Pre-boarding seems to be a divided issue. Personally, I appreciate the extra time to get organized, plus you avoid the issue of stuffed-to-the-gills overhead bins. However, Trudy Buzdon-Barber of Tsawwassen, British Columbia, suggests that you “wait until the very last passenger gets on the plane then board... this way your little sweet pea doesn’t have to wait in a confined area while other passengers are getting settled! Stay close to the boarding gate and let your child finish up a snack, play I Spy, or even run around and get out all that energy!" My daughter has a tough time winding down if she’s been running around, so I try to stick to low-key activities until it’s time to board.
3.) The car seat dilemma. For me, it’s not a dilemma… bring it. You can reserve car seats with most major car rental companies, but the internet is rife with horror stories about filthy and/or unsafe seats. The car seat we travel with was very inexpensive and weighs less than 10 pounds. For transport, we attach it to one of our wheeled suitcases with a bungee cord and it gets checked under the plane.
4.) The big picture. You’re on vacation, so you’re supposed to enjoy yourself! Ginny Connon summed it up nicely by saying “I found traveling with babies much more relaxing for me when I just kept it simple. Realize that the kids will get older and you'll be able to do more over the years, but while they are babies, limit any event planning and don't expect too much -- just go with the flow.” Happy travels!