Tips you send in. This month: airport security timesavers, easy electronics advice, and a history lesson kids love!
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Best Tips Ever
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1. Easy listeningOur children are fans of the audio tours offered at many museums and monuments throughout Europe, especially since the tours are often available on iPods. At 10 and 12 years old, both kids were fascinated by Berlin's Charlottenburg Palace and insisted on listening to the complete (and quite long) tour. They did similar tours in France, at Chenonceau and Chambord châteaux. Gwen Gibbons, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
2. Marking a memory I wanted an inexpensive souvenir from my recent trip to London, so I laminated a receipt from Harrods to use as a bookmark. You could do the same thing with an admission stub from a museum or a show, or a tag from a special purchase. Colleen McGuiness, Stony Point, N.Y.
3. Central planningNext time you're coordinating a trip with a lot of people, set up a poll at doodle.ch to decide where to go, plan activities, and pick restaurants. When you log on, you can see in real time how everybody is voting on a topic, eliminating the need for phone calls and e-mails to get everyone's input. Rose Jakubaszek, Jersey City, N.J.
4. Red alertWhen I write out my packing list, I note in red any liquids, so when I'm repacking to return home, I know exactly what I need to dig out from my purse, cosmetics bag, and toiletry bag and transfer back to my one-quart Ziploc. Eileen L. Keplinger, Sparks, Nev.
5. It's in the bag We recently went to Disney World and on a Disney cruise with our kids. We wanted to save money in the parks by bringing our own double stroller, but we needed a smaller stroller for the cruise. We found that our umbrella stroller fit perfectly in the shoulder-strap bag of our camping chair. And because the stroller was enclosed, we were able to check it as luggage. Angela MacKinnon, New Freedom, Pa.
6. Keep your coolerMy husband uses a small soft-sided cooler as his carry-on bag. When we arrive at our destination, we have a cooler to use in the hotel, in the rental car, or at the beach. Mary Wohlers, Fairfax, Iowa
7. End the streak I tried window cleaner to get a smudge off of the inside of my windshield, but the mark always reappeared. Out of frustration, I put some hand sanitizer on a napkin and rubbed it on the glass. The smudge went away for good! Jon Rich, Las Vegas, Nev.
8. Don't get tied upBefore I go through airport security, I untie my laces and tuck them into my shoes. This makes my shoes more like slippers, so I can get them on and off quickly and easily. Roger A.C. Williams, Boulder, Colo.
9. Play awayI travel a lot on business and have to leave behind my dog. While I was in Kauai, I happened to drive by the humane society. It had a huge yard, so I took a dog out and played with him. I think I brought the dog joy, and I definitely felt less homesick. From now on, I'll seek out animal shelters on my trips. Jessica Ward, Pasadena, Calif.
10. Tech department We store all our adapters, chargers, batteries, iPods, cameras, and phones in a toiletry bag, which we call our technology bag. It's easy to grab when we go on a trip, and if we have to leave it in our car, it just looks like an ordinary toiletry bag—and who breaks into a car to steal toothpaste? Jody Kirincich, Falmouth, Mass.
11. Totes awesomeMany stores sell earth-friendly bags for grocery shopping, but they can also be used as carry-ons or packed empty in suitcases and then filled with any goodies you bring home from your trip. Besides being handy, the bags also remind others about reducing, reusing, and recycling. Cindy Swanson, Beaverton, Ore.
12. Photographic proof If you sign up for Disney's PhotoPass card, which gives you access to the shots the park photographers take of you and your family, make sure to snap a picture of the code on the back. We lost our card on our third day, but because we had taken a picture of the code, the park was able to transfer our info to a new card right away. Stella Brewer, New York, N.Y.
13. Soap startI like to carry soap when I travel, but bar soaps can get messy. Instead, I bring the single-use soap tablets from Soapies (available at rei.com). They're handy when you're in a restroom that doesn't have any soap. Daniel Garrido, Miami, Fla.
14. Upload for the roadYou can upload all the contacts and calendar information from your Outlook program onto most iPod models. This is particularly helpful if you store the confirmation numbers for your air, hotel, and car-rental reservations in Outlook. Mary Anne Evans, Liberty Lake, Wash.
15. Bonus couponsCostco gives out brochures for its travel packages, and there are often coupons inside for car rentals at companies such as Budget, Avis, and Alamo. We've noticed that Budget will give you the Costco discount rate in addition to the coupon savings. Gloria Hasler, Palmdale, Calif.
16. Learning to shareThere are lots of time-share resorts in the Orlando area, and you don't have to be a member to stay in them. They usually cost less than a hotel, have larger rooms, and are in complexes with game rooms, fitness centers, and convenience stores. Look for listings on redweek.com, where time-share owners list the weeks they want to sell, or on travelocity.com. Bethany Edmunds, Selinsgrove, Pa.
17. Quick on the draw Ever have trouble getting your ID out of your wallet quickly when you go through airport security? Fold a piece of tape over the top edge of the ID to make a tab, and you'll be able to pull it out in a snap. Isabel Acosta, Schaumburg, Ill.
18. All together nowAfter I left my iPod charger in Paris, my rechargeable camera battery in Colorado, and my computer cord in Williamsburg, Va., I decided it's worth the space to pack a power strip. Now I can recharge all my electronic equipment together, so I only have to remember one thing when I leave my hotel. Even better, when I travel internationally, I don't need a bunch of adapters. Sharon Arnn Bryant, Batesville, Va.
19. Decked out Before you book a river cruise, find out if the top deck will be open during the whole trip. There were several times during our cruise from Nuremberg to Amsterdam when the top deck was closed so the boat could fit under low bridges. Other than a small area on a lower deck with only one bench, there was no outdoor space for us to view scenery or get fresh air. Donna McLay, Winter Springs, Fla.
20. The good bookstore As a pastor, I'm often asked how to find the best place of worship while on a trip. I always recommend seeking out the local religious bookstore. Since the store likely supplies books to area churches, the staff will know which parishes are the most active and will understand the variations within certain traditions. David Goodman, Northbrook, Ill.