I often see adoptive parents asking about travel for placement and I even get emails about our experience with it. I am sure each person is different on what they found to work and be helpful for them, but this is what worked for us and.... well what didn't.
We were lucky enough to have a date to be able to buy our plane tickets. Don't get me wrong at any time we could have gotten the call to come now, but "D" had a scheduled C section that was two weeks before her due date.
My advise on the plane tickets is buy direct from the airline. I found that they were actually a little cheaper and a little more willing to work with you if you had to change things without charging a penalty. We used Delta and can not say a bad thing. They were very easy to deal with. On the way home they gave Noah a seat on the plane that we should have paid for free of charge and allowed 2 pieces of luggage for free.
On the way out we had a stroller bag that had the stroller, car seat and base in it. We figured even the price of the bag and paying the $25.00 fee for luggage we going to be ahead. Renting one from the car rental place for $27.00 a day can add up fast if you spend several weeks there. Plus when we came home it was 2 different plane rights one being 6 hours and 1 an the 2nd like 2 hours without the car seat on the plane we would have had to hold him the entire time. Upon arriving at the airport and telling them what was in it, they never charged for it so we sent it for nothing. It was nice to have it for coming home as well because we were able to use it for the extra baby things we had bought while in Vegas. We were not charged to sent it back either.
A good hotel will make all the difference! We stayed at an amazing Marriott Towne Place Suites, they were so amazing to deal with. Having the amenities of an apartment made all the difference. We had a full kitchen which made it nice to have meals and bottle cleaning. The frig was great to have to keep drinks, snacks and food cold so we didn't have to use vending machines. They had a small breakfast each morning of different muffins, bagels, English muffins & cereals. It also had juices, coffee and milk, so that helped save a little on meals. They had a outdoor gas grill you could use and a several nice sitting areas indoors and out. There were 2 computers with Internet access in the lobby to if you don't want to travel with a computer. They had a pac in play they brough right to our room for us and gave us several clean sheets and blankets to use, and checked on the each day when they came and cleaned the room. Anything we needed was right there for us.
Another thing we learning the hard way, don't over pack. When you hear you could be there for several weeks you sort of panic. I would say pack a few staple items, a few days of undergarments, maybe 2 or 3 pairs of jeans and a couple pair of lounging pants and a few tops. I never gave thought to the fact that with a newborn we would have laundry, at least a load a day so I would say save on space in the car and the luggage you need to ship and pack a smart.
Don't pack, diapers, wipes and stuff like that for the baby. You can buy that once you get there and save space in your luggage. I would say only pack like 4 bottles to, yes it is alot more dishes while in the hotel but again less stuff to lug along. The hospital Noah was born at used ready mixed formula similar to this. They actually sent like 2 or 3 12 packs home with us for the first few day, I say save some of them for the plane ride home. It was so great to just take the top off put the nipple on and toss it. There was no hassle in security with it, as there might be if you had the powdered, plus you need to worry about water and possibly having to warm it. With these there was no hassle at all which was nice.
Just remember there is a box store on every other street in most places so you can always buy a few items of clothing for you and the baby. I know that because we had to for Noah because everything we took for him was way to big and we had to go get some smaller size things anyway. I know that I am missing alot of things and I will write them down as I remember then and do another post at a later date, these were the big things I could remember.