Even before our first child was born, my husband, Ted, and I started planning our family vacations. With several months off for my impending maternity leave and Ted's flexible schedule as a writer, we envisioned wide-open windows of time and an easily transportable papoose. I'd finally get to India! Or we could rent a place in Italy! Or hole up in a surf town in Puerto Rico!

We waited to see how far the next wave would take us, and here's where we landed: in a packed station wagon with a teal portacrib strapped to its roof, heading to Boston in heavy traffic to visit my mother.

Fast-forward 11 years: now there are four of us, and we're all slathered in deet, keeping up with a Peruvian guide in a rain forest of swooping macaws, strangler figs, and termite towers. (I enlisted my husband, who cooked up this particular trip, to write about it.)

There's a long, snaking road of travel options between the first baby outing and a foray into the wild such as ours—and that's what we're here to investigate and map out for you at Travel + Leisure Family. As we see it, there's nothing more worthwhile than stepping out of your regular schedule to explore the world, especially if, as we predict, you discover that you're related to the most demanding, outspoken, and delightful travel companions.

Travel + Leisure Family is the unruly eight-year-old sibling of Travel + Leisure—and on a growth spurt. Thanks to your extraordinary response, starting with this issue, we'll be doubling our frequency, to six times a year. As part of our coming-of-age, we've spruced up our look. We've also packed our stories with even more practical information (check out our "School Vacation Planner"), found a way to improve the family car ("Stick It to the Van"), and introduced new columns. We hope you'll come along for the ride. Warning: we brake for beach resorts, candy machines at rest stops, and all intriguing points in between.

My Finds

There are few things I love more than striped plastic bags from faraway places. Though I already own a market stall's worth, I can't help adding to the collection—this one came from our trip to Peru. On every family vacation, we carry at least three of these totes, stocked with snacks, books, and games—but with a bit of room, in case I find some new bags to lug home.