What to bring on the plane to keep the kids entertained and you sane

Munich kid enjoying the on board entertainment on an overseas flight

So it looks like some travel restrictions could be lifted this summer and as a half German/ half American family we can not wait to see our relatives in the USA again. By the time we travel it will be just short of 2 years since we saw them last!! We used to visit the USA 1-2 times a year. The flight from Munich to Philadelphia is 7.5-9 hours depending on which direction you are flying and that doesn’t account for time waiting on the runway for take off or even worse waiting for a gate after landing.   When I originally wrote this post I had 2 kids and they were 3 and 5 but all of these things still are true and I plan on doing most things again when we travel with our 1, 5, and 7 year old this summer on our long haul flight back to visit the USA.

Munich kid jumping around the airport terminal

General things

  • Change of clothes including you – this is so important because you are in a tight space and eating the odds of someone spilling something are very high. And of course there is always kids getting sick and if that happens you know it will be all over you too so you definitely want to pack a change of clothes for everyone in your carry on bag.
  • Easy on off shoes…we use crocs with socks I don’t wear my crocs to the airport but pack them in my carry on. Another great alternative that many Munich kids have are turnschläppchen because they don’t take up much space
  • Waterbottles or sippy cups for everyone – We fill these up with the drinks they hand out on the plane and skip the plastic cups altogether. This is more environmentally friendly and you decrease the risk of spills. I have no same in asking the flight attendent to put wine in my water bottle while I hold a child sleeping on my lap.
  • antibacterial spray or wipes – the first thing I do when we get on the plane is wipe down then tray tables with antibacterial wipes. I am usually not a germ a phobe but we have gotten to our destination too many times and a few days later are in the walk-in-clinic. I know they are getting sick from the plane so I am trying to do as much as I can to prevent it. And this is a no brainer now post Covid-19 we are all antibacterial wipe crazy.
  • Snacks – I have actually switched to bringing a full “meal” on the plane for the kids because they rarely will touch any thing they bring us to eat. But my kids are picky so maybe yours will eat the airplane food.
  • Kid headphones – the ones they hand out on the plane are usually too big for their little heads.
Munich kid hand pointing out the plane on the map

Games that can be played seated

  • Velcro “dart”board
  • New little toys that can be played with on the tray table
  • A very simple craft, I had an origami set with us last time and something you could create with tiny foam blocks that had one side sticky
  • Stamps and or stickers
  • New book to draw in and new coloring device
  • Brain quest quiz cards – easy to use they are bound together and are tough material you can not easily rip them apart. They are educational
  • Something they can turn on and off , blinky flash light, little fans
  • I usually pack up some legos for building but they rarely get used.
Munich kids watching planes at the airport

Things to share – Now this is a great idea pre Corona…I am not sure if it will “fly” haha anymore. We always bring along something that we can hand out to the other kids on the plane. The main thing we hand out every flight and is always a hit are glow sticks. In Munich you can get them at Tedi for a euro or two. They are a lot of fun to hand out when the light have been turned off. The glow sticks are a favorite of my kids and who doesn’t like getting a glow stick. In the past we have also handed out stickers or simple paper robots you build by folding. I get almost everything for our flights at Tedi.

Things you want to bring if traveling with younger kids

  • Empty bottles to fill up with milk for naps
  • Extra diapers and wipes – I put a normal amount of diapers and wipes in my diaper bag but you can be sure that the plane is when you will have more poop or accidents than normal so I always leave the extra in our carry on suitcase
  • If your child is young than just putting aside a couple of toys a few weeks ahead of the flight then bringing them out again on the plane they will be novel and fun again.
Munich kid jumping around the kids play area at the Munich airport

I usually pack their backpacks with all the fun toys I have gotten special for the trip. When they get on the plane they are excited to see what toys they have gotten and what sweets I have packed for them. If you are traveling to Munich check out my remembering Munich sessions. You can book them through me or through Airbnb experiences.

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