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Top 10 Features of the Best Diaper Bags for Airline Travel

mom sitting with baby on airplane looking out window

What is the best travel diaper bag to take if you plan to fly with your baby or toddler?

It’s a good question if you’re a parent flying with your little ones any time soon. I know I asked myself this question with two kids of my own the first time our family booked a flight.

You likely want a travel diaper bag that checks all the boxes when it comes to ease of use, convenience, and high quality. But where do you begin? What features should you consider? What essentials should you prioritize?

Here are 10 important qualities to consider when selecting the best travel diaper bag for your upcoming flight.

Best Travel Diaper Bag Features

Hands-Free Use

If you have a baby or toddler, you can relate to needing both your hands for constant clean-ups and consoling moments. While traveling by plane with one or a few kids in tow, there are multiple things you have to carry (not including the occasional sleeping child). You’ve got your luggage, and maybe a stroller and car seat too. I'm sure you probably don't want your travel diaper bag to be one more item you have to grab. (I know I don't.)

So one question to ask yourself is how you like to carry your bags. Do you want it to hang over your shoulder like a tote? Personally, I find myself having to fix it too much when I’m walking through an airport and bending down to help my kids. Instead, your might want to consider a backpack style. Then there's the crossbody and fanny pack option offered with our Kibou.

Above all, your travel diaper bag needs to provide comfort and convenience (no matter what style you choose). Have you seen our one-hand zipper Kaitlynn Guzman loves? It's a diaper bag game-changer.

baby on Kibou on-the-go changing mat on airplane

On-the-Go Changing Pad

In those moments when you are cramped in the airplane bathroom or changing a diaper in your seat, having an on-the-go and easy-to-use changing pad will be important. Not only do you want it to be comfortable for your little one to lay on, but it’s also got to be easy to clean and disinfect when you’re being jostled by a little airplane turbulence.

Maybe you’ll want the option of being able to roll it out of your bag and keep it attached. Or maybe you’ll want to remove it from your bag (our Kibou can allow for both). All these are important features to pay attention to before making your travel diaper bag purchase.

Great Organization and Storage

Pockets are pretty important, right? But TOO many pockets can make you forget what item is where. What makes a travel diaper bag the best is how it’s organized for what you need. Not only should it have compartments for all of your child’s needs (like a pocket specifically designed for wet wipes like our Kibou), but let's not forget about space for mom and dad’s stuff too. 

A part of traveling with little ones is having cash, credit cards, and IDs as readily available as possible for check-ins and purchases. Not to mention, you need snacks, the pacifier, diapers, wipes, and the bottle or sippy cup handy as well. The Kibou can store all of that and still stay organized.

Less is typically more when you’re on-the-go with your little one. And that’s something we at Kibou understand as parents.

Multi-Purpose Function

When you’re selecting a diaper bag for airline travel you might already be thinking the fewer bags, the better.

So in the back of your mind, you know this travel diaper bag needs to hold all of the diapering essentials, but what else can it be used to carry? Maybe you want it to double as your purse for shopping? Or perhaps you’ll want to unpack it once you arrive at your destination and convert it into your beach bag?

If you are hoping to repurpose your travel diaper bag for other needs on your trip, it’s worth thinking through these other occasions.

Easy-to-Clean and Non-Toxic Material

The bag itself (both inside and outside) will need to be cleaned occasionally. Especially if you are traveling in and out of airports and public restrooms. And you’ll want to choose a diaper bag that makes it easier on you (not harder) to keep clean. For some travel diaper bags, you may want to look for that “machine washable” disclaimer with instructions.

If you need to clean by hand, take a look at the cleaning instructions in the FAQs before you buy. What additional things do you need to purchase to keep your travel diaper bag clean? Is it simple solutions like dish soap or are more expensive cleaners needed? It’s always worth taking a look at the care instructions before committing to a diaper bag purchase.

And of course, you want to ensure it meets safety requirements and is non-toxic to use around your little ones.

Kibou fanny pack vegan leather diaper bag

Fashionable Style

Lastly, you can’t forget about style. Whether it’s a gender-neutral color or the subtle design you’re seeking, you want your travel diaper bag to fit the taste of who’s carrying it.

Do you want it to be chic, glam, or have an adventurous look to fit your and your family’s travel vibe?

Style is a feature you won’t want to overlook if it’s a bag you see yourself traveling with quite a bit. Even a diaper bag can be both functional and stylish (just look at our Kibou).

Travel Diaper Bag Size and Price Considerations


Traveling by plane usually means narrow aisles and small bathrooms. And those small spaces typically call for a small diaper bag where you can pack all the essentials (our Kibou can fit emergency snacks, spare pants or a onesie, wipes, as well as a couple of diapers).

The benefit is your personal item can be used for overflow diaper bag needs to fit nicely under your seat. But having a smaller diaper bag option strapped across your chest or along your waist is one less thing you have to hold in your hand. And it’s especially convenient during those tight-fit diaper changes on the airplane.


Let’s face it, the lighter the better. What parent wants one more heavy thing to carry? You already know your arms will be weighed down enough by kids that need or want to be carried.

When looking for an ideal diaper bag, especially while traveling through crowded airports and waiting in long lines, having one that’s as light as possible is going to be important at the end of a long travel day. Your body and feet will thank you for sure.


As with any purchase, you may want to think through the cost when it comes to purchasing a travel diaper bag for airline travel.

What are you willing to invest? Do you see this bag as a short-term need and something you’ll transition out of once your kids are bigger?

Do you want it to be a bag that’s versatile to grow with your family? Maybe you want to reuse it for other seasons in your life with your on-the-go lifestyle. Depending on how much and for how long you want to use your bag, could help you determine what to spend on it. 


Any time you are making a purchase, most of the time you want it to last.

For instance, a diaper bag with vegan leather (a trait of our Kibou bags) and nylon helps with keeping the bag looking great even with unexpected inclement weather. Over time, we all know if bags aren’t made with high-quality materials, their durability is bound to suffer.

And if it’s a diaper bag you want to rely on while traveling with your kids, you know it’s likely going to get some wear and tear. So taking the time to pay attention to the materials is worth it.

dad and toddler son at the airport getting ready to travel

Frequently Asked Questions About Diaper Bags on Planes

Is a diaper bag a carry-on?

No, a diaper bag does not count as your personal item or a carry-on for your flight (thank goodness). But it’s always a good idea to double-check with the airline you’re flying with just to make sure what your bag limitations are.

How big should a diaper bag be on a plane?

Most airlines indicate that your diaper bag dimensions should not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm). But again, depending on your airline carrier, these could vary so it’s best to check before your trip.

How do you pack a diaper bag for a flight?

Most of the time, you’ll only want to pack the minimum. But again, it comes down to your family’s specific needs. The key is thinking through what you need and making a list. If you want somewhere to start with your diaper bag packing list, check out our articles on what to pack in your minimalist diaper bag whether you have a baby, toddler, or big kid.



Purchase your Kibou fanny pack diaper bag today.

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