20 Tips Tips you send in. This month: solo travel tips, saving on airport cab fares, and even more uses for clear plastic bags! Budget Travel Tuesday, Feb 19, 2008, 12:00 AM Find your other half (Illustration by Jon Cannell) Budget Travel LLC, 2016
 

TRAVEL SMART

20 Tips

Tips you send in. This month: solo travel tips, saving on airport cab fares, and even more uses for clear plastic bags!

Find your other half (Illustration by Jon Cannell)
Find your other half (Illustration by Jon Cannell)

What's your best travel tip? Send us your tips, and if we publish one, you'll get a one-year subscription (or a renewal) to Budget Travel. You can e-mail them to us at Tips@BudgetTravel.com.

Best Tips Ever
The cleverest tips we've ever run are in The Smart Traveler's Passport, available at Amazon.com and better bookstores. Send us a tip: If yours is one that we illustrate, we'll send you a free book (along with a year's subscription).

1. Find your other half I often travel alone, and I used to feel left out when I saw two-for-one coupons for museums and other attractions. Now I wait for another solo traveler or an odd-numbered group to arrive at the ticket line, and I offer to split the discount. I've never had to wait more than a couple of minutes, and people always appreciate the chance to save. Kathy Kralik, Fort Smith, Ark.

2. Don't get taken for a ride I work at a hotel in the Chicago suburbs, and I frequently meet travelers who've paid $75 for a cab ride from O'Hare or $120 for a ride from Midway. I can recommend at least three cab companies with flat rates that are half that much. It pays to call your hotel before getting in line at the airport taxi stand. Abi Gerber, Lincolnshire, Ill.

3. Almost in the same boat Anytime you're thinking of taking a boat tour, check to see if there's a ferry that follows a similar route. When we were in Australia, we rode a ferry through Sydney Harbour for just a few dollars instead of paying for an expensive boat tour. The photo ops were pretty much the same. Debbie Stearns, Lebanon, N.H.

4. Hidden treasure Before you turn in a disposable camera to get the film developed, take off the thin cardboard and remove the batteries. They can usually be used again. For example, all Kodak single-use cameras come with either AA or AAA batteries, which work in all kinds of electronic devices. Todd Daniels, Elyria, Ohio

5. Collect those stamps When traveling by regional train in Italy, don't forget to "day stamp" your ticket in one of the small boxes in the station before you board. Otherwise, you could be fined $73. During my recent trip, three American tourists sitting next to me on a train were fined. Umberto Bellini, Danville, Calif.

6. A sorted affair I hate having to rummage through my suitcase to find things, so I group similar items in clear plastic bags--all my socks in one bag, underwear in another, pajamas and whatever I'll need at night in yet another, and so on. It's like a filing system for my suitcase. Diana Graves, Crested Butte, Colo.

7. Help them help you Printing information from English-language websites for your travels is great, but make sure you also have native-language printouts with the names and locations of the places you want to visit. Locals will have an easier time showing you the way. Margaret Lavictoire, Ottawa, Ont.

8. What a bright ID Many pet stores have machines that engrave a small metal disk with your pet's name and your contact info. These disks can also serve as ID tags for luggage. Engrave your name and phone number on a tag, and pin or sew it to the lining inside your luggage. If the airline loses your bag and the outside tag is missing, your contact information will still be available. Kathleen Howe, Carrollton, Tex.

9. Back story My wife has a bad back and needs lumbar support, but many airlines no longer offer pillows. I pack Ziploc double-zip freezer bags (they're stronger than the regular ones) in my carry-on. After we're seated, I blow into the bag, close it partially, then blow in a little more air and close it all the way. It's so comfortable that I now use one for myself. Marv Blackburn, Toledo, Ohio

10. Charge card In some hotels in Europe, once you use the key card to enter your room, you need to slide it into a slot in the wall to power up the room's light switches and electrical outlets. This is a great energy-saving system, but it poses a problem if you're hoping to recharge your camera or laptop while you're out. Always ask for a second key card to power the outlets. Dennis Beck, Richmond Hill, Ont.

11. Agent secret Even though there's a fee, you might be better off booking frequent-flier tickets over the phone than online. When we checked American Airlines' website for a trip from Seattle to Santa Barbara, Calif., all the flights connected in Dallas/Fort Worth. When we called, an agent was able to book us on an Alaska Airlines flight to Los Angeles and an American Eagle flight to Santa Barbara--all with our miles. The $15 per ticket we paid for booking over the phone was worth the time we saved. Doug Rittenhouse, Port Angeles, Wash.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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