Well, this is a first for me… Writing a blog post whilst travelling over Tabriz, Iran. At least, that’s where the Singapore Airlines Voyager 3D airshow program tells me we currently are.
It’s been 26 hours since I woke up on Tuesday morning in my own bed. In that time, we’ve departed Brisbane and landed safely in Singapore Changi Airport. After a 3-hour layover, we boarded our second flight and are now enroute to London. So far on this trip I’ve had 5.5 hours sleep, watched 3 movies, played three rounds of Go Fish, and eaten most of the snacks that we packed for the kids. Even with little sleep, I can report that family spirits are high on our first long haul trip, and thankfully there have been no meltdowns (from the kids or parents) 😅 Knowing that we’ll be doing this same trip, but in reverse, in a months’ time, I’ve been thinking about what’s worked so far. I’ve also been looking at what I’d avoid for our return flights home (A.K.A. what was a complete waste of carry-on luggage space). This is what I’ve come up with…
The 5 best things we packed in carry-on for this long-haul trip with young kids are: 1. A Bag of Goodies
Which is code for a zip lock bag with a few fun things packed inside. Each kid got their own bag with four items: a squishy, a deck of cards, a fidget, and either a pop-it toy or fake Gameboy water toy thing (see the pic below. I have no idea what it’s called). Nothing fancy – they probably cost $15 each - but it’s been uber handy so far!
Kids getting bored at the airport… “hey, who wants to play cards?”
Kids getting too hyper and annoying other travellers… “want to grab your squishy and give it a squeeze?”
They’re compact and quick to grab out. My verdict = easy entertainment and I highly recommend goodie bags!
2. Craft Box Snacks Nobody has the time (or the patience) for kids with the hangry’s...That’s why I picked up these craft boxes from Kmart for $7 and loaded them full of snacks.
I chose craft boxes over the kids’ bento lunchboxes because they’re thin and were easy to fit into our carry-on bags, have lots of compartments for snack variety, and are large enough to stock enough snacks for a long-haul trip.
A friend also recommended adding Cheerio’s into the snack mix, with some string too so the kids could make edible necklaces! It turned out to be a fantastic idea… an activity and snack all in one that helped us pass the time during our layover 🙌🏾
3. Inflatable Travel Pillows
Another cheap and great find, this time from BigW for $9. My husband wasn’t sold on the idea of travel pillows for the kids - he didn’t want extra bulky things to cart around, and figured the kids could rest on us (an idea I wasn't too keen on). So it was wonderful to stumble across these space friendly pillows!
These inflatable travel pillows took up next to no space in our carry-on, and only take 30 seconds to blow up. Plus they saved our arms from going dead under the wait of their sleeping bodies, which allowed us to get some sleep too. Sane parents and rested kids… I’m calling that a win and something that I recommend for other parents of young kids too!
4. Kids Portable Drawing Cases
This was a genius gift from my mother-in-law! Years ago she bought the kids these travel drawing bags from IKEA (I just googled it and they’re around $25) and the kids love them!
Perfect for car rides, train trips, flights, or even as entertainment while out at cafes and restaurants, these are brilliant! They can carry lots of fun things too.
For this trip we packed plain paper, an activity book, colouring book, loads of stickers, origami paper, the kids journals, and colouring pencils and crayons. All up, it cost $20 to put together for both kids (because we already had the bags and most of the supplies). Thanks Target for the spiderman and dinosaur activity and sticker sets for $10 each… the kids are thoroughly enjoying them (so too did the other kids travelling to London). The portable art supply case is a crowd pleaser!
5. Spare Clothes!
After an airport freshen up and then two spills on this second flight, boy I’m glad we packed a set of spare clothes and PJs! No one likes being cold or sticky… nice clean clothes have definitely turned the kids frowns upside down 👍🏾
As for what I’m planning to remove from our carry-on for the return flights home...
Earphone headsets – if we weren’t bringing iPads, why did I pack the kids’ earphones when the airline supplies them with the inflight entertainment? I have no idea… I clearly wasn’t thinking straight here. They’ve been a waste of space, so we'll be packing them into our checked luggage for the trip home for sure.
Backpacks for the kids – while the kids said they’d carry and be responsible for their own backpacks, after about 5 minutes of carrying them, the novelty wore off and they were handed across to us 😪 So instead of everyone carrying their own weight, we parents were lugged with the bags and carted them around the Brisbane and Singapore Changi Airports. We really should have predicted that and known better... We were being optimistic. Never again my friend... never again! If you have young kids and need the extra carry-on space, I’d recommend a roller bag (that's what we'll do next time too). Less for you to carry when they complain of their backpacks being too heavy (or that they’re tired), plenty of space for kids’ stuff, and one less thing for you to negotiate with them.
Okay guys, that’s it for now. T-minus 3.5 hours until we touch down in London town, and the cabin crew are making the rounds with more snacks and tea… So, I got-sa go! Until next time, cheerio darling. Lovely jubbly!
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