Highlights from this month's column, including discounts on English palaces, and five clever uses for a Ziploc.
1. Historic Royal Palaces members save money. The card gives you entry into five English palaces, including the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, and Kew Palace. Flash the card to bypass long lines and visit unlimited times within a year. A membership costs a couple $105--nearly 50 percent off what admissions would regularly cost (hrp.org.uk). Tarryn Rivkin, San Jose, Calif.
2. Ask about in-cabin pets if you have allergies. On a trip from Montreal to Vienna, I was seated in front of one person with a cat, and another cat was loose in the cabin as flight attendants searched for its owner. Because the flight was sold out, they couldn't change my seat. I now make sure to inquire about any animals onboard at check-in. Mirvet Sidhom, Brossard, Quebec
3. Slip a makeup sponge in your shoe to ease blister pain. Sometimes even well-worn shoes begin to irritate in unexpected places. Carry a few inexpensive drugstore makeup sponges in your pocket or purse. Insert one under the stocking or sock at the irritated spot and you'll have instant relief. Grace Wohlsen, Philadelphia, Pa.
4. A down coat can act as a pillow. While packing for a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park, I got the idea that I could place my coat in a pillowcase at night instead of bringing a pillow. Just turn the coat inside out, form it into a pillow shape, and stuff it in the case. Kathy Walle, Gettysburg, Pa.
5. Leave time to explore Narita Airport when flying out of Tokyo. Go to the fourth floor before or after checking in (but before passport control). There's access to an observation deck and a great food court serving inexpensive lunch sets (around $8) mainly to the airport staff, or try the sushi bar, which displays options on a conveyor belt. Take what looks good, and at meal's end, your bill is tallied up by the colors of your plates. There are also branches of well-known stores like Oriental Bazaar, which sells authentic Japanese souvenirs, and Uniqlo, a reasonably priced clothing shop. Catherine Murau, Tokyo, Japan
You can find more tips in the October 2006 issue of Budget Travel magazine.