Highlights from the 20 Tips column in this month's <i>Budget Travel</i>, including bright ideas for cruises and a new use for plastic wrap.
1. Roger that! Traveling by cruise ship with family members or friends? Bring along battery-operated two-way radios such as Motorola's Talkabouts to keep everyone connected. Typically used for skiing, they worked great on our family cruise. Sherry Brooks, Westlake Village, Calif.
2. Wrap music. To protect your digital camera or MP3 player from getting soaked in the rain, encase it in a single layer of Glad Press 'n Seal wrap (the new stuff that's a little thicker). Then use a razor to cut a hole for the camera's lens area; for the MP3 player, just jam the earphone plug through the plastic and into the jack. You can still see the screen and operate the functions through the wrap. I've used both devices during downpours and had success each and every time. Simon Langler, Oakville, Ont.
3. Location, location, location. When renting an apartment abroad, take a map and detailed directions. This is especially helpful if you're not fluent in the language. I encountered taxi drivers in Brussels, Madrid, Seville, and Palermo who had no idea how to find the address of the apartment I had rented. Gary Maier, New Westminster, B.C.
4. Peachy Keen. I thought Keen all-terrain shoes were a little funny-looking, what with the rubber strip extending over the toe (keenfootwear.com), but I wanted a shoe with lots of ventilation for a recent trip to Europe. There was nothing funny about them when we were tromping through Rome in a thunderstorm and I was the only one with dry feet. I couldn't have been happier, and everyone on the trip was envious. Kathy Reilly, Sacramento, Calif.
5. The ship's shape. My husband and I just came back from the Bahamas on a Carnival cruise. The ship was huge, so we went to the purser's desk and got a small map of the ship--it fit perfectly in an evening bag. Before we ventured to an activity or event, we mapped an efficient route there. Unlike other passengers, we were a happy, calm couple getting to where we needed to be! Sheila Rodis Bradshaw, Glen Allen, Va.
You can find more tips in the April 2007 issue of Budget Travel magazine.