Highlights from the July 20 Tips column, including how to avoid long lines at museums, and where to stash emergency cash.
Best Tips Ever! Send your travel tips to Tips@BudgetTravel.com, and if we publish one, you'll get a one-year subscription (or a renewal) to Budget Travel. The cleverest tips we've ever run are compiled in The Smart Traveler's Passport, a new book available at QuirkBooks.com and in bookstores. If your tip is one that we illustrate in the magazine, we'll send you a free book (along with that year's subscription)!
1. The grape escape. Here's an easy way to avoid traffic headaches when visiting wineries in Napa and Sonoma counties: Decide in advance which ones you'll check out; then start your day early at the northernmost winery and work your way south. When the wineries close up shop around 5 P.M., you'll be closer to the highway entrance than most everybody else. Bob Zasloff, Columbus, Ohio
2. Photo ready. While on vacation, I take a digital photo of our daughter each day. That way, if she gets lost, I have a picture that shows exactly what she is wearing. Stacy Walker, Terry, Miss.
3. Search out the back door. Some popular museums have other entrances besides the main one, and lines there can be much shorter. At the Louvre, for instance, there's an alternate entrance to the glass pyramid at Carrousel du Louvre on rue de Rivoli. To find these entrances, search online using the museum name and the words "alternate entrance." Susan Lore, Chesterfield, Mo.
4. Cash and carry. I keep a $100 bill folded up inside my luggage tag for emergencies. Nobody suspects that it's behind the little name-and-address card. I've even had a $100 bill sealed inside one of those laminated luggage tags (the kind made from your business card). You have to destroy the tag to access the money, but this tactic has saved me more than once when I've unexpectedly found myself out of cash. Mark Swiney, Tulsa, Okla.
5. Power central. If you forget to pack your cell phone charger, ask for one at the hotel's front desk. The clerks usually have a box of chargers for many brands, left behind by other guests, and they loan them out for free. This has worked for me twice and for my wife once. Robb Morrison, Norcross, Ga.
You can find more tips in the July/August 2007 issue of Budget Travel magazine.