Highlights from the June 20 Tips column, including how to keep account numbers safe, and getting kids to eat veggies.
Best Tips Ever! The most useful submissions to 20 Tips have been collected in a new book, The Smart Traveler's Passport. It was named "Best Itty-Gritty Guidebook" by Reader's Digest, and it's available at bookstores all over. (It makes a great Father's Day gift....) 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 in the magazine, we'll send you a free book (along with a year's subscription). You can buy The Smart Traveler's Passport here.
1. That's using your head! When you have a family of six and you're on a road trip, snacks are crucial. On one trip, we ran out of munchies--all that was left was a head of lettuce. I broke off large handfuls and passed them out. To our surprise, the kids all loved crunching on them! It's a new way to get some veggies into everyone, it doesn't make as much of a mess as chips, and it doesn't leave us thirsty. Since then, the kids even double-check that I remember to bring some. Sandra Beagley, Shawnigan Lake, B.C.
2. Encode your accounts. If you have a list of important account numbers, insert a three- or four-digit dummy code into each number: If the list is lost, it'll be meaningless to anyone who isn't aware of the dummy code. H. Jim Bagley, Rockford, Ill.
3. Neighborly advice. I'm lucky to have wonderful neighbors who gather my mail and newspapers when I'm away. Instead of a souvenir they'll never use, I bring back a doll for their granddaughter from each country I visit. She now has a lovely collection of international dolls, and my neighbor always takes the time to explain a bit about the country. Jeffrey Piekarsky, Forest Hills, N.Y.
4. Cashing out. At the end of foreign travel, you're often stuck with small coins and bills that aren't easy to convert back to dollars. My husband solves this problem when settling the hotel bill. He pays first with any leftover cash and then uses his credit card for the balance. Dawn Long, Sunnyvale, Calif.
5. Brew it yourself. Cruise ships sometimes offer iced tea from concentrate, as I discovered on Holland America. So what I do now is request a carafe of hot tea upon boarding, then hold on to the carafe. During the cruise, I add tea bags and hot water from the lido deck to brew my own pot of iced tea--it's so much better than concentrate, and making it myself spares me waiting for room service! Michele Lounsbury, Marysville, Wash.
You can find more tips in the June 2007 issue of Budget Travel magazine.