Combine the need for winter gear, each child's must-have items and gifts you're bringing to your destination, and packing can quickly become a logistical nightmare. So start with the gifts. An easy solution to lighten your load is to wrap and ship them ahead of time, says Gavin. Next, keep your carry-on reserved for must-haves for the flight: Snacks, a couple of games and one item your child cannot live without at the moment. You can even pack a treat that's symbolic of where they're headed, like a piece of, say, Ghiradelli chocolate during your takeoff to San Francisco. "Yes, junk food is bad, but it can also be your secret weapon to appease a meltdown during a long flight," says Gavin.