20 Tips Tips you send in. This month: A clever way to pack earrings, a free phone application for staying in touch abroad, an extra use for hotel-room coffeepots, and more. Budget Travel Tuesday, Mar 24, 2009, 12:00 AM Budget Travel LLC, 2016


20 Tips

Tips you send in. This month: A clever way to pack earrings, a free phone application for staying in touch abroad, an extra use for hotel-room coffeepots, and more.

Fast track in Florida
Fast track in Florida (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, 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. Fast track in Florida I'm a former travel-industry professional based in Orlando, and this is my best secret for getting around town without delays: Avoid the eternally congested International Drive and take Universal Boulevard instead. It runs parallel to I-Drive, but the comparisons end there. Janey Womeldorf, Orlando, Fla.

2. Talk is cheap When we traveled to Mexico, we wanted to stay in touch with family and friends back home. We found a free application on iTunes called Truphone that turns our iPhone into an Internet phone. We simply downloaded the app, bought a certain amount of time, and made calls by connecting through our resort's free Wi-Fi. We were in contact with everyone for just a few cents a minute. Wil Cuyco, Oakland, Calif.

3. D.C.'s dramatic side To save on theater, dance, and opera productions in Washington, D.C., check out the half-price tickets from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington. Seats for same-day performances are available on the company's website, culturecapital.com, from midnight to 4 p.m. You can also go to the ticket booth for show deals up to a week in advance (407 Seventh St. NW). Helen E. Disenhaus, Washington, D.C.

4. Scientific genius If you have a membership to your local science museum and it's a part of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, you can get free admission to hundreds of its affiliates throughout the country, such as L.A.'s Natural History Museum and the Chicago Children's Museum. In the past year, we've visited eight museums with our children and have saved more than $500. Linda Holt, Camden, Maine

5. Pocket pill protector When I travel, I carry a Tic Tac container in my pocket filled with a supply of any medications I might need, with a label for each on the outside. It's made of hard plastic, so the pills are protected—and I am never out of luck if my luggage goes astray. Dave Milligan, Nibley, Utah

6. Peace offering If you're planning a trip to an underdeveloped country, go to peacecorps.gov to see if the Peace Corps has a presence there. The volunteers will likely be your best source for local tips and recommendations. And if you bring them U.S. magazines or M&M's (a favorite because the candy doesn't melt quickly), you'll make friends fast! Amy Nelson, Arlington, Va.

7. Twin remedies Dramamine and Benadryl contain similar active ingredients, so I use them interchangeably. I had a mild allergic reaction while I was on a trip and took Dramamine; it worked just as well as Benadryl would have. Ira Massarsky, Wheeling, Ill.

8. Bag your bags After traveling through New Zealand, we went to Australia for three weeks. Rather than drag all of our luggage with us, we put it in a mini-storage facility a few miles from Auckland Airport. This was cheaper than leaving the bags at the airport, and since we had a long layover in New Zealand on our way back to the States, it was a great solution. Nada Wheelock, Vancouver, Wash.

9. Road-food fix I clip coupons for restaurant chains and keep them in the glove compartment. On car trips, my family and I eat most of our meals on the road, and it's easy to just pull out the coupons. Rebecca Ayala, Houston, Tex.

10. Make a match I found a great way to keep track of earrings when I travel. I find old buttons, put the earring posts through the holes, and attach the backs. I use one button per pair, so I never have to dig around to find a stray. Robin Wilfong, Fremont, Calif.

11. Suitcase Rx Bicycle tire-repair kits are handy to have with you on trips. If your bag gets torn in transit, just slap on one of the patches. The kits are only about $10 each, and the patches are designed for tires, so they're more than tough enough to hold a suitcase together. Jim Page, Waltham, Mass.

12. Artful arrangement If you arrive in a city with carry-on luggage and your hotel room won't be ready for several hours, go to a major museum. Some will let you store your bag for a nominal fee—you might not even have to buy a ticket. I did this at the British Museum in London, where it costs only $1.50 to store a carry-on. It was nice to be able to get in some sightseeing without having to lug my bag everywhere! Craig Harris, Roanoke, Va.

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