There are a lot of packing lists and advice for what to put in your carry on and luggage out there and I highly advise you consult a few of those sites. The detailed advice you will find can be very helpful in developing your own personal family packing list. But the advice I give you is what to take with you throughout the whole trip!
1. Attitude. Young or old, humans pick up on the emotions and feelings around them and will be mirrored back to you. If you are feeling anxious or nervous about the trip with your little one, your baby will pick up on those feelings too! Talk to your baby about the trip, about who or what he will see or do in the days leading up to the trip. Be excited and positive! If your child is a bit older, show You Tube video clips of what its like inside the cabin of an airplane. I use our dining chairs as the airplane seat and we pretend to board and fly on an airplane. We talk about what it's like, how to behave and what we will get to do during the flight. Build the excitement and eliminate any worry before you leave the ground and your little one will enjoy the game!
2. Organization. This goes hand in hand with Attitude. Be sure you have organized your preparation time to include a bit of rest before the trip begins. I usually like to be all packed the morning before our trip begins so whatever happens that day, I can take care of last minute. Then we have a simple dinner and calm evening before the morning of our trip. I live by my packing list and have come to realize that we don't use nearly as much as I think we may need. Think basics plus a few comforts and a "Hail Mary" snack or activity to keep the restlessness at bay.
3. Exercise. As soon as your little one starts toddling, use every moment on the ground during the trip for exercising. I remember in the Baltimore Airport we were in a waiting area where there was a short moving walkway and we rode it and walked it 100 times before the plane came. By the time we boarded our flight, my son was tuckered out and ready to rest and play quietly on the airplane. Every time we fly, we find any open space, empty gate area or hallway to run, jump, walk, march in place and stretch before a flight. I don't care how crazy I look, when we get on the plane we are all ready to take our seats and vegetate for a while! I know my fellow passengers appreciate it.
Travelling with your baby is definitely different than it was pre-baby, but keeping these 3 steps in mind, you will find that your trips go faster and more smoothly. I dare you to have fun too while you are doing it too!