Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Clothes for Giorgia

Clothes for G

Orphanage Visit
Matching Hat

Coming Home Outfit

5 Pajamas (could be outfit too)

5 Outfits

7 Onsies
5 Pr. Socks
3 Vinyl Bibs
Comments welcome.
UPDATE: We stayed in GZ the whole time and for me, this was the perfect amount of clothing for my daughter.


I want to Thank EVERYONE that participated in my Packing List Challenge. It was super fun. I know many have left the group due to it's inactivity but I am going to continue to leave it up as I think there is some invaluable information on it. I actually went in and "tagged" everyones posts so that it makes viewing easier for visitors. On the right hand side you will notice a list of tags with the number of posts that correlate. Thanks Again!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Travel Clothes for ME

Okay, here is what I am packing for my clothes...

Beijing Outfit
Set of Long Underwear
Turtleneck Sweater (still in dryer)

Orphanage Outfit/Oath Outfit
Dress w/SweaterJacket

2 Misc outfits
2 Extra tops
1 Sweatsuit
10 pr. Undies
2 Bras & wearing one
1 Bathing Suit

2 sets of PJs

Plane Outfit (not shown)
Nice Grey Sweat suit
White top
Flight Socks
Fleece Coat (doubles as pillow)
Scarf (safety pinning on)
Glasses (Sun & Reading)
Candy Necklaces
Money Belt
Ticket holder thingy

Comments Welcome!!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Travel & Your Health

I just got my newest newsletter from Cool Travel Mail. There was a great article in it. There is some great info here...

The stress and excitement of travel can make you more likely to get sick, but if you follow a few simple tips, you're more likely to stay healthy throughout your trip
- and your trip will definitely be more enjoyable. The biggest tip...lack of sleep and a poor diet can make it easier for you to become sick.

The first thing you should do if you're heading overseas is to find out what kinds of vaccinations you'll need in advance because different countries have different re-quirements. In the United States, contact your doctor or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a list of necessary vaccinations. You'll want to allow plenty of time for this step in case you need to get vaccines that require more than one dose.

Common Travel Troubles

Three of the most common health problems that you may experience when traveling are jet lag, altitude sick-ness, and diarrhea. When you fly across time zones, the differing amounts of light can change your internal body clock, resulting in a condition known as jet lag. Jet lag may cause some symptoms that are bummers on a fun trip, including upset stomach, insomnia, and tiredness.

There are some things you can do to combat jet lag; for example, if you're traveling from west to east, you should stay out of the sun until the day after your arrival. If you're flying from east to west, go for a brisk walk as soon as possible after you arrive.

Altitude sickness is caused by dry air, a decrease in oxygen, and low barometric pressure when you travel to a higher altitude than you're used to. As a result,
you may have problems, such as headaches, dehydration, and shortness of breath. Some people are affected at 5,000 feet (1,524 meters), but others aren't affected until they reach altitudes of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) or more. Find out what altitude you're traveling to before you go to see if altitude sickness could be a problem.

The best prevention for altitude sickness is to gradually increase your altitude every day to get used to it. If that isn't possible, a drug known as acetazolamide
can help relieve and even prevent symptoms of altitude sickness. If you think that you might get altitude sickness, talk with your doctor before you leave home.

The topic of diarrhea may seem gross, but it can be a serious problem. Traveler's diarrhea, known as turista, often occurs when a foreign type of bacteria enters your digestive tract, usually when you eat contaminated food or water. The best way to prevent turista is to be very careful of the food you eat and the water you drink on
the road.

You Can Take It With You

When you're packing, you'll want to include any medications and other medical supplies you use on a daily basis because they may be hard to find in another country if you run out. Even if you can find them, there's a good chance the formulations will be stronger or weaker than the ones you're used to. These may include any prescriptions you already take, such as inhalers, allergy medication, and insulin, as well as contact lens cleaners and vitamins.

Packing an over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen and diarrhea medication is also a good idea. It's a good idea to pack some over-the-counter allergy medication even if you don't take it at home. People sometimes unexpectedly develop allergic reactions to the pollens and other allergens found in a new environment. Those with asthma or other allergies can unexpectedly react to these new substances.

Write It All Down

Even if you watch what you eat and drink and get enough rest while you're traveling, you may still get sick. The good news is that you'll probably be able to find
competent medical care. The key is knowing where to go. Most travel guides suggest you go to a hospital where English is spoken or U.S.-trained doctors can be found. For this reason, it's a good idea to always carry a written copy of your medical history with you.

Having such important information available in one place can help health care workers make appropriate decisions, and you won't have to worry about forgetting important information at a time when you're likely to be upset and not thinking clearly.

Before you leave your home sweet home, create a medical history form that includes the following information:

your name, address, and home phone number as well as a parent's daytime phone number

your blood type


your doctor's name, address, and office and emergency phone numbers

the name, address, and phone number of your health insurance carrier, including your policy number

a list of any ongoing health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, or AIDS

a list of current medications you are taking and pharmacy name and phone number

a list of allergies to medications, food, insects, and animals

a prescription for glasses or contact lenses

the name, address, and phone number of a relative other than your parent

It also helps if you have some basic emergency medical knowledge, not only for yourself but for helping others you may be traveling with. A great way to prepare for your trip is to take a first-aid or basic life support course before you go; if you're traveling with a group, you should know where the first-aid kit is and what's in it.

Basic Safety

It's easy to let your guard down when you travel. After all, you're more relaxed and there are so many new sights to focus on. In addition to paying attention to
your personal safety (avoiding secluded places and not walking alone after dark), you'll need to reset your thinking when it comes to traffic safety, too. The rules of the road aren't the same overseas as they are at home. In some countries, people drive on the opposite side of the road and you'll need to be aware of this before you cross the street - look in the opposite direction from the one you're used to. Pedestrians don't always have the right of way overseas, either. Be sure there are no cars coming when you step into the street: If there are, they may not stop for you!

If you practice these healthy hints you can focus on the scenery - not medical emergencies - and return home with nothing more troubling than some tacky souvenirs!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Travel Sizes

Do you have a Christmas Tree Shop near you? I walked into our Christmas Tree Shop and see that they've done some rearranging. They also added 5 walls of Travel Item stuff!!! Here are photos of 3 out of the 5 isles! I almost BUSTED my budget. There are so many good small travel items that we'll need for our trip to China. Check out the store nearest you!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Airline Baggage Fees

Airline Baggage Fees - Mandatory Now!
By Meritt

While I'm always keeping an eye on great sales and affordable travel, the recent change in baggage fee's makes a huge difference in the cost of your trip. We have a family of 5 and the extra fee now imposed for bringing any luggage with us can now up the cost of the trip by about a hundred dollars. The confusing thing is that all the airlines are different! There is no 'one' universal fee at this time and it's up to you to be on top of the changes the airline makes so you aren't surprised at check-in to see you now owe an additional $20-50 per person for luggage as well as $15-35 each for an aisle seat or bulk head seating. Everything is starting to cost 'extra' these days (prepare to pay $2 for a can of soda and $5 for a little snack pack as well) and if you haven't budgeted for these you might start out your trip on a bad foot!

I live in the Midwest and checked with my local airport to get the latest information they had on luggage fee's for our area. Here is an update that is recent as of August, 2008. If in doubt, please contact your airline directly about week before you travel to check for updates!!!!

Allegiant Air
CHECKED BAGGAGE FEE (EACH WAY): $15 per bag for two bags when
purchased at the time of booking; $25 per bag for two bags when purchased at
EXCEPTIONS: Wheelchairs, other mobility aids, and assistive devices used by
an individual with a disability.
BABY GEAR: One infant stroller and one infant or child safety seat will be
checked for each fare-paying passenger at no charge.
RECREATION EQUIPMENT: A golf bag, including clubs, balls, and shoes, can
be substituted for one of the checked bags for the $10 fee. Bicycles, when
properly crated in a bicycle carton, will be accepted as baggage for a charge of
$50 each. Check current fees:

American Airlines (American Eagle)
CHECKED BAGGAGE FEE (EACH WAY): $15 for the first checked bag and $25 for the second checked bag, on tickets purchased June 15 or later.
EXCEPTIONS: Wheelchairs and other assistive devices
BABY GEAR: Strollers and car seats don’t count as baggage items.
RECREATION EQUIPMENT: Golf clubs can be substituted for a check-in.
Bicycles less than 62-inches (linear measure) and under 50 pounds can be
substituted for a check-in. Otherwise they are $100. Check current fees:

CHECKED BAGGAGE FEE (EACH WAY): First bag free, second bag $50.
EXCEPTIONS: Assistive devices such as wheelchairs or crutches, provided
passenger is dependent on them. *** Note that you may not check baggage any
later than :30 prior to departure.
BABY GEAR: Stroller not counted as checked luggage if taken to gate.
RECREATION EQUIPMENT: One golf bag or bicycle in a box not exceeding 62
inches can be substituted for your free baggage allowance. Check current fees:
Continental Express
First bag free, second bag $25.
EXCEPTIONS: There is no charge for wheelchairs.
BABY GEAR: Car seats and strollers may be checked free
RECREATION EQUIPMENT: Continental Airlines will accept a standard-sized
bicycle or golf bag and clubs in lieu of one piece of free baggage.

Midwest Airlines
CHECKED BAGGAGE FEE (EACH WAY): First bag free, second bag $20 after June 16.
EXCEPTIONS: Wheelchairs and other assistive devices.
BABY GEAR: Stroller not counted as checked luggage if taken to gate.
RECREATION EQUIPMENT: Golf clubs can be transported without charge in lieu of the free checked bag. Bicycles are $80 each way.

Northwest Airlines
CHECKED BAGGAGE FEE (EACH WAY): First bag free, second bag $25. 3rd
bag is $100. Overweight bags: 51-70lbs. is $50 extra. NO BAGS OVER 70lbs.
EXCEPTIONS: Wheelchairs and other assistive devices and up to 10 pounds of
fruit from Hawaii or Florida are exempt.
BABY GEAR: There is no charge for car seats or strollers.
RECREATION EQUIPMENT: Golf clubs can be transported without charge in lieu of the free checked bag. Bicycles are $100 each way.
Check current fees:

United Airlines
CHECKED BAGGAGE FEE (EACH WAY): First bag $15, second bag $25. Starting August 18, 2008
EXCEPTIONS: An extra wheelchair may be checked and not be part of your checked bag allowance (or assessed a fee) if it is strictly for mobility purposes or is required to make a living. Other medical assistive devices are also exempt .
BABY GEAR: There is no charge for checking car seats and strollers.
RECREATION EQUIPMENT: Golf clubs can be transported without charge in lieu of the free checked bag. Bicycles are $100 each way. Check current fees:,6823,1031,00.htmlnavSource=Dropdown07&linkTitle=baggage
US Airways
CHECKED BAGGAGE FEE (EACH WAY): First bag $15 (except on tickets booked prior to July 9th), second bag $25.
EXCEPTIONS: Passengers checking personal assistive devices.
BABY GEAR: Stroller not counted as checked luggage if taken to gate.
RECREATION EQUIPMENT: Golf clubs can be transported without charge in lieu of the free checked bag. Bicycles are $100 each way. Check current fees:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Have you ever??

OMG this is the funniest thing ever. I just saw this post here about these "Brief Safes" and I completely cracked up!!!
The "Brief Safe" is an innovative diversion safe that can secure your cash, documents, and other small valuables from inquisitive eyes and thieving hands, both at home and when you're traveling. Items can be hidden right under their noses with these specially-designed briefs which contain a fly-accessed 4" x 10" secret compartment with Velcro closure and "special markings" on the lower rear portion. Leave the "Brief Safe" in plain view in your laundry basket or washing machine at home, or in your suitcase in a hotel room - even the most hardened burgler or most curious snoop will "skid" to a screeching halt as soon as they see them. (Wouldn't you?) Made in USA. One size. Color: white (and brown). You can buy them

To add realistic smell, check out "Doo Drops".

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hong Bao

I've been looking for some Hong Bao to use for cash gifts while in China. Do any of you know if one of the options shown below is a better choice than the others?

I want something that's appropriate for everyday use (i.e. not CNY specific). Otherwise, I could just pick up some regular envelopes that are red. I just don't want to offend anyone by using the wrong kind envelope!

Jennifer K

Friday, June 13, 2008

New Airline Fees, What's next!!!

I just read all this stuff online today about AIRLINE FEES!!

US Airways, United Airlines match American Airlines' $15 bag fee.

It's been reported that for US Airways the bag fee will be waived for frequent-flier passengers in Silver, Gold, Platinum and Chairman's Preferred programs, and first- and envoy-class passengers, as well as some other passengers, including military passengers and unaccompanied children.

US Airways to charge $2 for soda.

US Airways Inc. said Thursday that it will begin charging its coach passengers $2 for sodas and fruit juices on domestic flights, and raise the $5 charge for alcoholic drinks to $7.

In addition, US Airways and United Airlines Inc. both announced they're adopting the $15 charge for the first bag checked, following American Airlines Inc.'s May 21 lead

Many United Airlines customers buying tickets on or after June 13 will pay a
$15 fee to check their first bag, and $25 for second bags.

In early February, United started an industry movement for charging for the second checked bag, with many carriers, including American, matching its $25 fee.

USAir also announced other fee increases, including a $25 fee for domestic tickets bought by phone and $35 for international tickets. The previous charge was $15.

Expected are legacy carriers to follow the lead of discount carrier Spirit Airlines, which now charges extra for seat reservations — $5 for middle seats, $10 for window and aisle seats and $15 for exit-row seats. Other airlines also have begun charging for window or aisle seats.

A Chicago-based carrier also is increasing the fee to check three or more bags, overweight bags or items that require special handling to $125 from $100, or to $250 from $200, depending on the item.

United estimates the potential revenue from baggage handling service fees at about $275 million a year. It expects the new $15 service fee to apply to one in every three customers.

For some airlines...Travelers who use Dividend Miles travel awards to get tickets for flights will pay a processing fee:
$25 for domestic flights, $25 for tickets to Mexico and the Caribbean, and $50 for Hawaii and international flights

On Aug. 6, US Airways is eliminating its bonus-miles program for Preferred Status Dividend Miles customers, who currently get mileage bonuses based on their status level. Travelers after that will be credited one point for each mile flown, and no bonus points.

It might even come to this...
New fees could include charging passengers "by the pound," he said, as well as extra for seating selection, riding on a roomier plane, preferential treatment while boarding, cleaning the seat pockets, and a no-loss baggage guarantee, to name a few.

Below came from
USA Today.

New airline fees since January 1, 2008:

Air Canada: $25 each way for a second checked bag starting May 15.

AirTran: $10 each way for a second checked bag starting May 15.

American Airlines: $25 each way for a second checked bag starting May 12; $3 for snacks, $5 for "fresh light meals" on domestic flights (sandwiches or wraps, no vegetarian options); eliminated online booking bonus of 500 miles for round-trip first- or business-class tickets, and 250 miles for round-trip coach fares.

Continental: $25 each way for a second checked bag starting May 5.

Delta: $25 each way for a second checked bag starting May 5; airline provides complimentary snacks, but some snacks and meals cost an extra $1 to $8, depending on the item.

JetBlue: $10 for extra legroom, and $20 each way for a second checked bag starting June 1.

Northwest: $25 each way for a second checked bag starting May 5.

Spirit: $10 fee for checked luggage reserved online, and a $20 fee for luggage checked at the airport.

Southwest: $25 each way for a third checked bag, and $50 for the fourth through ninth bags.

United: $25 each way for a second checked bag; $5 for snack boxes, with sandwiches and salads available at varying prices; increased ticket change fee; Saturday night stays are now required for tickets in 65% of the markets it serves.

US Airways: $25 each way for a second checked bag; eliminated the 500-mile minimum mileage award granted for short-haul flights; will charge between $5 and $30 each way for aisle and window seats starting May 7, matching other carriers.

Virgin America: $25 each way for a second checked bag starting May 15.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Luggage Charge #2

I just got an email from Susan at and wanted to share with you all...

Well, I have been warning…

American Airlines announced this morning (according to the Associated Press) that they will begin to charge $15 for the first checked bag for domestic tickets purchased on or after June 15. They will continue to charge $25 for a second checked bag.

Some undiscounted tickets and high level frequent flyers are exempt from these charges, as are international travelers.

What this means for you:

Most likely there will be many more travelers who will carry on bags to avoid the added fee, which will swamp the Transportation Security Administration screening process and create much longer passing times at all security checkpoints. Once past security, aircraft have limited storage areas so this will overload the carry on bin capacity and produce major “bin rage” as competition accelerates for this space. Anticipate delays as more bags must be gate-checked.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s likely that other cash-strapped airlines will think this is a great idea and adopt this policy as soon as they possibly can?


From now on, it is essential to check with each airline that you intend to fly to learn what their checked and carry-on luggage policy is for the date you plan to travel. Be prepared for this to change and check before each flight.

Before you travel, make the decision to pay the fee and avoid the carry-on hassles, or learn to pack light into the smallest carry-on bag possible for the trip with only the 3-1-1 bag for lotions and potions. For help with packing less, go to for traveling light ideas.

Simply booking away from American Airlines may work for a few days but when the other airlines jump on this new-fee bandwagon that advantage will disappear. Note to self: it is becoming more costly to fly. Perhaps the direct ticket cost will not increase, but now we must carefully add up the fees as well.

Many thanks to Joe Brancatelli of for alerting me early today.

Pack smart and travel easy!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stephe's Care Package

Okay, I'm almost done!
Lime Green Froggie for Giorgi,
Lime Green Blanket,
1 pair socks,
Bunch of Misc Candy
Who Loves Baby Album
Working on getting the photos
2 Cameras
Orphanage Question
I'll update this when I get the rest. I'm finished next month's challege (SWI gifts so I'll continue to work on this one!!!)

SWI gifts

Here are the Nanny gift that I purchased. I have some other stuff. Must take a photo of

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Care Package


Be sure to ask the staff/nannies to bring any mementos that were on your child the day of her find. One family was told that because they asked before hand; they brought the clothes and bottle that were found on the child the day of her abandonment. Priceless.


Socks and Jammies
Soft-bodied Doll that can be thrown into the washing machine
Small Photo Album - referral photo on outside, photos of us, home, her room
Small, Plastic Toy - such as stacking cups
Blanket - a soft fleece (one of those crib size ones) Some wash it and sleep with it a few nights so that their daughter would become familiar with their "scent".
Some bring duplicates of the items, just in case.


Make sure you put the baby’s picture & name on camera. *Copy your daughter's Chinese name several times then cut and taped it to her camera, along with a few tiny photos of her, just to ensure the SWI workers knew whose camera it was.


Put family photos including hers in a "Who Loves Baby" album. One family sent a set of plastic rings with laminated photos of them & extended family with the hopes that maybe she'll get used to our faces. If you can label the photos in Chinese that would be great too. Below is a site you can use to print simple phrase/words to use in labeling your camera, album (if choose to do this), etc. There are others. Just print, cut out the Chinese characters and tape them on your items (

Sent some small candies to the Nannies. Good choice are Hershey's and M&M's since these are well known American Chocolates. *assortment of Revlon lipsticks, chapsticks, hand lotions, scented soaps, bath gels, tea bags (imported British teas) and hard candies. *For the orphanage director, maybe a men's wallet with a note thanking him for the care that my daughter was receiving and telling him the other gifts were for the nannies. sent chocolates and lotions and a framed picture of our daughter for the foster mom.


Declare $0 it is a gift. DO NOT to send packages certified or registered Do not list a camera in the contents. *I would suggest sending translated questions of your child in one of packagesUSPS air mail 3.5 lbs cost $26 You can go to Blessed Kids and print off the address for the orphanage in Chinese characters. *…had very good luck with sending packages to China just using the US postal services Global Express. One thing you can do is have the orphanage write you out a label in Chinese and send it to me via email, then just print it out every time you need it so your boxes have both English and Chinese labels on them! Also make sure that you write clearly on the box "donation/gift" so that the orphanage is not taxed on the items in the far, no problems there! Only send a shoebox size package to the orphanage to avoid any hassles for the orphanage in claiming the package. Sending a care package of this size costs about $30 to ship * mail it "global". Again, list contents and value enter $0. This way, the Orphanage does not have to pay anything at their end. Also, they will accept your package! mark the package as gift/charitable donation and check off the box for 'return to sender'


*You can find the address, written in Chinese and English, on the Yahoo group for your orphanage. You can also go to Blessed Kids and printed off the address for the orphanage in Chinese characters.

Gifts to SWI's

Gifts are tokens of appreciation and it’s largely ceremonial. The gift itself is quite secondary to the act of giving. Don’t a make the gifts too extravagant, you don’t want it to look like a bribe. Look for gift’s that are NOT “Made in China” and nothing Political or Religious.
I read this somewhere and I thought it was interesting info on gift giving.

"...I wanted to share something I learned from our guide that I'd never read here before. She said that every time she goes to an orphanage the nanny’s pull her aside and show her a large pile of gifts that they don't know what to do with. She said usually these are lotions and they want her to translate the bottles for them.

Because they can't read the English on the bottle, they don't know what to do with them. Makes sense! If someone handed us a bottle of something white or pink and creamy and it was all written in Chinese we wouldn't know if it was body lotion or face lotion or soap for the shower. She had us all give her our gifts and she separated them into bags and labeled them so the nanny’s would know what they were.

She said the three most-appreciated gifts are: chocolate, cigarettes and perfume..."
another AP said...

"We put a note on each gift bag, with our name, our child's Chinese name and referral picture and "Thank You" in Mandarin on each bag so that they knew who it was from. We found that they (orphanage workers) seemed to like cosmetics and nice body lotions (enough small samples for 10-12 people)-they did not seem to like cigarettes as a gift and chocolate melted (we travel in the summer and it was hot and humid). All our gifts went to the orphanage workers, we gave no gifts to "officials" and were told not to."

I also read this too...

"The only thing I would caution about up front is, don't give or buy cheap items (I've been told that some people give samples of AVON lipsticks, or the free giveaways of perfume from department stores as gifts... which shows a disregard for the SWI directors and caregivers... they have taken care of your child for the last "X" number of months/years - and now is the time to actually show your appreciation of their care. Items they would appreciate:

American Ginseng
Cd's of current popular (hip hop, popular, country, or classical)
NICE cosmetics chapstick, lipstick, nailpolish, makeup,
DO NOT give samples or cheap cosmetics.
College logo (t-shirts, nice ink pens & refills, good stationery, etc.)
Hometown items
Nice soaps and fragrant lotions. The Chinese Love fragrance...
Nice perfume/cologne.
Very nice costume jewelry, such as Trifari, Monet, Napier, etc.
Nice Chocolates or Candy

Some DON'T's are:
NO sample sizes - considered to be insulting.
NO green hat to a man - signifies his wife is having an affair.
NO clocks or watches - represents death
NO candles - signifies a wish that their home will burn down.
NO gift that is white or black in color. These colors have negative connotations (such as white is the color worn at funerals)."
Cut Flowers

Some people that you want to consider giving gifts to:
Orphanage Director
Person in Charge of Children’s section
Adoption Logistics person
Adoption Registration Official
Chinese Notary
NO gifts needed for American Consulate Officials

-:¦:- Stephe -:¦:-

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hope's SWI Care Package

Finally I am getting these photos posted. Here is what I sent:

2 Teddy Bears

A little blanket that matches her bedding (for familiarity). Hoping we'll get that back, but it is not the end of the world if we don't

Disposable Camera

3 little bottles of maples syrup from C. Barrel

Jelly Bellys
Candied Pecans
Nail Polishs

Lip Sticks

Hand Lotions

Little photo album of me & Scott and our families

A package of receiving blankets

A little teething toy

We were told that our Orphanage ALWAYS returns the disposable cameras. I sure hope they do. I also taped Izabella's photo on all the items that were for her and nothing on the others. I also included a list of questions that Susan shared with me. Here are my pictures...

I stuffed it in a USPS Priority Flat Rate Box and it cost me about $37.00. I mailed it on a Friday and it arrived by Wednesday. Totally Worth it because I packed it full!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Car Seat Installation

How to Install a Child Safety Seat That Won’t Budge
found this here and thought it was a great post!
(I meant to post this on my Giorgia Danette Blog but accidentally posted her...hey, it's travel related so I guess I'll leave it!)

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of experience putting child safety seats of one kind or another into our cars. Remember, if you can move the seat more than an inch side to side or toward the front of the car, it’s not tight enough. After struggling to get our seats secured countless times, I stumbled onto a simple trick that lets you get your car seat buckled in tight. Every time. And with minimal effort. Here’s how you do it…

Before we get started, I should say that we always secure our seats with the seat belt, not the LATCH system. I’m not saying that you should necessarily do it this way, just sharing how we do it.

Step 1: Place the child safety seat in the car and feed the seat belt through it.

Step 2: Attach the metal locking clip (below) that came with the safety seat to the car’s seat belt just a bit short of where you think it needs to go in order to succefully buckle the seat belt.

Step 3: Recline the seat (the car seat, not the child safety seat).

Step 4: Tilt the child safety seat back and apply a bit of pressure to it while you buckle the seat belt.

Step 5: Bring the car seat back upright. If you guesstimated properly in Step 2, your child safety seat will now be rock solid. If not, then go back to Step 2 and repeat. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to install your seat in a flash.

Note that the usual approach of sitting or kneeling in/on the safety seat while trying to simultaneously buckle the seat belt can work. However, it’s a pain in the butt, and I’ve never been able to get the seat as tight as I can doing as outlined above.

Don’t believe me? Just try it. It’s works like a charm.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mailing Care Packages

Hope just mailed her new little girl her Care Package through USPS. She used Priority International Flat Rate box and paid $37. (Hope is located on the east coast of the US and the package went to China) So, you know me, I had to go look up all the info. Here is what I found!

Also some great links below:

International Postage Price Calculator

New Flat Rate Boxes

Prices for the Flat Rate Boxes

This sounds like a really great deal. Thanks Hope!
-:¦:- Stephe -:¦:-

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Evelyn's Baby Med Packing List

Here's my list for Baby Meds Challenge:

What I Have:
Purell Hand Sanitizer
Butt Paste
Baby Vapor Rub
Baby Tylenol
Liquilytes Instant Mix
Water Babies Sunscreen
Mini Travel First Aid Kit (bandages different sizes)
Alcohol Swab wipes
Health Care Travel Kit (Thermometer, Nasal Aspirator, Med Dropper,
Nail Clipper, Med Spoon, travel case)
Rice Cereal (read somewhere good for rehydration)
Off Insect Repellent Wipes (family formula low deet)
Neosporin to Go individual packets
Benadryl Individual Packets( not sure I'll need these for baby)
Cotton Swabs
Clorax Wipes
Antibacterial Wipes

To purchase still:
Humphrey's #3 Teething Pellets
Little noses saline spray

As for prescription meds, I'm going to wait and possibly get Amoxicillan (unconstitued), and prescription eye drops. I may skip the prescription meds altogether, and let a local doctor prescribe any meds if baby is sick. I also here you can get free meds left at Jennifer' Place in Guanghzou.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Melissa's Baby Meds

Here is what I have so far:
Aquphor, orajel, Balmax, antibiotic ointment, Benadryl, Bulb aspirator, thermometer, band - aids and cleaning wipes, small scissors, Aveeno hydrocortizone cream, Tylenol, Moltrin, bug repellent, prunes, vicks rub, medicine syringe, and cool compress.

I need to buy:sunblock, lotrimin, ceralyte, mylicon drops, and prescription meds. For prescriptions I plan on taking an antibiotic, erythromycin for eye infections,and permethrin cream for scabies.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Jennifer K's baby meds

I can't remember if we were doing just baby meds this month or if it also included adult meds/toiletries. I only did the baby meds, so adult stuff will probably be next up for me.

Here's what I have so far (shown above):

  • Aquaphor for eczema
  • Little Noses saline drops
  • Neosporin antibiotic ointment for cuts/scratches
  • Benadryl
  • Bulb aspirator
  • A&D ointment
  • Digital rectal thermometer
  • KY jelly
  • Adhesive bandages
  • First aid tape
  • Gauze
  • Alcohol wipes (not shown - I had included these with a previous challenge)
  • Aveeno hydrocortizone cream for eczema or itching due to scabies
  • T-gel shampooo for cradle cap -- do I need this?
  • Baby Tylenol
  • Baby Motrin
  • L'Occitane lavender wipes (repel bugs - not shown, think I included with the backpack challenge)

Still needed:

  • Echinacea
  • Pediatric electrolyte powder
  • Baby sunscreen
  • Small scissors

I also talked to our pediatrician about prescriptions and have decided to bring just Elimite, which we'll get closer to travel.

It feels really good to be getting some of this stuff done in advance. I'm starting to feel a little overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done ... and we don't even have our referral yet!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Luggage Charge

Luggage Charge Effective Monday for Most Airlines If you have a flight out Monday, May 5, and want to check two bags, be prepared to pay $25 for that second checked bag. Most airlines are implementing the new charges: United, US Airways, Delta, Northwest, Continental, Air Canada. American will begin charging $25 for the second checked bag on May 12. AirTran will charge $10 for the second checked bag beginning Thursday, May 15."
-:¦:- Stephe -:¦:-

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shelly's SWI & Orphanage Gifts

Our agency suggested bringing 10-12 small gifts and to plan for a couple extra for unexpected people whom we would want to express gratitude toward. The gifts above were purchased for the orphanage director, notarial officers, coordinators, interpreters, and orphanage nannies. We decided on buying multiples and then grouping the gifts as we wrap them while we are in China. We are going to take the set of gift bags and tissue paper (which came pre-sorted to match perfectly) that we purchased at Target to wrap the gifts in China. Here is what we purchased to give:

  • 4 Old Navy winter scarves
  • 2 Old Navy suit-coat hand-beaded scarves
  • 4 deodorants (made in USA) - may add 2 more for men
  • 2 men's shaving gels (made in USA)
  • 6 lip glosses (American Girl - made in OH)
  • 7 decorative soaps, handmade in CA, USA - 2 are blue for men
  • 2 necklaces made in Italy - Thailand
  • 2 pairs of earrings - USA and France
  • 6 Jelly Belly bags of candy
  • 12 gift bag set
  • tissue paper set
  • 3 additional smaller gift bags

Above, is a photograph of some of the wonderful handmade soaps we purchased. They were made in California, are wonderfully scented, and we thought very pretty. Also, very practical. We found them at Von Maur at our local shopping mall.

We found these lip glosses at Bath & Body Works - they were made in OH, USA and have a little "American" flair. Plus, we thought they were soft colors, very wearable, and smell good too! Can't forget to mention easy to pack - and saving space!

Our agency recommends that each family plan on giving a gift to their child's orphanage as well. Some ideas they gave us:

  • baby bath products
  • diapers
  • crib sheets and blankets
  • sleepers
  • crib toys, sport toys
  • school supplies

They advised us that many families choose to purchase these gifts while in China instead of packing them, but we had already been collecting sleepers for our gift before we received that information. So we have several Carter's sleepers sizes NB - 3 months. We are planning on bringing these with us - if they fit in the luggage. If not, we will purchase what is needed in China. If they do fit, then we can use that extra space on the way home for lots of wonderful souvenirs.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Melissa's Gifts

I decided to go with hand creams, deodorant, small bags of Dunkin Donut coffee and potpourri pouches. My only regret is that they are all a little bulky BUT we will pro bally travel in summer so I think we may have a little extra space. I will but red bags and tissue paper and then assemble the gift bags when we are in China. I will combine things and give people 2 or 3 things in each bag. When we find out where Lily is then we will buy an appropriate gift for the orphanage director or foster family. I am glad this challenge is behind me!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


(that I thought would be helpful for our trip)
* Fewer bubbles

Less is more when using soap for sink washing. Fewer suds requires less rinsing.

Spot clean areas with a travel-sized stain remover instead of soaping the whole garment.

* Stain stick

If you don't plan to wash your clothes until your trip is over, carry along a stain pretreatment stick. Taking the time to use it on stains before they set ensures that they will wash out when you get home.

* Boxers, not briefs

Wear nylon or silk under garments - avoid 100-percent cotton because it takes longer to dry.

* Drain Plugs

Pack a flat drain plug; the one-size-fits-all kind that lays over the drain without having to be inserted. The plug allows you to convert any sink into a laundry sink.

Here are some tips for dealing with dirty clothing on the road:

* Bring baggies

I'm talking about plastic storage bags. The kind that are bigger than a sandwich bag, but way smaller than a kitchen garbage bag. And make sure you get the kind that zip shut.

This is for laundry that hasn't dried thoroughly, damp face cloths, wrung-out-but-wet bathing suits and other damp stuff that shouldn't get mixed in with the rest of the week's wardrobe. You're not just worried about getting dry clothes wet; mold and mildew grow rapidly in humid climates and can turn your suitcase into a giant, stinky petrie dish.

* Dirty duffel

Bring a lightweight, nylon duffel bag for your laundry. As your clothes get dirty, move them out of your suitcase and replace them with souvenirs. You'll end up with an extra bag to check for the return home, but you won't have to juggle an armload of shopping bags filled with fragile things. Plus, you get your smelly clothes far away from your fresh shirts and pants.

This is an outline of this great post that I came across. The original post came from TRAVEL TIPS at Go check them out for other cool stuff.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ella's care package!!

I know I am late ~ sorry!! Things have been crazy!!
I sent Ella's care package yesterday ~ yipee!! I was almost in tears at the post office it was so emotional!
Our care package was just over 3 kg ~ it was in one of those photo boxes from Michael's. We included a soft doll, a blanket, a taggie blanket (that we had slept with), 3 prs of socks, photo album (Sassy album with our pictures in it) a disposable camera, questions for the orphanage and some candies for the nannies. And we put her picture on the outside of the album, camera and bag for the taggie.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Abby Grace's Care Package

Better late than never! Here is the first care package that we will be sending to Abby Grace. I plan on sending it out tomorrow. Then another one in two weeks. I put the blanket in a ziploc bag b/c I read somewhere that it would help to keep our scent on it.

Winnie the Pooh blanket
Winnie the Pooh rattle
Winnie the Pooh socks
Starburst jelly beans for nannies
Photo album (even though most told us it won't do any good since she's so young)
I included the translated letter that our agency provided, as well as a list of questions for her caretakers.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Buy Paper Underwear in China

Okay, it's official...I'VE SEEN IT ALL NOW!!!!!
"Don't laugh. Both women's and men's paper underwear are easy to buy in China in many supermarkets. It may seem strange for a man to wear but they were comfortable, take little luggage space and are also a time saver. No need to wash/dry or find a laundry, just through them out after one use. The ones that say cotton are better. They come is all sizes such as S, M, L, XL, XXL. No, I will not model them for VT. :) Update for my China 2007 trip. I wrote this tip last year and got them without a problem. I found it harder to find them this year both in Beijing and Shanghai. But I was able to get some and took all of the XL size the store had. You need to go to the feminine/disposable baby diaper section of the store and not the men's underwear section. I also found the XL size was very hard to find. The "Large" size is just too small for me to fit everything propriety. :) Please rate this and my other tips when you find them interesting, useful or you like the pictures. "
Click here for a photo.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Karen's Care Package

Here are the items for Kaelie's care package:

I've included the following items in the package:
1 blanket
1 lovey
2 disposable Kodak cameras
1 family scrapbook (I will put this together at the Scrapping Pandas weekend)
Baby Questions Book (not shown)

For the nannies:
6 bags of Jelly Belly's
6 nail polishes (thanks for the idea, Susan R.!)

For the other children:

Infant and toddler socks (not shown)

I already have a box to pack everything in. I am almost finished with the orphanage letter and have it saved in Word...when we get our referral I will print it out. I plan on using Blessed Kids to translate the letter and mail the package to Kaelie's orphanage.
Panda hugs,

Evelyn's Care Package

Here's my care package for Meili. These are the items:

Warm Ladybug Blankie
Teether Stuffed toy
2 Pairs socks
2 Lace burp cloths-for the newborns
Nuk Pacifier-for the newborns

Will add later:
Candies for nannie, if I buy them now, I'll eat them :) LOL.
Who Loves Baby Photo Album
Translated Camera Instructions

For packing I used this cardboard photo box holder. I will probably place into another more sturdy box. But it's the closest I found to the size of a shoe box.

I'll be going out to find this at our local Babies R US today. And plan to add photos of us, the house, her room, and of course her big brother!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Melissa D. Package

I am not done yet but I wanted to post it before we moved onto the next challenge. I have 2 cameras, photo album, taggie and a stuffed frog for Lily. I have a teether, blanket and socks for the other children. I still need Jelly Bellies and choclates for the nannies. I ordered the "book" of questions and I need to write my letter. I have a box but I think it is to small, so I will need to find a larger box. My plan is to use Bleesed Kids to translate my letters and I will also send my pacakge to them and they will deliver it for me. I have a taggie blanket and a frog for home so if we don't get those back it will be OK. Thanks for everyone's ideas, this was so fun!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jennifer K's Care Package

Here's (most of) our care package:Pictured are:
camera 2-pack
baby's family photo album (referral photo will go in the window on the front)
labels for photos (they are ready, but not stuck in yet because we are missing a couple of photos)
2 bags of Jelly Bellys
4 small boxes of Frango chocolates
"taggie" blanket that I bought on Etsy (sooo cute!)
fleece blanket that we got from one of our secret pals
a bunny lovey
two sleepers (on sale for $10 at Gymboree!)
4 pairs of baby socks

Missing from photo:
letter to orphanage director (not finished)
baby questions book (not here yet)

I've bought three boxes so far - one of them seems a little smaller than a shoe box and the other two seem bigger. I think I want something around 14x9x6 , but so far haven't found one that size. Anyway, what this really means is that I haven't done a test pack yet and don't know how much of this won't fit. If there is a space problem, I'll pull out the fleece blanket and the "taggie" blanket.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bib Clips

These look great and looks like they might save lots of money in the long run! No more spending money on bibs and disposable bibs! Find them here at Kipiis!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sophia's care Package

OK so I have been obsessed with this challenge. I think I have everything and probably more then what I need/want to send to Sophia's orphanage once we know where she is.

The first picture is an over view of everything including the box.
The overview

The second is a picture of just the things I am sending for Sophia
A soft Blanket, a teething toy, a soft doll, and a photo album with pictures of me and Riz , my mom, in-laws, and her nursery. There is a spot on the front of the album for her picture.

The Third is the things I am send for the other children in the orphanage..

2 sleepers, 2 packages of socks, a package of linking rings, a teething toy, a set of play keys, and 3 small rattles.

The fourth are the things I want to send to the nannies. I will buy something appropriate for the director once we know if it is a male or female.

1 package of hard candy,1 bag of, Hershey Kisses, 1 package of Peppermint Patties, 1 bag of Ghirardelli chocolates, 5 lipsticks and 5 nail polish
The camera X2

2 disposable cameras

The last is the letter I am sending. I will also be sending the list of questions that Jennifer put on the group...

So now my challenge is to get it all in the box... LOL...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cool Travel Gadgets

I found some really cool travel gadgets pn this blog. Go to it to read the full post. Click on the Links below to see the gadget!
RoboForm2Go - a handy USB drive loaded up with all my passwords for every site that I log into, protected behind one master password. Any Internet cafe, I’m surfing just like I would at home, without leaving cookies behind.

Packing Cubes - I’m going to be on a boat for about a week of the trip, in a cabin that will not exactly be sprawling. These will help me find my socks and underwear.

Whoomp Earbuds - Sure, those Bose noise-canceling headphones are nice, but they’re the size of a football helmet. I just stick these puppies over my iPod earbuds and suddenly everything sounds fantastic.

Monster Outlet to Go - I will be generating lots of good karma in places where electrical outlets are scarce.

Orbit MP3 Speaker - Yeah, this is kind of extravagant for someone packing light, but I’m going to be in a cabin on a boat, so it’ll get a lot of use. (And is not very big, after all.)

-:¦:- Stephe -:¦:-

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Cost of Luggage

"You’ve probably already heard the news that United plans to start charging the majority of its customers $25 for the second piece of checked luggage on domestic U.S. and Canadian flights. You can check out their new policy here. This comes as no surprise to airline insiders and follows the “successfully introduced” industry-wide reduction of individual suitcase weights to 50 lbs/23 kg from 70 lbs/32 kg. While many issues surely factor into this move (increased handling due to security concerns, lost/misplaced luggage rates, corner-cutting on staffing), airlines cite the rise in fuel costs for the need to start charging you more. It is estimated that this change will save/earn United over $100 million per year. "

"When it directly impacts your pocketbook, are you more conscious of how much you pack? The idea behind these additional fees is largely a textbook lesson in rational economic decision-making. Nevertheless, these two airlines with their completely different business models also have radically different reasons why they’re charging you for the handling of your suitcase. "

"United is banking less on deterring passengers from carrying a second suitcase (which it will undoubtedly do for some fliers, resulting in airline savings for luggage handling costs, fuel costs and improved lost/misplaced luggage rates) and more on the continued heavy packing habits of many Americans, earning an extra $50 for each round-trip purchased by 1 in 4 vacationers. For those who absolutely must have that second bag (heading to college, moving in general, Christmas gifts, whatever), a $25 fee is still likely to be cheaper than the shipping costs for a 50 lb suitcase."

This info came from

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


This was a great post from an AP on one of my other yahoo groups. With her permission, I am posting to share with all of you. Thanks Jennifer!!

"Hello Thought I would throw a post out there since it has been pretty quiet. Since our first adoption back in 2003 our family, of 3 soon to be 4, has become avid travelers and CCO'ers. (We had our Luggage lost in Germany once and it was a painful experience.) I have tried Compression bags from EMS, rolling clothing, Packmates, Cubes and everything else I could find to fit our travel needs. This is what I have settled on- Food Saver Bags and Packmates. This is our process – Everyone picks out 3 Full outfits and 2 extra tops, depending on what our destination is. I create paper labels specifying the outfit and who it is for. I then place in the one outfit and a tag in a Food Bag, lock it in the vacuum machine, place a heavy book on top of the bag and the air is sucked out. I end up with a brick the size of an encyclopedia, flat on both sides. (The really stack in the suitcase nice). Then I use some Duck tape to fold down the ends. Note: the duck tape can be reused on your trip for emergencies! Then we do the washing, in our room, and jelling rolling to speed up the drying process. By the end of the trip we decide what articles of clothing will not go home with us to make room for the treasures we purchased at our destination. The cloths that come back are placed in the empty Packmates, we brought along, and toted home.

This may not be for everyone but it has gotten us through 4 countries and a half a dozen trips to Disney World and Disneyland. We plan to use it for China

Jennifer Moyher
LID 9/05

Food Saver bags – it is a machine that comes with bags that you can suck the air out of. It is really made for food but I only use mine for Pre-Travel packing. You can find them in Wal-Mart , Target or other retailers in the houses wares area by the crock pots and toasters. The reason I like this is because I get a uniform end result, it gets all of the air out and the seal lasts. I also like packmates but they can be lumpy and do not pack as well, in my opinion only. We do use pack mates for the trip back home since the Food bags are only good for one way. Once you break the seal they are done until you get home and use them again for packing extra socks and such. As for Heavy- weather you use the Food Bags or Pack mates it does not change the weight of your items. It only makes it condensed. I like to pull the scale out from its hiding place and weigh my stuff. If it is over the limit in one then I redistribute to the other. I would recommend you trying a Space Saver bag for your next trip and see how you like it before you buy more. Please remember that packing can be a very personal thing. You do what makes you comfortable.

All of my clothing go in the Food Bags, Liquids went in a the regulation zip lock baggie, and the non liquid pills I placed in my med bag next to my clothing, it is not a food bag or anything fancy just the bottle it came in. For as much as I have traveled I have not had one issue with meds. I normaly take asprin and the cold strips but not much more than that for dry meds.
Jennifer Moyher

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bad News

To all travelers: Put all your valuables in your carry-on. Nothing is safe anymore!! You think your luggage is safe with fancy locks ?? WRONG!! This is going to make you nervous every time it's out of your sight and you won't even know if it's been opened until you look inside to see if anything is missing. So much for luggage locks....

Watch the video.

-:¦:- Stephe -:¦:-

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Regs on Batteries

"On January 1, new TSA regulations went into effect regarding spare lithium batteries. The short version: lithium batteries MUST be carried on; if spares are not in their original packaging, they must be isolated from metal objects and other batteries (easiest option: pack each individually in a plastic bag). Check out further information here and here."

Effective January 1, 2008, the following rules apply to the spare lithium batteries you carry with you in case the battery in a device runs low:

Spare batteries are the batteries you carry separately from the devices they power. When batteries are installed in a device, they are not considered spare batteries.

You may not pack a spare lithium battery in your checked baggage

You may bring spare lithium batteries with you in carry-on baggage – see our spare battery tips and how-to sections to find out how to pack spare batteries safely!

Even though we recommend carrying your devices with you in carry-on baggage as well, if you must bring one in checked baggage, you may check it with the batteries installed.

The following quantity limits apply to both your spare and installed batteries. The limits are expressed in grams of “equivalent lithium content.” 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours:

Under the new rules, you can bring batteries with up to 8-gram equivalent lithium content. All lithium ion batteries in cell phones are below 8 gram equivalent lithium content. Nearly all laptop computers also are below this quantity threshold.

You can also bring up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold. Examples of two types of lithium ion batteries with equivalent lithium content over 8 grams but below 25 are shown below.

For a lithium metal battery, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the limit on lithium content is 2 grams of lithium metal per battery.

Almost all consumer-type lithium metal batteries are below 2 grams of lithium metal. But if you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!

Examples of extended-life rechargeable lithium batteries (more than 8 but not more than 25 grams of equivalent lithium content):

-:¦:- Stephe -:¦:-

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Help Speed Up Airport Security

Another cool post I found here. Here is the summary to it...

Help Speed Up Airport Security

1. Strip yourself of all offending bits of metal BEFORE going to the airport.
2. WEAR loafers.
3. Carry your laptop OUTSIDE your bag.
4. Put your keys, loose change, pens, eyeglass cases, watch, cell phone and belt IN your carry-on. (My tip: put them all in a clear plastic baggie like your toiletries.)

DO keep your boarding pass in hand.

DON’T tell a screener that you are about to miss your flight (it won’t win you any sympathy and could even arouse suspicion).

DON’T try to jam everything into one bin in a misguided effort to be helpful—it’s much harder to screen.

DO lay your bag on its side (the upright position is much harder to “read” and may trigger a rescreening).

DO put items through the X-ray machine only when you are ready to walk through the metal detector. This minimizes the time you’re separated from your belongings.

DON’T block traffic by repacking your belongings on the conveyor belt.

DO make sure that you have all items before you leave the checkpoint.

DON’T accuse screeners of theft: Once you’re certain an item is missing, speak to a supervisor.

Clothing and Accessories

DON’T wear clothing with metallic objects such as buckles.

DON’T wear lots of jewelry or hairpins that can’t be easily removed.

DO wear easily removable shoes.


DO take the plastic bag holding liquids out of your carry-on before putting it through the X-ray machine. (remember the 3-3-1 rule)

DON’T say you “forgot” you have liquids in your bag.

DON’T tell screeners “it only comes in this size” or “it’s almost empty” when asked to surrender containers of liquid larger than three ounces.

DON’T tell them how much you spent on the toiletries—it won’t make any difference if they’re the wrong size.

Just a bit more

Know before you go: it’s YOUR responsibility to know the rules and typical procedures before you fly.

Avoid heels, boots, zippers, buckles, metal studs, underwire.

If you want to dress up in such things, fine — keep those clothes in your suitcase and change AFTER going through security.

If seemingly mundane clothing or shoes set off alarms, make a mental note and avoid wearing them on future travels.

+ Don’t forget to go through your purse for “liquids” like lipstick, lip balm or hand lotion.

Have suspicious things near the top of your bag or take them out completely and put them directly in the bin to allow immediate visual inspection (things TSA has regularly found suspicious in my bags include a pack of 4-AA batteries, my travel alarm clock, my travel mirror, my laptop lock, my empty water bottle, my thermos).

Do as many of these things as possible BEFORE entering the security line; if you’ve forgotten, do them while IN line rather than waiting till you’re at the front; always take off shoes and coats and have laptop ready 2-3 people before your turn.

After your screening, thank the security employees and wish them a nice day.

And thank this persons blog post...It was great.

20 Travel Gifts Under $20

This is bits of a blog post I found here.
Your local dollar store, whatever it’s called in your location, is likely to have a couple things every traveler would appreciate. Look out for the following: sink stopper plugs, refillable travel-sized bottles (make sure they’re under 3.4 oz/100ml though in order to be carry-onable), safety pins, travel sewing kits, mini flashlight, retractable headphones, snack-size zip-top bags, velcro cable straps, plastic cable ties (for locking zippers), luggage straps, etc. The dollar store is a great place to start your shopping.

TSA locks are a travel must-have. I prefer the combi locks (pictured at right) to keyed (so as not to worry about having/losing keys). Radio Shack offers a set of two TSA combi locks for $4.

For a few bucks, you can head to your local art shop or bookstore and purchase a lined blank book to be used as a travel journal. Supplement with a nice pen and some scotch tape or photo corners for adding mementos along the way.

Nalgene water bottles start at $4.50 direct from the manufacturer, with free shipping. I picked up a similar unbreakable water bottle at Target for $1 a few years ago (they’re in the camping section).

MP3 players with USB flash drive functionality have drastically come down in price, and I can’t imagine traveling without mine. I found one here for $8, another for $11. You can probably find similar deals in electronics stores near your home.

Lands’ End’s travel section features two useful gifts under $10. First is a Security Travel Belt for $9.50 (I found one at Walgreen's for $3.99 and it's can be adjusted to a larger waist if needed). I’m not a money belt/pouch wearer myself, but many of my friends and family are. Second is an $8 Passport Holder, which is essential for protecting your documents from rain, butt sweat and the rough and tumble in your backpack or handbag.

For $11 at Overstock, I found this 1/2 L Stainless Steel Thermos. You may be able to find a cheaper one at a store like TJ Maxx and IKEA has a relatively cheap one too (but not online, unfortunately).

A Swiss Army Knife is always practical and useful on the road. The Bantam at $14.50 is the most stripped down version I’ve ever seen, but has the essentials for a traveler: knife blade and bottle/can opener. There’s also a screwdriver and wire stripper designed into the bottle/can opener, for your more MacGyver moments on the road . . .

For $17, USB Geek offers a pretty amazing looking universal plug adapter. (Remember, this makes it possible to plug in your electronic item but does not change current. If your appliance doesn’t run on dual current, you will also need a power converter.)

Starting at $20, LLBean offers travel toiletry kits. It’s not a romantic or exciting gift, but as a visiting friend said this weekend, “This is the most useful gift I’ve ever gotten.” I have to agree; I got mine years ago from a boyfriend, and while he’s no longer in the picture, I use the toiletry kit 20+ times per year. I think we both have the medium size.
Full blog post found here.