To Bring or Not to Bring: Your Guide to Carry On Luggage as a Parent

To bring or not to bring, that is the question. Packing for a trip can be daunting, especially as a parent trying to avoid checked baggage fees while ensuring that all the essentials are packed and, as much as possible, packed as a carry-on. But what exactly is carry-on baggage, and what can it and can't contain? 

Keep reading for our guide to carry-on luggage.

If you are considering carry on only travel, check this article out on the secret to carry on only travel with kids.  

If you are going to be traveling with a carry on stroller, have a read of this article on a guide to flying with a stroller.

To bring or not to bring: Your Guide to Carry-on Luggage as a parent

Table of Contents

What is Carry On Luggage?

Carry on luggage is any suitcase you "carry on" to an airplane. The majority of airlines permit one piece of carry on luggage or "hand baggage" that can fit in the overhead bin in addition to a "personal item". A personal item can be any smaller purse, computer bag, diaper bag, small backpack, etc., which can go under one's seat or in one's front).


Are Carry On Bags Free?

The good thing about carry on luggage is that they are free, but you can't bring as many bags as you want since carry on baggage is limited to one suitcase that can fit in the overhead and one personal item. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.


For example, some airlines usually allow two free carry-on bags if you are traveling with children. It's always best to check with your airline before traveling to see their policy. That way, you can be sure that you won't be surprised at the airport.


Does a Stroller Count as a Carry On?

For many parents, traveling with young children can be a challenge. One of the biggest questions is what to do with all the gear. Diaper bags, car seats, and strollers can quickly add up.


Although there are some exceptions to the rule, most airlines allow passengers to bring at least one carry-on bag and one personal item onboard, which means that a stroller can brought on as carry-on luggage. In fact, many airlines have specific regulations regarding strollers and other child-related items.


For example, Southwest Airlines allows passengers to check a stroller for free at the gate, while United Airlines allows a carry on stroller to be brough on board at no extra charge. As long as parents know the rules and plan ahead, traveling with small children can be much easier than it seems.


Can Carry On Have Liquids?

For anyone who has ever attempted to travel with young children, packing carryon luggage can be challenging. The question of whether or not you can bring liquids on a plane is often one that comes up. The answer is yes, you can carry liquids in your carry on bag, but there are some restrictions.


Each container of liquid must be no larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 millilitres. Moreover, all of the containers must fit into a single, clear, quart-sized bag. The liquids must be placed in the bag at the security checkpoint and should be removed from the bag for inspection.


Traveling with Breast Milk on Airplanes

Many parents wonder whether they can bring breast milk on a plane. The good news is, yes. Breast milk is considered medically necessary liquids, hence 3.4 ounces or 100 millilitres does not apply. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when traveling with breast milk:


1. Although not required, it is recommended breast milk or formula to be packed in a clear bag and pouch. This is to help expedite the screening process.

2. When packing breast milk, be sure to put it in a leak-proof container and pack it in your carry on bag rather than your checked luggage. Ensure you have sufficient ice packed with the breast milk. This will help ensure that the milk stays fresh and doesn't spoil during travel.

3. Make sure the breast milk pouches are labelled clearly with date and time. This will help you store your breast milk properly and is used within a safe period of time. 


By following these simple tips, parents can rest assured that they can safely and efficiently travel with breast milk.

So, next time you're packing for your baby, don't forget that you can bring liquids in your carry on! Just make sure to follow the guidelines set by the TSA.


What Else Can I Bring in Carry-On Luggage?

The first and most important rule of packing a carry-on is to follow the 3-1-1 rule. This rule stipulates that you can bring up to 3 ounces (85 grams) of liquid, gel, or cream product in containers that hold no more than 3.4 ounces (100 millilitres) each, packed in 1 clear, quart-sized bag. You're allowed one (1) bag per passenger. These rules only apply to liquids, gels, and creams; all other items are subject to the TSA's other restrictions.


In addition to the 3-1-1 liquids rule, there are a few other things to keep in mind when packing your carry-on. All knives, scissors, razors, and other sharp objects must be packed in your checked luggage; they are not permitted in carry ons.


You are also not allowed to bring any flammable items, such as aerosols or fireworks, on the plane with you. Guns and ammunition are also not allowed in carry-ons; they must be declared and checked with your airline prior to boarding. For a complete list of restricted items, please visit the TSA's website.


What’s the Size of Carry On Luggage?

When talking about travel guidelines, one of the most crucial factors is to consider the size and weight of carry-on luggage. After all, you want to be able to have all your belongings with you. For parents, this can be incredibly challenging, as you often need to pack items for both yourself and your child.


The usual size for domestic carry-on luggage is 56cm x 36cm x 23 xm or 22" x 14" x 9", including the handle and the wheels. There may be a discrepancy of a few inches across airlines.This size restriction ensures that your bag, along with those of other passengers, will fit safely in the overhead bin throughout your journey.


Carry On Luggage Weight

Even if airlines publish a precise pound or kilogram limit on their websites, it is quite unlikely that they will weigh your carry on bags. Many south east asia airlines impose weight restrictions of 7-10kg or 15-22lbs on carry on luggage whereas many American airlines do not have a weigth limit.


In general, the main thing to be aware of is to be able to lift your carry on luggage above your head and place it in the overhead compartment safely.


To Bring or Not to Bring

It's always a good idea to check with your airline before you travel to make sure that your carry-on luggage meets their requirements. This will safe you from unwanted headaches during your travels. 


Packing for a trip can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. By following TSA guidelines, doing some research before hand, you can ensure that your carry on luggage complies with TSA regulations.


If you are considering an international trip, feel free to read this article that suggests travel gear to consider, travel documents to prepare and tips to fly with your little one.


Furthermore, the benefits of traveling as a family is immense. Read this article, get pumped and plan for your next family vacation!


Happy trails...





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