I sort of feel like an expert here, even though we have only traveled with Eleanor twice. But seeing as how we have done it by both air and road, and we have done it twice in the short two month life of Eleanor, I think I can give a little advice on the topic. Of course this is just what works for us and what works when staying with family. I can only assume hotel stays would be much different.
So what are our Must Have Baby Travel Items?
Number 1: Friends/Family
I know, real helpful right? If it weren't for friends and family and family friends, I am not sure how we could travel so easily. When we drove to Missouri we were able to use my sister's Pack N' Play. With Eleanor and Kolbie so close in age we were guaranteed to have everything we could potentially need.
On our current trip, our family reached out to friends at church to secure a Pack N' Play, a Boppy, and a playmat. Of course these items are nice to have and maybe not travel necessities, but it has sure made our visit much more enjoyable. While Eleanor could sleep in bed with us, we get much better sleep with her in the Pack N' Play.
Number 2: Ergo
We just busted the Ergo out of its box for this trip and boy is it Ah-mazing! We love the Moby, but here is why the Ergo is better: it doesn't drag on the floor (ew, airport floors) when you are wrapping it around you, technically you could put it on one-handed while holding the baby in the other, and it takes all the weight off your back and makes it very comfortable to wear the baby for long periods of time. I wore Eleanor from the time we got out of the car until we got back in another car (at least 5 hours).
Number 3: Car seat bag
Maybe this one should fall under the "friends" category since we borrowed our car seat bag from a friend as well. Either way, this one is a lifesaver. Here's a helpful tip, when you fly you can check either a car seat or fully collapsible stroller for free! We obviously opted for the car seat and used the bag. Since we are cheap we never check luggage. Traveling for 5 days with two adults and a baby in a very cold city is difficult to do with just two carry-ons. Enter the carseat bag. We stuffed our giant winter coats and extra items in with the car seat. Genius! Free checked baggage!
Number 4: An awesome husband
Ok, maybe he should be number one, but since I can't help you find where to buy one of these he fell down on the list. Alex is the most helpful husband you could ask for and he makes traveling so much easier. It is fun to travel with him, and it is enjoyable. He is willing to hold the baby and all the luggage while I go to the restroom and he's even willing to take Eleanor into the men's restroom to change her diaper. By the way, more men's restrooms need to have changing stations...just saying. Find yourself an Alex and you are all set.
Number 5: Pacifier
This was Alex's contribution to the list (along with hard liquor or beer) but I couldn't agree more. We were hesitant to use a pacifier when Eleanor was little, but dare I say we are pretty liberal with it now. And why not? Why deny your precious child her happiness in an otherwise bad situation. Plus, you do not want to be that person on the plane with a screaming baby. Before boarding the plane Eleanor received many smiles from the other passengers, and "oh isn't that baby so cute" comments. I knew what they were really thinking inside is "that baby better not cry!" And ours didn't cry one bit. She stayed tucked inside the Ergo happily sleeping for most of the ride...with her pacifier. And it is the best tool for long car rides as well. We would never have made it to Missouri without.
Number 6: Swaddle
Does your baby like to be swaddled to sleep? Ours does and her bad mom forgot the swaddle at home. Off to Target to pick up a new one, now she's sleeping like a baby again.
Number 7: Patience
Yup, I included it. Patience is key and somewhere between becoming pregnant and delivering this beautiful bundle of joy I found some deep within me. (Note: I had no patience before baby.) Anything can go wrong (Murphy's Law) so stay calm and have some patience. Traveling with a baby is exciting and fun and very new. It is a completely new adventure for us and it is wonderful!