20 Tips

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1. Start a coaster collection. At a bar in my late grandfather's home city of Århus, Denmark, I was served a Danish beer called Ceres. I noticed the coaster under my glass and asked the barman if I could have a fresh one to take home. He gave me a stack of them. They've made great conversation pieces at parties. Scott Berger, Richmond, Va.

2. Carry a twist tie in your wallet. Among other ingenious uses, a twist tie can temporarily replace a lost screw on a pair of sunglasses. Just peel the paper or plastic off the tie so you have bare wire, insert it where the screw once was, and twist to tighten. Unlike Scotch tape or a safety pin, a twist tie is small enough to remain hidden, and strong enough to hold until you're able to replace the screw. Suzanne Prendergast, Chicago, Ill.

3. Download free audiobooks online. Before my last long flight, I went to LibriVox.org and chose a bunch of books, short stories, and poems to download to my iPod--for free. The site has both adult and children's books (Pride and Prejudice, A Little Princess, The Call of the Wild), and the list is growing. All of the titles are in the public domain and they're read by volunteers, so there's no question of copyright infringement. Even if you don't own an iPod, you can download them to your computer and burn them onto a CD. Diane Bowman, Huntington Beach, Calif.

4. Socks protect fragile items in luggage. Put your perfume and cologne bottles inside pairs of rolled-up socks to keep them cushioned during your trip. Joia Starks, Union City, N.J.

5. Pack your own picnic gear. A company called Orikaso makes brightly colored polypropylene sheets that can be folded--kind of like origami--to form a dish, bowl, or cup. The sheets are lightweight and reusable, and you simply flatten them when you're finished. We found ours at a sporting goods store, but you can also buy them online. Check www.orikaso.com for retailers. Susan Day, Brooklyn Park, Minn.

You can find more tips in the April 2006 issue of Budget Travel magazine.

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