Advice From Our Favorite Experts
Your wisdom from the field. This month: An in-flight pillow with the right stuff, how to remove wrinkles with a hairdryer, why you should carry a copy of your packing list, and more.
What's your best travel tip? Send us your tips, and if we publish one, you'll get a one-year subscription to Budget Travel (or a renewal). E-mail us at Tips@BudgetTravel.com.
Best (Money-Saving) Tips Ever! Our newly reissued Smart Traveler's Passport has never been more relevant, thanks to its 133 savings ideas. Send us even more: If we illustrate your tip, you'll get a free book (and a year's subscription).
The right stuff
I used to bring a small pillow on flights, but it was always falling between the seat and the window, and I'd wake up with a stiff neck. Now I pack a camping stuff sack and fill it with soft things like a sweatshirt and an airline blanket to make sure it's big enough that it stays in place. Lisa Silverman, Valley Village, Calif.
Instead of being loyal to one airline, I always opt for the least expensive fare. But that makes it difficult for me to collect enough miles on one airline for a free ticket. So now my sister and I trade frequent-flier miles with each other. (Some reward programs let you donate your miles to a family member for a small fee.) Swapping miles gets us our free flights twice as fast. Helen Dimaras, Toronto, Ont.
When you're driving a rental car on vacation, buy a local newspaper and keep it on the dashboard or on one of the seats. Burglars often target tourists, but the paper will make your car look like it belongs to someone from the area. Judy Walcoff, Bloomington, Ind.
No iron, no problem
On our last trip, my husband and I discovered that you can use a hairdryer to remove wrinkles from clothes. Hold the nozzle a few inches from the fabric and move it back and forth slightly. The wrinkles will disappear in a few seconds. Dottie Gilberti, Prescott, Ariz.
In France, ATMs sometimes distribute €50 notes, but many shopkeepers won't break them—especially when you're buying a €2 pastry. However, if you make sure your ATM withdrawals aren't divisible by 50, you'll get €20 notes. Fees add up, so you don't want to take out just €40 each time. Instead, request €130. Save the €50s for museum shops, which have no problem breaking large bills. Shelby Foster, Fremont, Calif.
Cramped cruise-ship bathrooms don't always have enough towel bars or counter space for all my products, so I bring a quick-release suction cup with a hook and hang my toiletry bag from it. I bought mine at harborfreight.com for $2, and it holds up to 15 pounds. Charles Schmitter Jr., Wolverine Lake, Mich.
What's in the bag?
It's a good idea to keep a copy of your packing list with you when you travel. If the airline loses your luggage, the list will come in handy when you need to replace the contents. Holly Huhn, North Conway, N.H.
On the last morning of a cruise, I noticed long lines of people holding their final statements and waiting at the main desk to challenge individual charges. Instead of leaving this until the last minute, ask for a printout of the bill a day or two before the end of the cruise. If there are any discrepancies, you can resolve them then, and you'll be able to kick back on your final day on the ship. Jack Sigano, Nutley, N.J.
If you're planning a trip and will be staying in a questionable hotel, make a sleeping bag out of a king-size bedsheet and bring it with you. Just fold the sheet in half vertically and sew the bottom and two thirds of the side closed. Sara Trotta, Lockport, Ill.
I often wash my clothes when I travel, but it's a pain to make room for both detergent and fabric softener in my suitcase. I now pack a few Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets in a Ziploc bag. You use one sheet per load, and it washes and softens clothes and eliminates static. Linda Strand, Corpus Christi, Tex.
If you have a great meal on vacation, ask the maître d' if the place has a sister restaurant with a different type of cuisine—you'll get the same owners, service, and quality. My wife and I did this in Buenos Aires and followed one fantastic dinner with another. Kevin Mullins, Newton, Mass.