20 Tips Tips you send in. This month: How to pick plane seats strategically, a fun way to identify your luggage, a resource for calculating where the U.S. dollar goes furthest, and more. Budget Travel Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009, 12:00 AM Budget Travel LLC, 2016
 

TRAVEL SMART

20 Tips

Tips you send in. This month: How to pick plane seats strategically, a fun way to identify your luggage, a resource for calculating where the U.S. dollar goes furthest, and more.

Out of the hot seat
Out of the hot seat

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, 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. Tales to go At Cracker Barrel restaurants, you can rent and return audiobooks at any location. This is great for road trips because if you finish a book during your journey, you can stop at another location and pick up a new one. You pay for the first book (from $10), and when you return it, you can check out any other book for $3.50. Harriet Diamond, Boynton Beach, Fla.

2. Park booty Nearly every national park and historic place in the U.S. has a badge or patch that kids can earn through the nationwide Junior Ranger Program. And if your child is a Cub or Boy Scout, he might be able to earn a patch through the Scout Ranger program by volunteering at a historic trail or park. On a recent trip to Boston, our Cub Scout earned three Scout Ranger badges and seven Junior Ranger badges. R. Ted Jeo, Maplewood, Minn.

3. Bargain of the minute If you want to find out where the U.S. dollar goes the furthest, open aoprals.state.gov and click on the Foreign Per Diem Rates link. The site lists the average cost of lodging, meals, and incidentals in more than 1,000 locations around the world. Barbara Zalot, Rocky Hill, Conn.

4. The traveling poster Before I go on a trip, I pick up a few of the free plastic umbrella covers you get in stores and museum lobbies. If I buy a poster that doesn't come with a protective tube, I have a ready-made carrier. Joan McKniff, Sarasota, Fla.

5. The key to tracking keys When my family goes on a cruise or stays in a hotel, we book several rooms, with multiple keys for each. I bring stick-on dots (the ones from office-supply stores) and establish a different color for each room. I put a colored dot on the door lock and dots of the same color on the key cards for that room. The dots peel right off when we leave. Lila Held, Garden Grove, Calif.

6. Keep thieves guessing To make yourself a less enticing target for camera snatchers, remove the strap that came with your equipment—the one that screams NIKON or CANON EOS—and replace it with a generic black nylon one. That way, you won't advertise your valuables. Elizabeth Roberts, Colorado Springs, Colo.

7. The better-priced Vegas If you plan to see a show in Las Vegas, start by checking the box-office prices at the hotel where it's playing. My husband and I bought tickets for Cirque du Soleil's Love at the Mirage for $69 each. The couple next to us bought their seats through a ticket broker and shelled out $129 each. Rochelle McBride, Cincinnati, Ohio

8. ID your PC We tag our bags, but our laptops all look pretty much the same when we take them out to go through the security scanner. To make sure I recognize mine—and to prevent others from mistakenly grabbing it—I tape my business card to the top of the computer. Mary Nevins, Oak Lawn, Ill.

9. Drink in the view If you plan to visit the sky deck of a tall building, such as Chicago's John Hancock Center or Seattle's Space Needle, find out if there's a restaurant at or near the top. Customers usually don't have to pay to get into the building and can enjoy a nice dinner or cocktails with a view. Joyce Porter, Oak Park, Ill.

10. All hands down I found a fun way to identify our luggage at baggage claim. I bought red, blue, and yellow fabric paint from a crafts store and had my kids cover each bag with handprints. Kim Pilsbury, Woodstock, Ga.

11. Send lint packing Instead of traveling with a bulky lint brush or a roll of tape, take the clear adhesive sleeves that you slip UPS and FedEx labels into. They're easy to use—just put your hand in the sleeve as if it were a glove. Jessica Rhodes, Destin, Fla.

12. Spread the words After you're done with your magazines and newspapers on a plane, offer them to your flight attendant. I've done this on a few of my recent trips, and not only were the attendants happy to have reading material, I got a few extra beverages as a thank-you! Alyson Heller, Fairfield, Conn.

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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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