How To Pack Liquids For Air Travel

When traveling with kids, you may realize that you need to take extra liquids on board than usual. Whether that is milk to feed the baby, liquidized food, or medicine.

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Additionally, you may also need to pack items to keep your kids entertained throughout the flight, despite the possibility of in-flight movies. 

If you are wondering how to pack both liquids and what to pack in your kid’s carry-on bag ready for air travel, then you have come to the right place.

While you might be pulling your hair out right now trying to figure out what you need for a smooth flight, have no fear because we have you covered. 

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How To Pack Liquids for Air Travel with Kids

Be Aware Of The 3-1-1 Rule

When packing liquids, you will need to stay aware of the 3-1-1 rule. The TSA is very strict regarding what gels, aerosols, and liquids can be kept in your carry-on bag during the flight.

This means you can only carry items sized at 3.4 ounces maximum within a 1-quart size bag that has a zip-top. If it does not fit, then it can’t go in. 

This rule applies to adults and children. However, kids who are registered as flying on your lap will not get their own carry-on allowance. Therefore you will need to figure out how you are going to carry what they need. 

However, you can bring extra items that exceed the 3.4 oz/100ml rule, such as baby formula – whether powdered or breast milk. Also, baby food, too.

These kinds of items are exempt from being removed from your bag to be x-rayed. However, you will need to declare to security that you are carrying it, and the items will be inspected.

Our article about Navigating Airport Security with Children discusses the 3-1-1 liquid rule, including security screening with children and how to handle TSA.

How To Carry Baby Milk And Food On A Flight?

Fortunately, you can take both breast milk and powdered formula as carry-on onto a flight. This also includes baby food too.

Usually, this kind of food is not restricted to any rules, so take as much as you need for the flight and while traveling to your next destination.

Another good thing to note is that you will not need to remove these items from your bag onto the conveyor belt for an X-ray. However, make sure you separate these kinds of items from everything else.

They will still need inspecting, so be prepared to remove them from your carry-on bag.

If you have older kids who will not require baby food or milk, you may want to buy food once you pass security. While the prices are a little higher, if your flight does not offer food, then you need to be prepared with travel snacks for kids.

Depending on the length of travel, it could just be snacks and a drink. This avoids them telling you over and over again how hungry and thirsty they are, despite it only being an hour-and-a-half plane journey.

When flying with children you may be interested in How to Get Cheap Plane Tickets

How To Pack Liquids For Air Travel (1)

What Happens If You Cannot Fit All Liquids Into A Carry-On Bag?

While there is no doubt that you will be carrying liquids to your chosen vacation destination, you do not have to carry every item with you in your carry-on bag, nor do your kids.

When deciding what to put inside the zip-top bag, think about what you will need on the flight. You may want medicine or wet wipes for a baby or young child. However, remember that these will be a part of your carry-on liquid allowance.

Because of this, you will have to figure out exactly what you both will need during the flight and put the rest in your luggage.

You will not want to use everything that is in liquid, gel, or aerosol form while on the plane, so think about what you can have with you on the flight, and what can safely be stored in your suitcase.

However, this becomes extra tricky if you only take carry-on luggage. When this is the case, you must be extra strict about what you will need.

Again, as stated above, bring as much baby milk and food as you need, as this does not count towards the 3-1-1 allowance. 

What Do Children Need On A Flight?

Having your kids with you on a flight differs from when you used to travel alone. While you can snooze hours away or watch a few movies, your children may need extra stimulation.

For that reason, here are a few things to bring on an airplane for children on a flight:

Activity Book

Whether it is a book full of puzzles and different activities or purely a coloring book, your kids will enjoy doing something that lets them concentrate. 

You can easily buy a small activity book before you set off. They fit nicely into a carry-on, and you should only need a small pack of crayons and a pencil.

Printable Airplane Activities For Kids

This packet of Printable Airplane Activities and Games can be used to entertain your children while you travel, especially while flying and in the airport. The Travel Planner will help you and your family prepare for the trip.

Airplane Activities for Kids

Story Book

A good book can keep them entertained, especially if the subject is something they love. Have them pick a book themselves. It also helps keep them quiet!


Kids will need travel snacks on a plane. You probably already know how loud they can get when hungry, so you may want to purchase some of their favorite snacks once you are past security. 

Drink Bottle

While you are not allowed to take a full drinking bottle into security, you can take an empty one through and then refill it as soon as you are done with security.

Kids Travel Tray

A Kids Travel Tray organizes drinks, snacks, activities, and electronics to entertain children while they travel. Kids can use the travel tray for plane rides and in the car.

Final Thoughts

When you have younger children, it can be difficult to know what liquids to pack and how to store them. 

Fortunately, you can take baby milk and food through security in larger quantities instead of obeying the 3-1-1 rule.

However, you will also want extra activities and snacks to keep your little ones entertained.

For more about family travel, check out these posts:
Navigating Airport Security with Children
Surviving Jet Lag with your Baby or Toddler
Complete guide to getting your baby or child a U.S. passport
How to Travel with a Baby

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The BE Family Travel Team writes articles to help parents travel with children.