International Flights with Your Toddler: Ultimate Packing Guide

International Flights with Your Toddler: Ultimate Packing Guide

Every time we book another long haul flight with a toddler, we begin planning exactly what we need to pack to make the flight go as smoothly as possible for our little one. From taking our toddlers on multiple 10-hour flights to Europe and +14 hour flights to Asia — that were often followed by connecting flights afterward — we learned the hard way how to create the ultimate packing list for a toddler to survive and thrive never-ending travel days.

Our first long-haul international flight with a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old did not go smoothly at all — but it did teach us exactly how to avoid it happening again. On the first leg of a the trip, a 14-hour flight to Hong Kong, our 1-year-old barely slept an hour, while our 3-year-old spent way too much time glued to a screen. We did not pack the right sleep and entertainment items for our toddlers, and we paid for it! We still remember counting down the hours (more like minuets) until landing — and we asked ourselves, is traveling internationally with our kids really worth it?

Bali with Kids
Our first international flight with both kids


After a layover in Hong Kong, we took a 5-hour flight to Indonesia. Once we settled into the sandy beaches of Bali, we knew the answer right away: yes, it’s absolutely worth it. Seeing our kids experiencing life outside of North America — the food, the ocean, the amazing people — created memories that we would never trade for the world. And we learned from our packing mistakes to put together the packing guide below so that you can have the smoothest trip possible. Happy packing!

What to Pack for International Travel with a Toddler: The Essentials

Whenever you’ve made the exciting decision the travel internationally with your child(ren), it’s time to come up with a packing list to thrive on your long haul flight. When putting together your packing list, use this guide as a starting point, and then adjust it based on your unique child's needs. To make packing less overwhelming, we break everything down into 5 different categories:

  1. EXTRA CLOTHES: How many outfit changes will my toddler need during the flight? Plan for accidents.
  2. FOOD: How many snacks will my toddler eat during the flight and the entire travel day?
  3. DIAPER CHANGES, POTTY, HYGIENE: How many diapers will my toddler will go through during the flight? How do I handle potty training on a long flight?
  4. ENTERTAINMENT: What are the best toys and activities to keep my toddler entertained during a long flight?
  5. SLEEP: What special items from home does my toddler need to sleep comfortably on a flight?
  6. PERSONAL: What are the must-haves for parents?

To see a video of how we packed everything, click below:

Packing Video for International Flights with Toddler


1. What clothes to bring for you and your toddler on the flight

Clothes for Toddler on International Flight

Plan to pack 1.5x the number of outfits you think your toddler will need for the flight. Accidents will happen. We typically aim for:

  • 3-4x full outfits (tops, bottoms, socks).
  • 1x extra top for yourself.

2. What food to pack for your toddler on the flight

Food for toddler for international flights

We plan to board the flight with 1.5x more snacks than the usual amount of food we’d normally bring. Keep in mind though that you can (and should!) purchase food at the airport and on the flight so you can offer your toddler some warm meal options and some fun new foods to add some novelty to the journey!* Here’s what we pack:

  • 5+ Fruit Snacks: e.g. clementines, cut-up grapes, sliced apples, banana, fruit pouches etc
  • 5+ Dry Snacks: crackers, biscuits, toddler granola bars, cereal
  • Snack Box to keep unpackaged items contained (link for the one pictured above).
  • Bib: choose one that is easy to clean and pack. We love silicone bibs (link for the one pictured above). 

Note: Do not experiment with completely new foods (especially for a young toddler) on travel day in case of allergic reactions.

3. How to manage diaper changes, potty training and hygiene for your toddler

Diaper changing items and potty for international flight with toddler

Based on your child’s normal routine, we try to estimate the number of diaper changes (or times they’ll need to go potty) over the course of the journey. Then, we pack 1.5x diapers and wipes (or our portable potty with plastic bags if needed). The Sidekick Hip Pack is our favourite way to store the majority of our diaper changing or potty-training essentials.

For our diaper-wearing toddler, we pack:

  • 1.5x the number of diapers we anticipate needing
  • 1-2 Packs of Wet wipes
  • 1 Diaper Cream

For our potty-training toddler, we pack:

  • 1 Portable Potty: we use this the Joolz Portable Potty or the OXO Portable Potty
  • 3-4 Diapers to wear during nap times and bedtime.
  • 1 Pack of Wet Wipes
  • 1 Pack of Clorox Wipes
  • 1 Diaper Cream
  • A change of bottoms / underwear

4. How to entertain your toddler for 10+ hours on a flight

Toys for toddler for international travel

We pack a variety of 10 (or more) NEW and 2-3 favorite activities for our little one. If you have time, it's great to gift wrap some of these to add excitement and take up even more time on the flight! Here’s our list of the most successful toys and activities that have worked on the plane:

  • Magnetic building toys
  • Play dough
  • Sensory toys
  • Small vehicles with road tape
  • Crayons (or markers if you can trust your toddler!)
  • Mess-free water painting books
  • I Spy-type books
  • Sticker activities books
  • Miscellaneous toys from loot bags

5. What to bring to help your toddler sleep on a long flight

We personally like to pack our little one’s sleep items into our Hideaway carry-on duffel because we access them only once or twice per flight. If your little one is sleeping more frequently, we would put these items in the diaper bag and shift out some of the extra outfits to our carry-on. Here's what we pack to make sure our toddler feels comfortable sleeping on a flight:

  • 2x Pajamas (1 extra just in case)
  • Sleep sack
  • Lovey(s)
  • Portable sound machine: We love the BabyShusher
  • Extra blanket or bedsheet + Inflatable Seat extender: This makes it possible to create a “bed-like”

6. What to pack for parents for international travel

Parent's items for international flight with toddler

After taking 30+ flights with our kids, we’ve mastered the list of must-haves for parents:

  • Passports
  • Phone charger
  • Laptop (we never leave this in our carry-on)
  • Insulated water bottle / coffee mug


For most international flights, airlines permit one “personal item” and one piece of “carry on” luggage. A personal item is typically a diaper bag, small backpack, small purse, etc. which can go under the seat on an airplane. A carry on item is typically a roller, duffel, backpack, or luggage that can fit in the overhead bin.

To make the most out of your allowable baggage amount, we recommend using a travel diaper bag as your personal item. The best travel diaper bag should meet the maximum size requirements for a personal item while offering multiple organization options for your child’s belongings, comfortable ways to carry the backpack, and high quality materials to ensure your backpack never breaks during your journey.

We recommend our Travel Diaper Bag for any international flight with your toddler.


Perfecting how you pack is a big part of getting ready for your next international flight. For our other tips on having the smoothest journey possible, be sure to read our How to Survive and Thrive with your Baby on Long Haul Flights Guide

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