Highlights from the 20 Tips column in this month's Budget Travel, including how to keep the bugs away and another use for Ziplocs!
Best Tips Ever! The most useful tips from 20 Tips have been collected in a book, The Smart Traveler's Passport. It's available at bookstores all over. And send in your tips to Tips@BudgetTravel.com or Budget Travel, 530 Seventh Ave., 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10018! If yours is one that we illustrate, we'll send you a free book (along with a year's subscription).
1. Avoid getting bugged. I had heard that some South American hotels don't have window screens, and we didn't want to be kept awake at night by bugs while we were visiting Peru, so I bought masking tape and two square yards of light nylon netting (the kind once used in prom dresses). We taped the netting over our open window every night. It worked like a charm. We had fresh air and stayed bug-free. Elfa Foldi, Milwaukee, Wis.
2. Port preparation. Before we leave on a cruise, I make individually numbered, dated, and labeled Ziploc bags for each port of call. Each packet contains excursion-specific items--such as a downloaded local map, sunscreen, insect repellent, itinerary and proof of reservations, traveler's checks for activities, small change for local transportation, a disposable camera labeled with each port's name, and items like shampoo samples for the spots at which we have swimming activities planned. Deborah Plumb, St. Petersburg,Fla.
3.Shelf-help. If you're staying in a hotel room with limited drawers or bathroom counter space, set up the ironing board. It fits neatly out of the way in most entryways and makes a handy shelf for clothing or other necessities. My husband no longer complains that I'm hogging the bathroom. Denise Carideo-Harrington, Gales Ferry,Conn.
4.Meetandgreet. Next time you take a cruise or trip away from mainstream stores, pack a few greeting cards--a few blank cards, a generic birthday card, and an anniversary card. When you meet people who are celebrating a special event, you'll be ready. The card will impress your new friends and it will help you bond with them. Ron Kline, Sierra Vista,Ariz.
5.Bankon it. Before traveling to another country, go to bank-holidays.com to find out when businesses there are closed and what types of holiday might be taking place. You may be so lucky as to see some local celebrations. Elisabeth Smith, Los Angeles,Calif.
You can find more tips in the May 2007 issue of Budget Travel magazine.