Kid Packs

When both boys were too little to walk, we couldn't go anywhere without our Deuter backpack. The cadillac of kid-carrying packs, as Michael called them, they were sturdy and easy to use. Even a technically-challenged person like myself could figure out how to get a baby in the pack and hoist it onto my back--all by myself. And it was actually comfortable!

Two-year-old Brody sacked out on the beach at Morgan's Rock, Nicaragua, 2009

Two-year-old Brody sacked out on the beach at Morgan's Rock, Nicaragua, 2009

Brody on his first trip to Nicaragua, 9 months, 2007

Brody on his first trip to Nicaragua, 9 months, 2007


Kindles, iPads and Bears (oh my)

I don't feel the least bit guilty about bringing these on vacation to keep the kids happy during flights, dinner or any number of activities that require my kids to behave like civilized human beings. And the OtterBox Defender Series is our first choice for protecting pricey technology, especially those used by children.


Swim gear

One of the most important items to bring on a snorkel vacation with kids is a snorkel/mask set. While most tour operators offer them as part of your tour fee, oftentimes they don't fit well, making the child even less willing to try snorkeling. (Flippers, by contrast, are an easy fit. No need to lug personal ones to your destination.) So make sure the mask fits your child's face before you head off to your next beach vacation.