Vacation Theme Digiscrapping Resources

Just a couple more digiscrapping freebies for travel scrapbooks….

HP have this great pdf of vintage looking travel postcards and tags.

Just So Scrappy have made the most gorgeous set of luggage tags from their “Boys will be Boys” kit. I don’t know how long this freebie will last (scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link, also check the earlier posts for more in the series).

Ok, this last one isn’t a freebie but at $0.50 it’s not going to break the bank either. This is a great paper called “All Mapped Out” and it’s made of vintage maps of the USA. Designer Digitals have some lovely travel kits if you have a bit of loose change burning a hole in your pocket.

How to deal with jet lag in kids

Badger Sleep BalmMake sure they have plenty of Gin & Tonic at your destination. KIDDING!

Seriously though, jet lag is absolutely hideous and I have been scouring the internet looking for the best tips to deal with jet lag for children. The bad news is that there are very few options and most are hit and miss or rely on a placebo effect at best. Before we go any further I have some genuine advice,

  • Whatever you do, make sure you try it well in advance at home first. 30,000 feet up in the air is not when you want to discover a life threatening allergic reaction, or that it gives you a massive headache, or that it makes the children hyperactive.
  • On that note, my humble experience of kids and “calming drugs” is that the children who need them the most are either not effected or they have the opposite effect. The kids it works best on are the ones who don’t need it. I don’t advocate it, it’s something you’d need to do your own research on and discuss with your own doctor.
  • Now I am the sort of person who gets jet lagged travelling between Australia and NZ – and that’s a two hour time difference at most. So I am super aware of the horrible side effects of being jet lagged. The last time we did a major international trip, I was six months pregnant and also got horribly motion sick. As a result I was completely unable to deal with the Tube in London and the escalators and general commuting crush. We had to spend the all out time in London using the double decker buses instead (which was probably a whole lot nicer anyway).

    I think the most important thing when planning a trip is to build in a buffer. Don’t plan on doing major attractions or theme parks on the day you arrive or even the day after. A lot of the sites I’ve looked at talk about it taking up to 5 days to adjust to the local time zones. (If you are travelling for 5 days or less, you might as well stick with your home time zones as much as possible).“Overcoming Jetlag” at Trekaroo goes into more details about starting things slowly. In our upcoming Europe trip we are starting with three nights at a campsite on a lake with a nice pool complex. Our plan is to be able to blob as much as possible for the first three days, plus naturally getting bright light at the right time by being in the pool. For the return trip, we’re scheduled to arrive at the beginning of the weekend – this means we have the whole weekend at home to recover from the flights and the change in time zones.

    While staying awake once you reach your destination may be practical advice for adults, it’s not so easy for children. Exposure to sunlight is the most recommended activity. There are a couple of websites that help you calculate the best times to get a dose of bright light.
    Fleet Street Clinic Jet Lag Calculator
    Bodyclock: The Jet Lag Calculator
    Alertness Solutions Jet Lag Calculator This is a bit different – it is a pdf chart to print off and fill in the time zones. It lets you see when your natural alert and sleep times are.

    On the Fleet Street Clinic pages you will see a recommendation for using Melatonin. This is widely available in the USA but requires a prescription in Australia (even to import it). Melatonin seems to get very mixed reviews and it’s certainly not something I’d be prepared to give to my children. Help Me to Sleep has more indepth information on jet lag remedies for adults such as melatonin. A product that I have tried for myself that is a kind of precursor to melatonin is 5-HTP. “A Norwegian study showed that 5-HTP can affect sleep patterns by increasing the levels of serotonin, which is needed for sleep. Serotonin is needed to produce melatonin, a hormone which regulates sleep-wake cycles.” You can read more about 5-HTP here and here. Although you cannot buy 5-HTP widely in Australia it is easy to order online from many NZ stockists and there are no problems importing it. Again, it’s not something I’m planning to give to my kids, but I am intending to take some for myself on our trip.

    So, non-invasive, practical things I am going to do to help lessen the impact of jet lag on my kids…

    1. A month before start changing their bed-time. because of the direction we are flying, I’m going to make this later by an hour each week (yay Homeschooling rocks, plus I’m making sure we have no morning appointments those weeks).
    2. In the week before we leave, I’ll be talking to my kids about what to expect, sleeping on the plane, and quiet activities to do if they wake up and their parents are still asleep!!!
    3. To help with sleeping on the plane (and when we arrive) I’ve bought Badgers Sleep Balm and Badgers Night Night Balm from Uncommon Scents. I wasn’t sure which one would work best, so I got both to try out before we leave. (And doesn’t the cute picture of the Badger just make you want to snooze?) I also have ear plugs, eye masks  and white noise to put on the ipods. Powrnaps Sleep System Combo Pack 26-minute Nap Audio System & Easy2sleep Audio System I got from Amazon. Binaural Beats and Ambiscience Pure Sleep are two free iphone apps that have relaxing white noise soundtracks.
    4. Once we arrive I’m going to try the acupressure points recommended in No More Jet Lag I figure what is $10 when we have spent $$$$ going on this holiday? If it works, fantastic, if it doesn’t we’re really no worse off.
    5. As recommended in the Trekaroo article above, we’ll be stocking up on snacks once we arrive

    These articles also have great tips:

    Delicious Baby: Jet Lag

    Travel with your kids: What you can do about jet lag

    The Babies Online Blog has a hilarious article on dealing with jet lag and toddlers.

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    10 gadgets to make summer travel more enjoyable – The Gadling Gear Review | Gadling.com

    10 gadgets to make summer travel more enjoyable – The Gadling Gear Review | Gadling.com.

    Some great suggestions here. The Tom Bihn bags look awesome – I’ve read other good reviews of his range. Although what I like best about his bags are the washing instructions. Sadly very $$$ once you convert the whole lot to Aussie dollars.

    The Tekkon rechargable batteries are a serious consideration for purchase however!

    Where is Matt?

    In case you haven’t seen it, a little feel good travel video

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY

    It’s got us thinking – is there something a little bit crazy we can do every place that we visit?

    Gizmo Indulgence

    Digital Luggage ScalesOk, I couldn’t stand it any more. I HAD to get a gizmo. The gizmo of choice today was the balanzza digital travel travel scales. I found them for a good price at Office Works.
    One of the things I get very nervous about when travelling is the weight of our bags. Keptwoman emailed me this and suggested it would be a really good thing to get. I’m afraid that kind of ruins her reputation as the anti-enabler, but here is my new toy.

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    Where have you been all my life?

    Two pails and troweld on Asilomar State Beach
    Image via Wikipedia

    There’s no shortage of wonderful travel sites out there, but there are also a plethora of them that totally fail to live up to their own hype. You know the ones – you think you’re going to find great world wide accommodation deals, only to discover they  cover a whole three states in the USA. Or they have loads of wonderful places – it’s just that the site is written in ancient Polish. 

    Yesterday thanks to Mashable I discovered a fabulous, fabulous site that focused on vacation / holiday rental properties world wide. Vacation rental properties are one of the key ways to have an affordable family holiday, and this fabulous site delivers in buckets. You can search by name or drill down on a map. It’s fast, it’s slick, it’s… it’s… fabulous.

    Not perhaps the world’s most memorable site name, make sure you bookmark Otalo for planning your next vacation. I love the fact that it starts your breadcrumb trail with “Earth” as if there’s some future chance of it starting with “The Moon” or “Mars”. Gotta keep potential expansion opportunities in mind! I love the fact that not only can I find properties overseas but also right here in Australia. We certainly could have done with a site like this the last time we went to NZ. *sigh* Better late than never, huh? You can mark favourite properties with a little heart. I can tell you right now, I Otalo.

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    One Size Does Not Fit All

    Grumpy Old Women Live
    Image via Wikipedia

    Due to unforeseen circumstances – mainly Leonardo’s mouth growing so much in a week that the plate they sent out by mail didn’t fit – we had to make a repeat journey today of our epic adventure into the CBD. Apart from the fact that it was at least 42 degrees (that’s over 107 y’all) it was a much smoother and more successful trip. Yes, it had MOMENTS, but for the most part it was a much easier trip. The key reason for this was that I cashed in all my baby sitting chips and only took Leonardo. Wow, just taking only one child somewhere is a whole different ball game from taking the whole team.

    *Disclaimer* Now I must warn you that probably after reading the next bit you will think I am Queen CrankyPants but I will remind you that it was 42 degrees and I am obviously still suffering from the after effects of our last mission impossible. And my parents dog died this week – which has nothing to do with this – but I am just saying.

    Anyway, the thing is that last week sometime I read a comment a gentleman travel blogger had made about travelling with kids. He was referring to his travels with his child and said something along the lines of … “this has been a fantastic experience and our kid has coped brilliantly … kids totally do not need gameboys and other electronic rubbish when travelling.” You have to realise that isn’t the exact quote but a paraphrase. But it has completely irritated me on sooooooo many levels. I’ve been stewing on it all week and now I have to vent before I spontaneously combust.

    First up – all kids are different. If you have a lovely, quiet, compliant girl who likes to sit and read horse stories   for hours on end, you may not need a gameboy.

    Horses grazing below the flight path into Lond...
    Image via Wikipedia

    Of  course, if we had one of those types of kids, we’d probably still buy them an ipod and make them read their stories on that, but moot point, as we completely forgot to have any children like that. All kids have different learning styles, temperaments, energy levels and sensitivity levels that make them completely different as travellers.  With the same gene pool, environment and upbringing we ended up with three completely different kids who cope completely differently with travel. Leonardo was a dream baby who would happily go anywhere, anytime and sleep anyplace. CityHall was a baby who would start screaming ten minutes after leaving. She’s downgraded to “are we there yet” but it’s still sapping. I guess if it hadn’t been phrased as a blanket statement but rather “this was our experience and we found OUR child was perfectly happy without being plugged in”, I’d have been a lot less irritated. As it was, to me it came across as pretty judgemental.

    Secondly, as I was made aware today, the number of kids you take with you makes a big difference. One kid plus one kid makes it about twenty times more complex. I tell you I am in awe of anyone who makes it out of the house who has more than three kids. I am convinced that if we had ten kids, I wouldn’t even make it out to the mailbox to collect the mail. 

    Thirdly, IPODS AND GAMEBOYS ARE AWESOME, what is wrong with him?

    ipod
    Image by Oliver Lavery via Flickr
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    D.I.Y. Compliant Passport Photos

    Don’t ask me how much we’ve spent on wasted passport photos – I might cry. It’s definitely a downside to have multiple citizenships. This web site however looks very promising – it allows you to size and download free compliant passport photos (based on different countries requirements). The hardest part is taking a photo with a plain white back ground and no shadows, after that the rest is easy.

    epassportphotos

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