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Family Travel Checklist: 15 Things Clever Mums Pack in Their Carry-On Case

Let’s face it, packing for a holiday with the kids in tow can be stressful.  Even when you think you’ve thought of everything, something inevitably gets left behind. And it’s no surprise why. Not only are you packing for yourself, but you’re also ensuring the rest of the family has everything they need too. Babies and young kids rely on you solely, and the bigger kids likely will too (especially when they’ve packed 15 sweaters but zero pairs of underwear!)

Save yourself the heartache (and the stress) from scrambling for forgotten items at the airport, we’re sharing some of our best holiday packing tips and a travel checklist to help keep you organised.

Plus we’ve got an exclusive discount from Travel Insurance Direct (TID) to help protect you from unexpected challenges.

Check it out below!

family travel
Planning your family holiday doesn’t need to be stressful! Source: Bigstock

TID travel insurance
It’ll be smiles all round if you win one of our $500 Travel eGift Cards! Source: Supplied

Ready, set, jet away!

If you’re jetting away to your holiday destination, one of the most stressful things you’ll likely deal with is the flight. Especially so if you have young children or if you are a little fearful of flying. Take some of the worries away by knowing you’ve packed everything you need – and then some!

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Flying with kids doesn’t have to be stressful if you’re prepared! Photo: Bigstock

FAMILY TRAVEL CHECKLIST: 15 things to pack in your carry on 

Whether you’ll be on a 10-hour flight overseas or a 3-hour interstate, here are the 15 travel checklist items you’re going to need.

1. ACTIVITIES: iPads are a real winner, especially if that’s going to buy you time to yourself and keep them amused and focussed. Download some special surprises just for the flight so it’s a new experience … and don’t forget the headphones! Another winner is a bunch of colouring in and activity booklets.

mum centralHOT TRAVEL TIP: When we fly long-haul, I always have a few little activities ready for each child to discover when they start to get restless. Things I’ve picked up from the shop ahead of time and that they’ve never played with. Just make sure you’re not choosing anything too messy or with too many small pieces that could get lost under the seat. Some ideas include a container of play dough, small LEGO sets, little puzzles, sticker booklets, books, fidget toys and any type of mini surprise egg.

2. FOOD & SNACKS: While the airline may provide food and snacks, it’s best to have some of their favourites on hand too, especially if you have a fussy eater who may not be willing to try a new weird-looking chicken dish on a long-haul flight.

3. BOTTLE & FORMULA: If you’ve got an infant, this is a must!  You don’t want to get to your destination (or partway there) to realise the formula on offer doesn’t sit well with your little one. Be careful though, avoid bringing open tins through international security checks.

mum centralHOT TRAVEL TIP: If you’re travelling with babies, offering a bottle for takeoff and landing will help relieve their ears from the changes to atmospheric pressure. The sucking action will relieve their ears and prevent a whole lot of crying and fussing.  This is most often why you’ll hear babies grizzling/crying on ascent and descent.

flying long haul with a baby tips
Source: Bigstock

4. BABY CARRIER: Another must if you’re travelling with an infant, a baby carrier will save your arms and help settle bub to sleep. You can easily put it on while mid-air, use it while sitting or stroll down the aisles to help settle bub. Trust me – you won’t be the first mum to spend most of the flight gently rocking back and forth as you wander the aisles or stand in the back of the plane. Thankfully too, most passengers understand. We’ve all been there!

5. BABY WIPES: These are important if you’re travelling with bub, but also for older kids who will inevitably have sticky fingers at some stage. They’re also super helpful to refresh yourself in hotter climates too!

6. NAPPIES & CHANGING MAT: If travelling with an infant, definitely bring enough nappies to get you started, if not for the whole trip. And the best bit? You won’t be bringing them home with you so that gives you more room in the suitcase for shopping! And the change mat? No doubt you’ll be doing a few random nappy changes on your trip so this will come in SO handy!

7. PAIN RELIEF: It’s a good idea to pop some children’s pain relievers in your bag, as well as some for you. It’s also a good idea to pack some travel sickness tablets if you’re prone to travel sickness.

8. DUMMIES & COMFORTERS: Whatever you do, don’t forget their dummies (plus a few spares for ‘just in case’. And their favourite Teddy or comforter … especially given you’re taking them to foreign places and they’ll rely on that comfort more than ever!

9. EXTRA CLOTHING & EXTRA SOCKS: You’d be surprised how easy it is to lose socks on a plane!

10. CHAPSTICK & MOISTURISER: Air travel can make your skin and lips very dry, including children’s skin and lips. Be sure to keep them nourished to avoid cracks which, for some, can lead to ulcers and cold sores later on!

11. PHONE CHARGERS: Many planes now have USB charging ports under the seats and airports offer plenty of spots to sit and charge your devices while waiting for your flight.

12. FACE MASKS & SANITISER: We recommend to always travel with these and being mindful of keeping good sanitary habits when you’re in high-touch zones such as airports and aeroplanes.

13. TRAVEL STROLLER: There’s nothing better than walking right up to the gate with your pram, folding it and storing it in the overhead locker. There are a few different travel strollers that fit in the overhead compartments including the Silver Cross Jet and Baby Zen YoYo.

14. COPY OF BIRTH CERTIFICATE & ALL TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: Store them in a waterproof folder and have them within arms reach on you (not packed in your main case!).

15. PLASTIC BAGS: These are great to have on hand in the event that an outfit gets wet … because let’s face it, we need to expect the unexpected when travelling with kids!

mum centralHOT TRAVEL TIP: Pack some empty ZIPLOC bags too. These are great to store items like dummies, but also good to hold pens and pencils, half-opened snacks and LEGO and puzzle pieces from the activities the kids have opened.

For the rest of the family, be sure to check the comprehensive holiday packing list by TID.

half-price holiday
Get ready, Get set, HOLIDAY! Source: Bigstock

Additional travel packing tips

1. ROLL, DON’T FOLD: You may be surprised how much space you can save by rolling your clothes, not folding them.

2. FILL SHOES AND BOOTS: Take socks, underwear and other small items and store them in your shoes for another space-saving tip. You can also put breakables in shoes and boots for added protection (wrapped with an item of clothing first).

3. PLACE LIQUIDS AND GELS INSIDE PLASTIC BAGS: The last thing you want is a bottle of shampoo spilling out all over your new beachside towel. You may also want to use larger plastic bags for smaller clothing items like onesies, socks and swimmers.

4. USE PACKING CUBES OR VACUUM PACKING: This is another easy way to save space and keep you organised when you arrive.

5. WEIGH BEFORE YOU GO: Once you’re all packed and ready to go, get your scales out just to check you’re not over the airline limit. The last thing you want is to have to rearrange or repack while standing on the side of the check-in lineup (or the excessive additional charges they’ll want to sting you with!)

Toddler with suitcase at airport
Get ready for the holiday of a lifetime! Source: Bigstock

Now, let’s talk about travel insurance.  

It’s pretty much a no-brainer and a real must these days!

While planning a family holiday can be stressful, booking travel insurance doesn’t need to be. TID has been helping Aussie families focus on the fun with cover for their travel for over 10 years.

Whether you’re relaxing by the resort pool in Bali or prefer to keep the beach vibes local and swing by the Gold Coast, TID is here to help you get the good times started.

Travel checklist TID Insurance
With a travel checklist and travel insurance, you’ll travel with confidence. Source: Supplied

✓ KIDS GO FOR FREE: Your kids can be added to your plan and enjoy cover without additional cost^.

✓ UNLIMITED OVERSEAS MEDICAL COVER: International plans include unlimited cover for medical, hospital and ambulance bills. It also includes some COVID-19 cover.

✓ PLANS AUTOMATICALLY INCLUDE COVER FOR CRUISES: Cruising is a standard inclusion, so you don’t need to fork out additional premiums.

✓ PROTECT YOUR BELONGINGS: From lost luggage to damaged strollers, have cover for your belongings.

Don’t leave home without TID Travel Insurance

Make your trip a TID more special and enjoy every moment. 

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Be sure to also get your name on the list to be in the running to WIN 1 of 3 $500 travel eGift vouchers to help pay for your next family holiday.

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Win 1 of 3 x $500 eGift Cards to go towards your next holiday!

To help you plan your next family holiday, Travel Insurance Direct (TID) is giving 3 Mum Central readers a $500 eGift Card each. To enter, simply complete the entry form below and you’re in the running!

These gift cards can be used across a number of travel-friendly companies including Accor Hotels,, Hotelgift, AirBnB, AirlineGift, FlystayGift, Global Hotel, Gourmet Traveller and Luxury Escapes. 

Or you can use it for food and experiences at outlets such as Best Restaurants, Ticketmaster, Red Balloon, Event Cinemas, ToursGift, TripGift, Uber and Uber Eats, RentacarGift and so many more!

And if that isn’t enough, these vouchers can also be used at popular retail shops online and in-store including Big W, Coles, City Beach, Woolworths, BCF, Target, The Iconic, IKEA, H&M, Kmart and hundreds more! See the full list in the T&Cs on the entry form below. 


This is a sponsored post for NIB.

This competition has now closed! The winners have been named in our Spring Winners Announcement! Feeling lucky? See our current competitions for more opportunities to win. Remember, you have to be in it to win it, good luck!

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.


  1. Avatar of Blossom

    Put some tape over the tops of containers, including tubes with liquids or any type in them.

  2. Avatar of Blossom

    Also if you’re travelling with a baby or toddler and don’t wish to or can’t hire one on arrival (remember they are compulsory) in motor vehicles including taxis, wrap babyseats in clear plastic of some kind so they don’t get damaged at all and request they put them in the luggage section. I believe they can’t refuse them. If they object tell them your child cannot fly to their destination without one.

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