20 Tips

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1. Using balloons to seal containers. Last summer, when we visited my mother-in-law, she gave the kids a bag of balloons to play with. When it was time to head home, I had the idea of using the balloons as a way to keep toiletry containers sealed. I cut off the tips of the balloons and stretched them over the tops of small containers, and stretched the other halves over the larger containers' lids. Not one of them exploded. -- Bibi Gefre, Stillwater, Minn.

2. Complimentary state maps. While planning my first winter driving trip to Florida since retiring, I realized my road atlas was over 20 years old. Instead of purchasing a new one, I requested a state map--they're not only free, but current!--from the official website of each state that I would be driving through. Look for a link to "vacation guide" or "travel guide." -- Bob Caggige, St. Albans, Vt.

3. No more sunken sunglasses. When you're kayaking, canoeing, or rafting, attach a fishing float to the strap that's holding your regular glasses or sunglasses. If you happen to fall overboard, retrieving your glasses will be a snap. -- Susan Bolding, West Fork, Ark.

4. Mood lighting made easy. I always bring a touch-pad dimmer to hotels and plug both bedside lamps into it--for easy dimming control of both. -- Arlon Knudson, San Francisco, Calif.

5. Insider hotel advice. If you think you'll be returning to a hotel, ask the housekeepers what the best rooms are. They really know, and if a room is empty, they'll often show it to you. Write down the room number, and request it the next time you make a reservation or when you check in. -- George Green, Houston, Tex.

You can find more tips in the February 2007 issue of Budget Travel magazine.

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