the airport.

Starting two weeks in advance allows us to order essential items online, ensuring they arrive on time. Today, I'll focus on the critical aspect of carry-on luggage. Getting it right is crucial because toddlers can become quite a handful when hungry, tired, or bored in a confined space like an aeroplane seat. Plus, finding missing items while in transit can be challenging.

Forgetting something in our checked-in luggage is usually a minor issue since we can generally find what we need along the way. However, when it comes to the carry-on, it's essential to be well-prepared.

In the next part of this blog article, I'll share the items I'm packing for my son. Remember that you'll need to customise the list to suit your child's routines and preferences, but this can be a good starting point.

Let's dive in:

The Essentials:

  • Nappies and Wipes: I'll pack eight nappies for the trip, as I typically change my son's nappy every three hours when he's awake. I'll also bring a fresh pack of wipes since they're versatile for various needs, from nappy changes to spills and sniffles.

Food Essentials:

  • Snacks and Baby Food Pouch: It's always wise to have a stash of snacks on hand for those hungry moments. I will pack toddler-friendly snacks like crackers, fruit, and homemade banana bread or muffins. Additionally, having a baby food pouch can be a lifesaver in emergencies or when your little one needs a quick meal.
  • Sippy Cup: I will pack a spill-proof sippy cup so he can reach for his cup whenever he gets thirsty. This will make it easier for him to drink water during the flight.
  • 200ml Long-Life Milk with Straw: Consider packing some long-life milk with a straw if your child drinks milk. These single-serve portions are convenient and don't require refrigeration. The attached straw makes it easy for your child to drink without spilling.
  • Silicone Bib: To avoid needing several changes of clothes, I will back one bib for mealtimes. A silicone bib is an excellent investment as it's easy to clean and dries quickly. It will save you from dealing with messy clothes and make mealtime less chaotic.
  • Bottle and Formula: If your child is bottle-fed, pack a clean bottle and the necessary amount of formula. A familiar bottle and formula as part of their usual routine will help provide comfort during the flight and ensure your child stays well-fed.

Sleep Essentials:

  • Sleeping Bag: Since my son is accustomed to sleeping in a sleeping bag, I'll bring one along to recreate his usual bedtime routine. I'll choose a 2.5 tog sleeveless option suitable for warmer and cooler environments, as aeroplane temperatures vary.
  • The Indispensable "Ted the Teddy Bear": Ted is my son's cherished sleep companion, and he must come with us to provide comfort in an unfamiliar sleep environment.
  • Air Travel Hammock: This handy hammock is a lifesaver for parents travelling with toddlers. It offers a safe and comfortable space for your child to rest and sleep during long flights. It’s also great for preventing their toys from falling to the ground.
  • Carry Sling: I prefer a compact carry sling for air travel instead of a bulky carrier. It allows me to easily carry my toddler while keeping my hands free for other tasks.
  • Change of Clothes and Pyjamas: I'll pack extra clothes and pyjamas to ensure my son's comfort throughout the journey. Following our usual bedtime routine, I'll change him into his pyjamas when it's time to sleep. I'll also bring spare clothes for any spills or nappy accidents.

Entertainment Essentials:

  • Sensory Toys: My son enjoys sensory toys, so I'll pack a plastic container filled with slime mixed with plastic animals. It's a guaranteed hit!
  • Fidget Toy: These toys are excellent for entertaining your child during long journeys or waits. They have a calming effect, promote fine motor skills, and engage tactile senses, providing extended periods of entertainment.
  • Pretend Play Toys: Given my son's love for cars, I'll pack a steering wheel toy to fuel his imagination as he pretends to drive. Additionally, I'll bring a few Matchbox cars for him to enjoy making car sounds while playing.
  • Arts & Crafts Toys: Water painting books are a fantastic travel-friendly entertainment option. They are mess-free and reusable, allowing your toddler to "paint" with water. The colours appear when the special water-filled pen is used and disappear when the pages dry, allowing your child to paint again. I'll bring a compact one that Jonas currently enjoys.
  • Tech Entertainment: For those moments when nothing else seems to help, I've subscribed to YouTube Premium. This allows me to download my son's favourite shows without an internet connection. It's a real lifesaver when boredom strikes. Additionally, I'll pack comfortable headphones designed for children, which also serve as a sleep mask. The headband design adds comfort and convenience for my toddler.


  • Child Safety Wrist Strap: Since I'll be travelling alone with my son, I'll bring a child safety wrist strap. It's a simple yet effective way to ensure his safety in crowded places like airports or tourist destinations, even if he refuses to hold my hand.
  • Aeroplane Seat Harness: This special harness simulates a car seat experience, encouraging better-sitting behaviour during take-off and landing. It meets all aviation safety standards, providing an extra layer of protection in case of turbulence or emergencies. Installing the harness is easy and often offers toddlers more comfort than a standard aeroplane seat belt. Most importantly, this harness helps alleviate the stress of flying, knowing your little one is securely buckled into their seat.
  • Stroller Bag: A check-in bag for your stroller is a must-have when travelling with a toddler. It safeguards your stroller from damage, dirt, and moisture during air travel. Although some airlines allow strollers in the overhead locker, it's generally recommended to check them in. A durable, waterproof stroller bag protects your stroller and provides extra storage space for items like blankets or toys.
  • Baby Panadol: I always pack baby panadol to be safe as you never know when they get sick and develop a temperature next.


With all these essentials packed, we should be ready for our adventure. While I don't expect it to be entirely smooth sailing (or flying), being well-prepared will help reduce unnecessary stress. I hope this list provides some valuable ideas for your trips. I wish you a safe and pleasant family holiday ahead!

Carry-on luggage packing list for toddlers in Australia

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