kids hand luggage

Hand Luggage for kids

It is that time of year again when many of us are planning our summer holiday.  I am starting to think about what we should take with us and one of the things I always spend time on is hand luggage for kids.  I am also sharing a fab tip that has saved me many wasted hours.  So read on!!


kids hand luggage

Why care about hand luggage for kids?

You might think I am daft starting with this, but for me travelling with kids successfully and without stress is all about keeping them entertained.  The best thing for me is that the kids are entertained so that they don’t even notice that they are stuck in a car or on a plane for hours on end.

What to put in hand luggage for children?

Lots of things might depend on your mode of transport so you need to think about what is practical for your journey.  There are common things though that work in a child’s hand luggage bag no matter how you are travelling. 

hand luggage for kids

I would always include:

Snack Box

An individual snack box in each child’s hand luggage is always a winner. I use these Sistema ones as they have individual sections for different snacks. 

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The kids love exploring what is in each section.  Typically I include a sandwich, crisps, fruit and crackers.  I then also put some sweet treats  in my hand luggage to produce when the wheels start to come off!  Having an individual snack box not only takes up a bit of time on the journey.  My kids take forever to eat so we can waste quite a bit of time…  But also it saves money to not have to be buying snacks on the journey.

Change of Clothes

I always include a change of clothes for everyone.  You never know when someone is going to throw their drink everywhere or get sick!  On one fateful plan trip I actually managed to spill my drink all over my son…  Not ideal to have your child stinking of wine!!

Colouring/ Activity book

I love to include an activity book and pens or pencils for each child.  You can get activity books to suit different ages which is perfect for my kids so they can each do something that works for them.  This year I actually picked up some great ones from Lidl for just a few pounds.

For the pens I do tend to get one of the crayola packs in the carry cases for the kids to share.  That way you can see easily if one is missing. For some reason my kids seem to manage to keep the lids when they are in these packs.  Who knows why…

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Along with this I pack a sticker book.  You can get some great ones for around £6 which not only have the stickers for the pages in the book, but also have extras which my kids then use to make their own pictures throughout the holiday.  Last year I got Minecraft and Peppa Pig, but there are so many different you are bound to be able to find one that engages your kids.  I have found you cab get a good hour of fun out of a sticker book and then they will come back to them again during the holiday.  Perfect for a trip.

Kids carry on

If you are travelling with children by place then you will have a size/ weight restriction for your children’s carry on.  So the games you bring will need to be small and light.


This may sound crazy, but lego packed in a tupperware can be really successful on a plane.  I get a small new set which doesn’t have thousands of pieces and isn’t too fragile.  I like the 3 in 1 sets so there are more options.  On the plane they keep the pieces in the box and use the lid as the building tray.  You do need a tupperware with a deep lid to stop lego going everywhere.  I use these:

Building Lego requires concentration so its great for occupying them.  If you get something like a car then they also have a toy to plat with at the end.


My children all love play doh and I always bring some on holiday with us.  Last year they spent hours taking our food orders and then making play doh food as they played restaurants.  For the plane I put one or two of the small pots in each child’s hand luggage (inside a cloth bag) along with two plastic shape cutters.  The tray tables on planes don’t let play doh stick so it works well.  I just bring an anti bac wipes for before and after.


For plan journeys another thing that works well are a few little characters so they can do a bit of imaginative play.  Typically Ill take some peppa pig and some play mobil people.  They can also double up as bath toys if there are sealed.

Road Trip Goodie Bag

On a road trip you aren’t limited by weight and probably have more space too, but I still limit the kids hand luggage to one bag each.  I have found that stuff like Lego and Play Doh don’t work as well in the car.  A road trip can be more unpredictable – more breaking is required so things are more likely to fall onto the floor.

Galt Toy Books

These little travel books are great for the car as they don’t take up too much space, but really keep the kids occupied.  There are several options and the biggest hits in our house are the velvet colouring and the foil pictures.

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Sometimes you need to admit defeat with electronics in my opinion – kids love them!  I don’t want my kids to always be on an ipad or something, but on a road trip… Well let’s face it they will be happy and content sitting watching a movie or playing a game.

Top Trumps

These are somewhat of an obsession for my boys and the girls are just starting to get interested to.  They make a fab in car game as you are just holding the cards so you don’t need a flat steady service.  The boys could play this for hours which is just what you need on a road trip.

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For a road trip you might also want to invest in some of these in car trays which make it possible for the kids to do things like colouring or eat snacks easily.

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We just have two between the four kids and that works fine as everyone always wants to do different things.  


Have you ever been on holiday and had your freak out because they can’t find one of their toys?  If so this tip is definitely for you.  If not it might happen…  I once spent hours looking for a playmobil  roman soldier

hand luggage for kids which my son swore blind had been in his bag.  After tearing apart the place looking for it whilst he sobbed.. he suddenly remembered that he had decided to leave that one at home as it was his favourite –  Awesome!  


So now I take a photo of everything I am putting in each bag on my phone.  That way when someone says ‘I have lost’ or ‘he took that from me that was in my bag’  I can check!  It also makes packing up at the end of holiday easy as I just use the picture to check everything back in.  We then know for sure we didn’t leave anything behind and that we won’t have tears back at home.

So those are my ideas for hand luggage for kids.  What would you add?

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