Help for lost cameras

The folks over at Jaunted posted a story yesterday about a friendly-looking family who dropped their camera at some point while on a trip to Maui. A good Samaritan found the camera and posted one of the pics on Reddit last week, along with a plea for help in locating the family so that their camera could be returned.

According to HalogenLife, in a prime example of the power of social media, the family was located and the camera is on its way to be reunited with its rightful owners.

That news in itself is pretty cool. But what I found even more interesting is that there are apparently several websites dedicated to helping people recover their lost cameras. On photos from orphan cameras are posted each Thursday. I haven’t lost a camera recently, but I think I may become addicted to scrolling through the pics looking for familiar faces. There’s got to be someone I know on the site, right?

Jaunted has a better, smarter solution for digital camera owners though. Write your name and contact information on a card and snap a picture of it. Lock it on your memory drive and internal memory and voila – electronic dog tags for your camera! If someone should find the camera and scroll through your photos, they can easily get in touch via the info you’ve provided. You know, if they aren’t just going to keep your camera for themselves.

Who works harder? Aussies or Americans? What does this mean for tourism?

In this article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Australians are touted as working the hardest out of people in the developed world.

Here are the statistics given to prove the point. In Australia:

  • Almost 60% of the people with full-time jobs don’t take all of their four-week vacation time.
  • Years of this practice have many people with 8 weeks of unused time.
  • Corporate men ages 35-49 with kids under 12 are the biggest culprits of this practice.

I find the statistics interesting since I don’t know many jobs in the U.S. where people have a starting vacation time of more than two weeks. Many begin a job with less than that. Many folks don’t even get a paid vacation. In order for people to have acquired eight weeks of unused time in the U.S., they would have had to have not taken ANY vacation for at least four years if they are the ones with the two-week time frame. In a Gadling post in 2007, Willy pointed out the U.S. statistics which don’t bode well for those looking for R&R on a beach somewhere.

However, given that if the Australian statistics are indeed correct, and who really cares anyway, the larger point that the article makes is important indeed. Unused vacation time means unspent tourist dollars. In today’s economy, tourism could be a big economic boost to many parts of both countries–Australia and the U.S.

In Australia, the not taken time equates to $31 billion in holiday pay. Yowza! Hoping to tap into the dough, Tourism Australia has a program called “No Leave, No Life,” in order to get the business community to buy into the idea of the importance of taking that vacation time.

I think the U.S. needs to tap into the idea of more vacation time, period. If people are given four weeks, they may take two at least.

As part of the campaign in Australia, and I’d bet the U.S., part of the TV and print ads need to address the issue of how important it is for dads to spend time with their children. AND show dads having fun doing it.

Anyone with kids who are bickering at home with each other and arguing about cleaning their rooms, or whining from the backseat, “How long before we get there?” may think that work is actually more relaxing than that family vacation.

Tips for Planning a Family Ski Vacation

Family ski vacation were a staple of my childhood, despite the fact that my parents didn’t particularly like to ski. Nonetheless, my brother and I terrorized the Rocky Mountains for many years — until Mom and Dad stopped footing the bill at least. Family ski vacations are a great way to bond, and a great way to get your kids (or yourself) active when it’s cold outside. They might not be super cheap, but they’re worth it, if you ask me.

We Just Got Back has some great resources for people looking to book a ski trip, and you should check it out sooner rather than later because prices just go up as the ski season nears closer. If you search around, chances are you can find a package deal that will include accommodation, ski lessons, lift passes and rentals for the whole family, but act fast.

Here are a few of my own tips for planning your ski vacation: Don’t go around the Christmas to New Years time — prices are sky-high then. Opt for a weekend in January or February, or if you can handle letting the kids miss a bit of school, go for a mid-week trip. Choose somewhere you can drive to (if possible) and consider staying in the nearest town, rather than on the hill. And try to find accommodation with a kitchenette so you can cook your own meals and pack lunches for your day on the hill — ski hill food is expensive and unhealthy.

Travel Trend: Taking the Kids on Business Trips

Due to the growing number of single parents and two-income families, coupled with the trend to have children later in life, it seems more and more business travelers working in time with their kids by taking the family along for the ride.

As you might suspect, the service and travel industries are getting in on the act, trying to capitalize on the new business. Conference planners are seeking out vacation-friendly destinations, and hotels are catering to families — not so much for vacationers, but to appear more attractive to convention organizers, who feel they can attract more participants by encouraging parents to bring their kids.

One hotel even partnered with Fisher Price to offer suites complete with a crib, baby swing, and CD full of lullabies.

Amid all the growing concern with Blackberry Parents (a term for parents whose kids feel less-important than their wireless device), and the tendency toward workaholic behavior in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, it’s nice to see business travelers finding a way to incorporate more family time into their work schedules.

Because before you know it, they won’t be kids anymore.