Ready for takeoff

Travelling with a toddler can be stressful. Will he eat? Will he sleep? Will he sit still? Will he get sick? There’s so much to consider. In the summer, we took a day flight from Spain to Tokyo and spent almost 13 long hours running up and down the plane, trying to keep our son safe and our sanity intact. 

When we booked a nine-hour flight to Australia, I knew we had to be prepared. 

First we booked a night flight. Then, I created a toddler travel pack, inspired by the wonderful Tokyo Chapter blog and My Motherhood Tokyo instagram.

Our son is currently obsessed with cars, trains, transport – basically anything that moves – so I packed his bag accordingly:


  • Water bottle (to refill in the airport/on the plane)

  • Bento box with blueberries, cut grapes and pear 

  • Organic fruit pouch (to suck on during the plane's descent, if his ears hurt)

  • Assorted snacks and crackers 

  • Hand sanitizer (because planes can be gross)

  • Pawpaw cream (for dry lips/in case of any small scratches)

  • A small hand towel and face towel (in case we needed to wash him in the bathroom)

  • My Mato Concord Shawl (it’s a nursing cape if you need, or a brilliant scarf/blanket when the plane gets cold) 



  • A lift-the-flap book about transport

  • A magnet car set 

  • A transport book with buttons/sounds

  • Glow sticks (for when the plane gets dark)

  • A new mini car (an Olympic 2020 taxi, which we also took to get to the train station)

  • An old tin with a toy aeroplane and helicopter inside

  • An old shinkansen train 

  • A capsule toy gatchapon car and plastic ball with a light inside

  • Crayons & paper

  • A magnetic drawing board

  • Halloween jelly stickers (for the plane window/screen)


The Tokyo Chapter suggests using new (or forgotten) toys, to keep things exciting. Their other piece of advice is to keep the kids moving before boarding the plane.

So we did. He explored the train. 

Then ran through the airport.

And played in the terminal.

Finally, we boarded our flight, where he immediately asked for snacks.

When our meals came, the excitement of tiny aeroplane food was enough to keep him happy until 9pm, well past his usual bedtime. Thankfully, he slept for a few hours in the bassinet, before laying across our laps, allowing us some time to watch films and snooze until the sun was rising outside our  window. Before long, Australia was on the horizon.

As we landed, I realised that even though I had been so prepared, we only needed fruit, snacks, hand sanitizer, a water bottle and the Mato shawl. That’s OK though – at least I know for next time. Motherhood means learning everyday, right?

And now we’re in Australia, on the beach, with no Tokyo taxis or shinkansen in sight.

Will my son find a new obsession here? I just wonder what I should pack for the flight home...

Liz x

IG: @aioaleksander