Nate and I are no strangers to the long-haul flight scene but this year, we’re stepped into new territory… We travelled to Australia when I was 6 months pregnant! We’d taken the advice from our OB about compression stockings, getting up and moving around as much as possible and drinking plenty of water but I’d also done my research to figure out the best strategies for flying while pregnant so we could make sure that this would be the most comfortable 25 hour travel time of our lives. Long haul maternity style!
Usually I’ll take an overnight tote as my carry on and then my handbag or a flimsy fashion backpack as my personal item (stuffed with everything I need easy access to and then put on the floor so I can have a footrest! My feet never, ever touch the floor..) but this time we needed to pack light since we had planned on a whole day layover in Sydney, walking around seeing the sights (and did I mention I was 6 months pregnant?) There were so many unknowns!
Unfortunately due to delays beyond our control, we didn’t get our layover in Sydney, instead it we had a full 24 hours in LA! So although we had less time to walk around with backpacks, I definitely appreciated packing light.
I bought a new backpack that I bought for the trip since my old backpack is more of a ‘fashion over functionality’ type. The new one is super cute and has a great amount of space and pockets.
There’s only two downsides to this backpack.
- The sides don’t stretch out at all so there really wasn’t a whole lot of extra room inside the main compartment. This suited me just fine since I was trying to pack light but I would probably use this backpack more as an everyday pack for transporting my laptop or even for small hikes.
- The other downside I found was that the main zipper is a little difficult to open and close and gets stuck a little but with a bit of coaxing and wear and tear, I think that will sort it self out.
CLOTHING – MATERNITY STYLE
My old faithful travel outfit favours comfort over style. Always. I mean I’m not boarding the plane in my pajama pants with disheviled hair but I usually have on a pair of (comfy) leggings, loose fitting t-shirt and long tunic top/sweater kind of thing. So although I have good old faithful outfit, I just didn’t feel like it this time. I felt frumpy and a little sick so I decided to wear this awesome pair of maternity leggings, a long tank, stretchy t-shirt with a long cardigan. This outfit worked out so well that I decided to wear the same thing on the trip back home.
Do you get super cold on planes? I usually do, so I brought a giant scarf that could double as a blanket and an extra pair of warm socks but turns out I didn’t need any of them on the flight over! Maybe because I was sitting on the aisle seat but if I ever sit on a window, I will always bring a scarf. Always. Bring. A. Scarf.
- Maternity leggings
- Long tank
- Compression stockings
- Slip on shoes
I’ve also packed the following items should I need them throughout the flight:
- Thick, warm socks
- Long sleeve top
- Extra sweater
And just in case my luggage goes missing, I always pack a spare change of clothes for my destination.
In this case, I prepared clothes for a full day layover in Sydney, except it turns out we needed all the necessities for an overnight stay plus a full day and night in LA and luckily, I had them. It’s always good to be prepared!
To avoid overpacking my carry on with tonnes of clothes, I also try to coordinate what I’m wearing on the plane with my spare outfit so I can mix and match if need be.
*I had the option to wear the leggings, sweater and possibly long sleeve top (if it’s chilly) from my traveling outfit.
TOILETRIES – MATERNITY STYLE
When I first visited Nate in America, I had no idea that the airline didn’t provide toothpaste.. nor did I pack gum.. So as soon as I got my luggage, there I was in the bathroom rummaging through my luggage to find my toothpaste so I could freshen up my 24-hour breath before meeting Nate for only the second time in my life! It was a little stressful but I managed!
So now I’m always prepared with the basic toiletries (including toothpaste) and simple makeup items in my carry on.
- Make-up case with basics
- foundation, powder, concealer, blush, eyeliner, brow pencil, mini mascara (I love this one from Benefit)
- Makeup remover wipes
- Toothbrush + toothpaste (travel size) *
*Nate usually brings a decent sized toiletries container so these items generally go in with his stuff
COMFORT & MEDICINAL – MATERNITY STYLE
As I’m only taking my backpack as carry on, space is a very important and treasured commodity but in my pregnant state, I know I can’t compromise on comfort. So my criteria for packing such items were as follows: A) must be neccessary B) must take up a small amount of space and C) I must use them!
Normally, I can curl myself up in those teeny-tiny seats and fall right asleep but lately, I haven’t been able to get near my toes so I don’t know how much ‘curling up’ I’ll be able to do. So the one thing that I haven’t travelled long-haul with is a neck pillow. It’s usually too bulky and I hate having to keep track of it but I couldn’t imagine not having one since I’d pretty much be sitting upright for the whole 14 hour flight. Turns out, Nate used it more than me – it was too bulky for my little kneck to even rest comfortably on the seatback. So yeah, not a neccessity!
I found this awesome neck pillow on Amazon and even though I didn’t use it as a neck pillow, I did use it occasionally through our travels so it really was a great investment in time, space and comfort. It’s made from memory foam and came with an eye mask and ear plugs which actually fold up into the same parcel as the pillow. Amazingly when folded up, it’s tiny! It also comes with a carry bag with a neat little velco strap that I hooked on to my backpack. Win win!
I planned so hard to not pack too many superfluous things but then my physiotherapist suggested I take an extra pillow to sit on since I have a tailbone injury and you know what I thought? I’ll deal with having to keep track of it if it means I’m going to have a comfortable flight! Unfortunately I used it more as a footrest instead of a pillow for my bottom because the foam was just so soft that I pretty much ended up on the seat, which defeated the whole purpose. So that’s being packed in the luggage for the trip home and I’m looking for a new pillow for future use..
- Neck Pillow
- Coccyx pillow
- Eye Mask
- Ear Plugs
- Lip Balm
- Sanitising Wipes (to wipe the tray table, armrests, seats etc)
- Hand Sanitiser (unfortunately once you’ve washed your hands, you still gotta open that bathroom door!)
ELECTRONICS – MATERNITY STYLE
This is definitely a category we can’t travel without. It seems like a lot of electronics but we definitely use them either on the plane, in the airport or at our destinations and there is no way that we’re packing our pricey electronics in checked luggage!
- Phone + charger
- Laptop + charger
- iPad + charger
- DSLR Camera + Case (packed in Nate’s backpack)
- Earphones + splitter
- Adaptors for Australian and American electronics
DOCUMENTATION/ADMINSTRATION – MATERNITY STYLE
The airlines we’re flying with stated that they didn’t require a doctor’s note confirming my due date or ability to fly however, I got a note from my doctor anyway just in case I was questioned by any flight officials. There was no way I’m was not getting on that flight to Australia! Luckily I did have the note because the Australian check in desk wanted to see it before I flew.. always be prepared!
- Doctor’s note
- Travel Card
- Green Card
- US and AUS Cash
- AUS & US Credit & Debit cards
- Pens (I always keep a few handy for all the customs and landing forms we need to fill out)
- Notebook & pen (sometimes our electronics run out of juice or it’s easier to write down a brilliant idea that’s come in the middle of the night!)
FOOD AND DRINK – MATERNITY STYLE
So looking back, my bag was snack-heavy.
Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been snacking like crazy and I thought I’d probably be super hungry on the plane so I packed accordingly.
Turns out, I barely ate any of my snacks! I ate the fruit pouch, half an apple and a couple of mini muffins and then ate (all) the airplane food. I also made sure that I had a good dinner before we arrived at the airport so that helped. On the way home, I packed less snacks (a couple of small packets of biscuits, some fruit pouches, lollies and chocolate) and had more room in my carry on which worked out super well for us.
- Crackers, wholegrain and flavoured
- Food pouches (3oz otherwise they’ll get confiscated!) *
- Belvita breakfast biscuits *
- Fig Newtons *
- Fresh apples
- Mini Muffins
- Gummi Bears *
*Since these items don’t need refrigeration, I’ll be packing some extra in my luggage to put in my carry on for the trip home
- Water Bottle with inbuilt filter
*Make sure it’s empty until you clear security or you’ll have your pretty water bottle confiscated!
**Some people suggest filling it up on the plane but I’ve always found tonnes of water fountains near boarding gates, so I fill it up before boarding.
- Chamomile and herbal tea bags
*Once they’ve been used and cooled down, chamomile tea bags are great to put on your eyelids, under your eyemask to soothe puffy eyes.
There you have it, my carry on essentials, maternity style!
I definitely learnt a lot and although I hope to avoid flying long haul while pregnant again, if it ever does happen, I think I’ll be super prepared!
Let me know what your must-haves for packing maternity-style are in the comments!