Your Guide to Stress-Free Family Travel

On the plane ...

Veda Shook, flight attendant for Alaska Airlines and mom of two in Washington, D.C.

Keep the kids happy. I try to hide a little surprise for the kids, so if they're getting restless on the plane they can pull out a new toy, book, or game. That usually buys us more time. You should also bring an empty sippy cup to fill up at the water fountain once you've passed through security. Kids often can't wait until service comes through the plane to get something to drink. Having your own can prevent a midair meltdown.

Go nonstop. I'd rather pay extra -- or even drive an hour more to a different airport -- to get a nonstop flight than risk delays and the other hassles of taking a connecting flight with kids. But if you can't avoid connections, be sure to allow enough time between flights for your children to stretch, go to the bathroom, eat, and unwind without having to rush to the next gate.

Cut down on bags. With all the baggage fees, sometimes it's easier to buy bulky things, such as diapers, when you get there. You can also ship a box to your destination, which is often cheaper than the $25-$35 second-bag fee. If you stay with friends or family, ask to borrow their car seat, crib, and other gear.

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