20 Tips

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1. Protect your camera with a toddler's sock. Many small digital cameras don't come with a carrying case. We solve the problem by slipping our Canon Elph into one of our granddaughter's socks. A brightly colored or patterned one makes it easy to find the camera in a purse or backpack. Cindy Jones, Bass Lake, Calif.

2. Fresh-brewed coffee can mask stale air. Unfortunately, on a recent trip to New York, my friends and I were given a hotel room that smelled faintly of cigarette smoke. Since the windows didn't open (thanks to liability issues), we were advised to turn on the room fan and let it circulate the air while we explored the city. When we returned 10 hours later, the room still smelled and there were no available rooms to switch to. Someone came up with the brilliant idea of brewing a pot of coffee, and soon the room smelled warm and homey. Kara Morin, Cambridge, Mass.

3. Don't take cameras to the Mint. The Department of the Treasury doesn't allow any cameras or camera-phones inside the United States Mint. Nor will the guards hold any banned items for you if you should show up for a tour with them. So plan ahead, and leave that stuff at home or in your hotel room. Dennis & Maureen Fortier, Wyoming, R.I.

4. Keep luggage lightweight by accessorizing. Rather than pack lots of clothes that bulk up a suitcase, women should bring lots of different and fun accessories (scarves, jewelry) to mix up a small number of coordinating outfits. Amy Booth, Reno, Nev.

5. Consider buying a musical souvenir. I purchase a couple of CDs in every country I visit, from Polish punk to Uzbek rock. Not the folk music you find in most tourist shops (which I rarely like), but some kind of local pop, rock, or easy listening. Unlike other souvenirs, the albums don't collect dust because I play them over and over, bringing back memories of all the places I've been. John F. Woodward, Ames, Iowa

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

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