20 Tips Tips you send in. This month: How to keep dogs calm on the road, a clever tip for parking near cruise terminals, a charitable use for leftover foreign currency, and more. Budget Travel Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009, 12:00 AM Budget Travel LLC, 2016


20 Tips

Tips you send in. This month: How to keep dogs calm on the road, a clever tip for parking near cruise terminals, a charitable use for leftover foreign currency, and more.

Calm your canine
Calm your canine

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

1. Calm your canine My husband and I like to bring our three dogs on trips, but sometimes they bark at sounds from outside the hotel room. As a solution, we uploaded a recording of ocean waves to our iPod. At the hotel, we hook up the iPod to our mini speakers and play the waves, on repeat. The soothing sounds mask noises, so the pups don't yap. Jennifer Beach, Alexandria, Va.

2. Right on track Taking trains in a country where you don't know the language can be tricky, but when my wife and I were in Italy this year, I stumbled upon a way to make it easier. Find the train's schedule (every station posts these) and snap a digital photo of it. You'll have it with you on the ride to check the stops and know where to get off. Ed Lewis, Manassas, Va.

3. Dodge road fines If you rent a car in London, be sure to ask for a map outlining the city's Congestion Charging zones. Enter these areas—even accidentally—and you'll receive a $10 fine; the longer it takes you to pay, the more you'll be charged. My family and I happened into one of the zones, and our car was captured on camera. We found out when we got home that we owed $240. Joan Hortin, Chattanooga, Tenn.

4. Shoot your passport We all know that when traveling abroad, you should keep copies of your passport in a safe place. I always carry my cell phone with me, so I use it to take pictures of my passport's important pages as backup. When I need to fill out forms, I get my passport number by looking at the photos. John C. Giel, Leesburg, Fla.

5. Go in the know Driving in an unfamiliar area is never easy, which is why I always enter my hotel and other destinations in my GPS before my trip. That way, I can review the recent search history to access directions instead of having to program everything while I'm on the road. Jodi Green, Jacksonville, Fla.

6. Sponge trumps terry Hotels don't always provide washcloths. I used to bring one from home and keep it in a Ziploc bag as I traveled from place to place, but it never dried completely and would smell mildewy after a few days. Now I carry a kitchen sponge instead and have found that it stays fresher longer. Marilyn Silvey, Reston, Va.

7. Use your antenna Finding your rental car in a large parking lot can seem impossible, so my husband and I bring along an antenna topper for our rental. We can always spot the car right away. Beverly Moyer, Sinking Spring, Pa.

8. Shake and wake To sleep soundly when I travel, I wear earplugs, but they make most alarm clocks ineffective. My sister, who is deaf, gave me a great gift: a vibrating-alarm wristwatch that she ordered from vibewatches.com. You can set it to send alerts with a vibration, a beep, or both. I use the watch to wake up and as a reminder to take my medications. Carolyn Falk, Somerville, Mass.

9. Charitable change When you're stuck with extra foreign currency at the end of a trip—not enough to buy much of anything but too much to toss—there's a way to unload it with a good conscience. Many airlines take part in fund-raising programs for good causes and will accept donations in any currency on flights to the U.S. You can lighten your load and help out someone in need. Eugenia Lazaris, Upland, Calif.

10. Almost like washing Those little bars of soap in hotel rooms are good for more than baths. Put a bar or two in your laundry bag, and the clothes won't smell up your suitcase. Brenda Lyons, Christiansburg, Va.

11. Double vision Anytime I buy new eyeglasses, I store the old ones in my carry-on luggage. While I was on a European cruise, I sat on my good pair and couldn't get them repaired. It was a relief to have a backup for the rest of the trip. Nancy R. Wingfield, Roanoke, Va.

12. Plan B banking Like a lot of people, I depend heavily on credit cards when I travel, which means that a lost or stolen card could put me in a bind. For insurance, I deposit some of my vacation funds into a free checking account that comes with a debit card. I keep that card separate from my wallet. If I lose my wallet and can't access my main account, I still have a ready source of funds. James Gruber, Oviedo, Fla.

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