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    Peoria,

    Illinois

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    Peoria ( pee-OR-ee-ə) is the county seat of Peoria County, Illinois, and the largest city on the Illinois River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 115,007. It is the principal city of the Peoria Metropolitan Area in Central Illinois, consisting of the counties of Marshall, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford, which had a population of 373,590 in 2011. Established in 1691 by the French explorer Henri de Tonti, Peoria was later labeled by the Peoria Historical Society to be the oldest European settlement in Illinois. Originally known as Fort Clark, it received its current name when the County of Peoria organized in 1825. The city was named after the Peoria tribe, a member of the Illinois Confederation. On October 16, 1854, Abraham Lincoln made his Peoria speech against the Kansas-Nebraska Act.A major port on the Illinois River, Peoria is a trading and shipping center for a large agricultural area that produces corn, soybeans, and livestock. Although the economy is well diversified, the city's traditional manufacturing industries remain important and produce earthmoving equipment, metal products, lawn-care equipment, labels, steel towers, farm equipment, building materials, steel, wire, and chemicals. Until 2018, Peoria was the global and national headquarters for heavy equipment and engine manufacturer Caterpillar Inc., one of the 30 companies composing the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and listed on the Fortune 100; in the latter year, the company relocated its headquarters to Deerfield, Illinois.The city is associated with the phrase "Will it play in Peoria?", which originated from the vaudeville era and was popularized by Groucho Marx. Museums in the city include the Pettengill-Morron House, the John C. Flanagan House, and the Peoria Riverfront Museum.
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    Peoria Articles

    News

    Allegiant Airlines adds new budget routes for summer 2020

    Allegiant Airlines has announced an expanded list of low-cost flights beginning in summer 2020. We've rounded up all the information you need about these routes! Planning a trip to any of these destinations? Let us know in the comments! Flight days, times and the lowest fares can be found only at Allegiant.com. The new seasonal routes to Las Vegas via McCarran International Airport (LAS) include: San Diego, California via San Diego International Airport (SAN) – beginning June 3, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $43.* Fort Wayne, Indiana via Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) – beginning June 4, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $69.* Tucson, Arizona via Tucson International Airport (TUS) – beginning June 5, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $49.* The new seasonal routes to San Diego via San Diego International Airport (SAN) include: Las Vegas, Nevada via McCarran International Airport (LAS) – beginning June 3, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $43.* Tulsa, Oklahoma via Tulsa International Airport (TUL) – beginning June 3, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $69.* Billings, Montana via Billings Logan International Airport (BIL) – beginning June 4, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $59.* Medford, Oregon via Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport (MFR) – beginning June 4, 2020 with fares as low as $59.* Sioux Falls, South Dakota via Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD) – beginning June 5, 2020 with fares as low as $69.* Idaho Falls, Idaho via Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) – beginning June 5, 2020 with fares as low as $59.* The new seasonal route to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) from Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal (BMI) begins June 4, 2020 with fares as low as $49.* The new seasonal routes to Nashville International Airport (BNA) include: Bozeman, Montana via Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) – beginning May 21, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $66.* Sioux Falls, South Dakota via Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD) – beginning May 21, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $55.* Norfolk, Virginia via Norfolk International Airport (ORF) – beginning May 22, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $44.* Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania via Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) – beginning May 22, 2020 with fares as low as $44.* Peoria, Illinois via General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport (PIA) – beginning June 4, 2020 with fares as low as $44.* Tulsa, Oklahoma via Tulsa International Airport (TUL) – beginning June 4, 2020 with fares as low as $44.* Fargo, North Dakota via Fargo International Airport (FAR) – beginning June 4, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $55.* Flint, Michigan via Bishop International Airport (FNT) – beginning June 5, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $55.* Greensboro, North Carolina via Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) – beginning June 5, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $44.* The new seasonal routes to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) include: Grand Rapids, Michigan via Gerald R. Ford Airport (GRR) – beginning May 7, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Asheville, North Carolina via Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) – beginning May 8, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Knoxville, Tennessee via McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) – beginning May 8, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Destin / Ft. Walton Beach, Florida via Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) – beginning May 14, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* The new seasonal routes from Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) include: Allentown, Pennsylvania via Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) – beginning May 14, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Des Moines, Iowa via Des Moines International Airport (DSM) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Savannah, Georgia via Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Asheville, North Carolina via Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Knoxville, Tennessee via McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Destin / Ft. Walton Beach, Florida via Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) – beginning June 5, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* The new seasonal routes to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) include: Des Moines, Iowa via Des Moines International Airport (DSM) – beginning May 21, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $55.* Asheville, North Carolina via Asheville International Airport (AVL) – beginning May 22, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $55.* Knoxville, Tennessee via McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) – beginning May 22, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* Grand Rapids, Michigan via Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) – beginning May 22, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $55.* The new seasonal routes from Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) include: Boston, Massachusetts via Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) – beginning May 8, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Chicago, Illinois via Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Houston, Texas via William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) – beginning May 22, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Austin, Texas via Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) – beginning May 22, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* The new seasonal routes from Des Moines International Airport (DSM) include: Chicago, Illinois via Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Memphis, Tennessee via Memphis International Airport (MEM) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* Austin, Texas via Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* The new seasonal routes from Gerald R. Ford Airport (GRR) include: Los Angeles, California via Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – beginning June 5, 2020 with fares as low as $66.* Boston, Massachusetts via Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) – beginning May 7, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Austin, Texas via Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) – beginning May 22, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* The new seasonal routes from McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) include: Boston, Massachusetts via Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) – beginning May 8, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Houston, Texas via William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Chicago, Illinois via Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Austin, Texas via Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) – beginning May 22, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* Myrtle Beach, South Carolina via Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) – beginning June 6, 2020 with fares as low as $44.* The new seasonal routes from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) include: Knoxville, Tennessee via McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Asheville, North Carolina via Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) – beginning May 22, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Savannah, Georgia via Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) – beginning May 28, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* Destin / Fort Walton Beach, Florida via Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) – beginning June 5, 2020 with fares as low as $33.* The new seasonal routes to Savannah International Airport (SAV) include: Belleville, Illinois via MidAmerica St. Louis Airport (BLV) – beginning June 6, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $55.* Houston, Texas via William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) – beginning May 28, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $33.* Chicago, Illinois via Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) – beginning May 21, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $33.* Punta Gorda, Florida via Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) – beginning June 6, 2020 with fares as low as $44.* Newburgh, New York via New York Stewart International Airport (SWF) – beginning May 20, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* The new seasonal routes to Norfolk International Airport (ORF) include: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania via Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $44.* Columbus, Ohio via Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK) – beginning May 22, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $44.* Nashville, Tennessee Via Nashville International Airport (BNA) – beginning May 22, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $44.* The new seasonal routes to Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) include: Nashville, Tennessee via Nashville International Airport (BNA) – beginning May 22, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $44.* Norfolk, Virginia via Norfolk International Airport (ORF) – beginning May 21, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $44.* Memphis, Tennessee via Memphis International Airport (MEM) – beginning May 21, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $55.* The new seasonal routes to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) include: Boston, Massachusetts via Logan International Airport (BOS) – beginning May 14, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $33.* Dayton, Ohio via Dayton International Airport (DAY) – beginning May 14, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $55.* Houston, Texas via William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) – beginning June 5, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $33.* Chicago, Illinois via Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) – beginning June 5, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $33.* Newburgh, New York via New York Stewart International Airport (SWF) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* The new seasonal routes from Memphis International Airport (MEM) include: Des Moines, Iowa via Des Moines International Airport (DSM) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* Palm Beach, Florida via Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania via Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* Cincinnati, Ohio via Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) – beginning May 22, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* The new seasonal routes from Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) include: Providence, Rhode Island via T.F. Green Airport (PVD) – beginning June 5, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* Knoxville, Tennessee via McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) – beginning June 6, 2020 with fares as low as $44.* Elmira, New York via Elmira Corning Regional Airport (ELM) – beginning June 6, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* The new seasonal route from Louisville International Airport (SDF) to Charleston International Airport (CHS) begins May 22, 2020 with fares as low as $55.* The new seasonal route from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ) begins June 4, 2020 with fares as low as $66.* Flight days, times and the lowest fares can be found only at Allegiant.com. *About the introductory one-way fares: Seats and dates are limited and fares are not available on all flights. Flights must be purchased by Feb. 12, 2020 for travel by Aug. 15-17, 2020, depending on route. Price displayed includes taxes, carrier charges & -government fees. Fare rules, routes and schedules are subject to change without notice. Optional baggage charges and additional restrictions may apply. For more details, optional services and baggage fees, please visit Allegiant.com.

    Travel Tips

    35 Tips for a Successful Flight

    9 Smart Ways to Keep Kids Entertained SCULPT A MASTERPIECE My daughter had a great idea to keep her five-year-old (and the rest of us) entertained. She brought a roll of aluminum foil, and we spent hours "sculpting" hats, flowers, wings, and anything else we could imagine. The time flew by, and it was a breeze to clean up. Honey Pettigrew, Danville, Calif. SCULPT ANOTHER MASTERPIECE When I travel with my kids, I always stow a package of colorful pipe cleaners in my carry-on. Being creative and twisting them into various shapes keeps them busy for hours. The best part? Pipe cleaners aren't messy or loud, and they don't take up a lot of space. Meghan A. Usmani, Queensbury, N.Y. GO ON A SCAVENGER HUNT To keep my three kids quiet while flying or on a road trip, I created the Magazine Scavenger Hunt. I look through three different magazines and find an item for each to look for, such as a lady with green shoes or a cherry pie. You can customize the difficulty level for any age. Each time, the winner gets a quarter, second place a dime, and third place a nickel. Sure, the game costs a bit of money, but we then use their prizes as souvenir money. Tiffany Bloshenko, Dallas CHANNEL YOUR INNER MARY POPPINS Nothing quiets children faster than a new plaything! So before taking a trip with the kids, I spend $20 for 20 toys at the dollar store. I take out one at a time, and when the thrill is gone I take out another. The plane ride is over before they know it! The toys also come in handy for other children on the plane.  A dollar is worth it to stop a crying child three rows up! Cheryl Dela, Buffalo, N.Y. ... OR YOUR INNER JIM HENSON When there's a fussy kid near me on a plane, I tear out a page from the in-flight magazine and fold it into a puppet—the same design as the paper fortune tellers we made when we were kids—and then draw on two eyes. The little ones are usually so amused that they stop kicking the seat in front of them, giving me—and their parents—a much-needed rest. Toby O'Brien, Hurricane, Utah MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE NEIGHBORS Before I took my son on his first flight, I printed out stickers saying: "I'm sorry if I'm a little fussy. This is my first flight, and it's a bit overwhelming. My parents are doing the best they can, and they appreciate your patience. Owen, 8 months." I attached the stickers to candy bars that I gave to nearby passengers. We all enjoyed the flight! Carrie Rodriguez, Beaverton, Ore. FINISH UP YOUR HOMEWORK My kids often end up doing homework on the plane. To avoid having to pack a lot of paper in my carry-on, I create a makeshift dry-erase board by mounting a plastic sheet protector on a piece of cardboard. We slip math problems inside and work them out with dry-erase markers. We can wipe the surface clean and retry as many times as necessary without wasting paper. Gloria Carion, Cincinnati KEEP YOUR KIDS DISTRACTED My child receives countless goodie bags at birthday parties. I stow the small toys (crayons, stickers, games) away for when we fly. They're the perfect size for carry-ons, and we don't care if they get lost. Onboard, I can dole them out and prevent those "terrible twos" tantrums. Susan Goldman, Beverly Hills, Calif. TENT YOUR TODDLER For quiet time on a plane, clip one end of an airline blanket under the top of the folded-up tray and the other end under the headrest (behind the child). Voilà: You have a "tent" that lets your toddler take a better nap on the plane. We put this together one night when we were stuck on a runway for almost six hours, and it saved a very bad travel day. My child rarely naps anymore, but he still asks for an airplane tent, if only to play inside. Roy Youngblood, Chicago, Ill. 14 Tricks for Relaxing While You're in the Air GET A MASSAGE Treat yourself to a golf-ball foot massage. During a long flight, or afterward in your hotel room, take off your shoes, put a golf ball on the floor, and roll it under your foot. It's a great stress reliever. Practice a bit before you try it on a plane, so that your ball doesn't go rolling down the cabin, tripping other passengers. Dawn Yadlosky, Centerville, Ohio TAKE A NAP On long flights, I bring a one-gallon plastic bag with a large safety pin stuck through the corner. I put my eyeglasses case, a small hearing aid pouch, a deflated neck pillow, and some sleeping pills into the bag and pin it to the seat in front of me. When I'm ready for some sleep, I take out and inflate the pillow, swallow a sleeping pill, and place my eyeglasses and hearing aids inside the bag. I never have to worry about sitting on or losing my glasses and aids. Stewart Woodward, Lafayette, Colo. BLOCK OUT THE NOISE To block out noise on a long flight or in a noisy hotel, I downloaded an 80-minute white-noise track from iTunes onto my iPod. I keep the track on repeat, and it works wonders. It was only $10—which is much cheaper than a sound machine or noise-canceling headphones—and since it's on my iPod, I don't have to pack anything extra. Kim Paschen, Philadelphia, Pa. VISIT THE SPA FROM YOUR SEAT Flights tend to dry out my skin and sinuses, so I always pack a rolled-up washcloth in my carry-on. During the flight, I ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water, then dip the washcloth and place it over my face. Breathing in the steam helps my sinuses, and the warm, damp cloth hydrates my skin. Meekyung Chung, West Bloomfield, Mich. TAKE A BREAK FROM EVERYONE I like to sleep on the plane, but I don't like how eye masks block everything out. Instead, I wear sunglasses. They still shut out much of the harsh airplane light, making it easier to sleep, but I can also see around me when I need to. Even better, people don't bother me because they can't tell if I'm asleep or not. Katherine Boury, Seattle WEAR YOURSELF OUT I always try to work out before heading to the airport. It usually gets me tuckered out enough that I can relax and sleep on the plane. If I don't have time for pre-travel exercise, I take a brisk walk through the terminal before boarding or find a quiet spot in an empty gate and practice a little yoga. Kimberly Gilbert, Raleigh, N.C. PACK A PILLOW Therm-a-Rest's Compressible Pillow is perfect for the plane. It comes in three sizes, packs smaller and expands bigger than any other pillow, and is machine-washable. Whenever I pull mine out of my carry-on, I get jealous stares: People always ask where they can get one. REI sells the pillows for $15 to $25, depending on the size (rei.com). Sheila Lauber, Anderson Island, Wash. BRING YOUR OWN LINENS They're useful in a million different ways. Obviously a soft cotton pillowcase makes those scratchy airplane pillows bearable, but it can also be used to gather loose items when deplaning. A nice sheet will cover up an ugly bedspread or sofa, and makes a great tablecloth or picnic blanket. Dori Egan, Pleasant Hill, Calif. TAKE A "BATH" For long, overnight flights, pack a dry washcloth in a Ziploc bag in your carry-on. Right before landing, ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot (not boiling) water. Very carefully pour the water into the Ziploc bag and then wipe your face and hands with the steaming cloth. It's like having a portable sauna! Henrietta Scarlett Ober, Rexford, N.Y. PAMPER YOURSELF Create your own comfort kit—the kind that a few international airlines still give their first—and business-class passengers. Fill a Ziploc bag with some lip balm, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, a small bottle of hand lotion, a sleep mask, a pair of socks, and some eye drops. Don't forget to bring a bottle of water, too. Carolyn Whitman, Gulf Breeze, Fla. HAVE A BALL I always pack an inflatable beach ball in my carry-on for long flights. When I'm ready to sleep, I just blow it up, put it on my tray table, and curl over it to sleep. I don't have to worry about my head bobbing from side to side as I sleep, and I never have a sore neck when I wake up. Connie Race, Tooele, Utah HAVE A BALL, TAKE TWO A beach ball can replace many expensive in-flight gadgets. Depending on how much you inflate it, the ball can function as a very comfortable footrest, as back support, or as a lap pillow to support your book. Dorothy Vincent, New York, N.Y. REST YOUR FEET Many airlines give passengers socks to wear on long international flights, but we all know what a sad mess airplane lavatories can be after a few hours. I keep a pair of rubber-soled slippers in my carry-on and slip them on as soon as we're airborne. My feet stay comfortable during the flight and dry when I use the lav. When it's time to take them off, I slip them into a plastic bag (usually one of the free laundry bags found in the hotel room closet) and tuck them away till my next flight. Lori Lamb, Peoria, Ariz. DON'T MIND THE MIDDLE The middle seat isn't always awful. On a recent trip overseas, I called too late to confirm an aisle or window seat. After explaining the plane's AB-CDEFG-HI configuration, the customer service agent urged me to take the very middle seat, E, because D and F have less footroom. (In some rows, there are metal boxes underneath the seats in front of you that house wiring for onboard electronics.) I went along with her advice somewhat skeptically, but I ended up with plenty of room. The people on either side of me weren't so lucky. Audrey Ting, Secaucus, N.J. 9 Tips for Staying Healthy In Transit WIPE GERMS AWAY Are you tired of catching colds while traveling? Take along a travel-size package of Clorox wipes. Disinfect the tray table and armrests on the airplane, and the telephone and TV remote in your hotel room. Sherill Hacker, Williamston, Mich. EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST I always bring a packet of instant oatmeal in my carry-on bag during morning flights. Then I simply ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water, and I have an easy and healthy breakfast on the plane. Christina Tuff Saull, Washington, D.C. KEEP CHEWING If you worry about clogged ears when you're flying, bring along an apple. When you feel the plane begin to descend—about 25 minutes before arrival—eat your apple. The chewing and swallowing will keep your ears in good shape. I'm an airline pilot, and I always bring a couple of apples and have a flight attendant give them to passengers who complain of ear problems. They work every time! Capt. Mike Filippell, Tower Lakes, Ill. COOL OFF IN STYLE Now that airlines serve either snack boxes or no food at all, we often pack sandwiches. I also like to freeze a bunch of grapes and place them in a freezer bag. They'll keep your lunch or dinner cold, and you'll have a snack when they defrost. Patricia Spillane, Warwick, R.I. KEEP IT CLEAN On a flight to New Zealand, the pilot informed us that the aircraft cabin was pressurized to 8,000 feet above sea level. This became apparent when I opened my dinner container of yogurt and had its pressurized contents spray all over me! Place a napkin over containers (salad dressing, condiments, etc.) as you open them—or point them toward the nearest offending seatmate. Guido Hara, San Luis Obispo, Calif. BRING A BRUSH I always like to brush my teeth on long flights, but with the new carry-on restrictions, I thought it would be a problem. Then I found Eco-DenT tooth powder at Whole Foods (along with Burt's Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar). You can carry both products on board. Anna J. Ware, Atlanta, Ga. FRESHEN UP For overnight flights, pack a few Dove Body Refreshers and Oral B Brush-Ups in your carry-on. Before the plane lands, you can "wash" your face and "brush" your teeth, leaving you refreshed and ready for the day! Janice Pruitt Winfrey, Atlanta, Ga. AVOID MOTION SICKNESS Besides being a tasty treat, candied ginger is a preventative or remedy for motion sickness. (Some cruise ships even offer it with after-dinner mints.) We always carry a small supply with us in a resealable plastic bag, whether we're on the road, in an airplane, or at sea. Weyman Lew, San Francisco, Calif. BREATHE EASY If the dry, recycled air on planes makes you stuffed up, take a half-dose of moisturizing nasal spray, such as Afrin, before you board. The spray keeps your nose from drying out and overproducing its own moisture (which is what causes stuffiness). My doctor recommended this trick. Karen Van Brunt, Issaquah, Wash. 3 Most Popular Ways to Pass the Time RESEARCH YOUR DESTINATION Ask your flight attendants for dining, lodging, shopping, and sightseeing advice. Most crews have up-to-the-minute recommendations gleaned from layovers, which they're more than happy to share with passengers. You can count on flight attendants to seek out budget treasures—I know; I've been married to one for over 21 years! Fred Manget, Potomac Falls, Va. CATCH UP ON YOUR FAVORITE SHOW I download TV shows to my iPod to watch while I fly. I was having trouble figuring out a way to watch hands-free until I discovered that the plastic cups that airlines serve drinks in are the perfect size and shape to prop up an iPod. Put a cup on your tray table and place the iPod inside; the screen will be just above the lip-the perfect position. Everyone I've shown this trick to says it works great. Kristi Wright, Norman, Okla. READ A CLASSIC BOOK Download free audiobooks online. Before my last long flight, I went to LibriVox.org and chose a bunch of books, short stories, and poems to download to my iPod-for free. The site has both adult and children's books (Pride and Prejudice, A Little Princess, The Call of the Wild), and the list is growing. All of the titles are in the public domain and they're read by volunteers, so there's no question of copyright infringement. Even if you don't own an iPod, you can download them to your computer and burn them onto a CD. Diane Bowman, Huntington Beach, Calif.

    Inspiration

    The Inspiration Behind Some of Our Favorite Reader Photos

    In every issue of Budget Travel, we feature one of the best reader photos on our back page. Now, see the stories behind them. Madison, WisconsinThe University of Wisconsin students have a real sense of humor. Their Lady Liberty on the Lake prank is a classic image of Madison that has made it onto postcards all over the city. During the summer, I'm usually sailing on Lake Mendota, but when it's five below zero, you've got to take advantage of it, too. So one February, I decided to see it for myself. I took this shot from the Memorial Union Terrace, but I actually went out on the lake and took some close-ups as well. I know how deep the water is and it was completely disorienting to be walking on it. I've live here for 35 years, but sometimes you need to look at your own hometown through a tourist's eye.—Cliff Koehler, Madison, Wis. Top tip: When you shoot a larger-than-life landmark, include people in the frame to emphasize the dramatic scale. Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, JapanPhotography is very popular in Japan—sometimes it's hard to find a place to stand because you're surrounded by photographers. I'd managed to find a spot to shoot the stage performance at our town's annual flower festival when I saw a bunch of little girls dressed in kimonos, shouting and chasing one another. It definitely caught my attention—the Japanese are usually very reserved. So while the rest of the photographers were looking at the stage, I had these girls all to myself. It was pretty spontaneous.—Diana Ni, Iwakuni, Japan Top tip: To adjust for bright light, aim at a less sunny spot, push the shutter button halfway, and hold it. Then frame your subject and shoot. Mekong Delta, VietnamNo matter where you go in this country, you get an amazing palette of greens. From the rice paddies of the north to the jungles of the south, the color carries through—it's Vietnam's common thread. When you're on your way from Ho Chi Minh City to Ben Tre, deep in the delta, the Mekong is so expansive that it almost feels like a big lake. Then you turn into one of these tributaries, and you're in the middle of a tunnel of foliage. In this photo, the limitations of my point-and-shoot actually helped: As the camera tried to focus on the light, it created dark, blurred edges, which better conveyed the mood. The light streamed in through the canopy, and suddenly, you could see a path filled with water taxis and hte mostly older women who pilot them. They're stone-faced and businesslike, just doing their thing.—Steven Cypher, Pittsburgh Top tip: Don't be afraid of negative space! Try surrounding your subject with a dark or an empty frame to make the focal point pop. Havana, CubaI'd always wanted to go to Cuba to see the old cars and buildings, but I wasn't prepared for the amazing atmosphere of Havana's town squares: men playing instruments, ladies dancing, horse carts waiting to pick up passengers. When I travel, I tend to avoid portraits—landscapes can't make a fuss!—but when I saw this lady, I had to take her picture in front of this yellow wall. She spoke no English, and I don't speak Spanish well, so we used hand signals. She was silent the entire time, but her eyes were so playful and feisty as she pulled this fan out of nowhere and began showing off. Her expression drew me in—not unlike the dancers in the street who reeled in strangers to join them.—Giovanna Tucker, London. Top tip: When taking portraits outside, use the flash to light faces evenly; sunlight can often leave one side in shadow. Ehukai Beach Park, Oahu, HawaiiBelieve it or not, I'm petrified of water—I don't know how to swim and could drown in a bathtub. But photographing water fascinates me, which is why I come back to Oahu's North Shore year after year. As long as I keep my distance. I'm just fine, but I've taken out an insurance policy on my photography equipment! I took this shot in the late afternoon with the sun behind me so that the image wouldn't be blown out from the glare. Sometimes, I'll set the camera on continuous shooting mode and take several at once, following the wave from a swell to its final break. You have to be patient—you never know what you'll see. I've witnessed 30-foot walls of water. I've seen the pipeline when it was a graceful barrel, and I've seen it when it was the way it is in this shot—disheveled, unruly, ever-changing.—Diane Glatzer, Brooklyn, Ohio Top tip: Set your camera to a faster shutter speed. It will freeze the action of hte water so you can capture every droplet in the air. St. Paul's Cathedral, LondonI was interviewing for a job in London, and my potential employers flew me in for one day of meetings, with a flight home the next morning. Since I'd never been to the city, I treated myself to a quick tour. Suddenly, something very London occured: It started to pour. I happened to be passing St. Paul's Cathedral, so I dove in to escape the rain. I hadn't planned to stop, but because I was already inside, I decided to climb the famous dome. On the way up, I glanced out the windows. The sun had started to come out and the rain was clearing, so I ran the rest of the way to catch the view while I had the chance. The light was breathtaking, as the clouds cast geometric shadows on the square below. It didn't last long—the rain picked back up almost immediately. Little did I know you could stumble on such a great way to see the city.—Sheila Cherry, Columbus, Ohio. Top tip: Cloudy days can make for muted photos. Use iPhoto or Windows Live Photo Gallery to adjust contrast and make colors pop. Boyce, VirginiaThere were easily 100 photographers at the annual Shenandoah Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival—I have pictures of other photographers just jockeying for position. I got one great shot of a big red-and-purple balloon, but at a certain point I just gave up and was walking away when I spotted this dog. It had drifted up a little valley, and I realized if I could get to the right spot it was going to float directly in front of the sun. The thing about those balloons is that they're beautifully illuminated if you can get the light right behind them, and I managed to capture this just as the sun peeked out from behind the leg. It wasn't until I got home that I discovered exactly what I had.—Rick Collier, Reston, Va. Top tip: Don't sleep in. Sunsets get all the glory, but the golden light of sunrise lends photos crispness. (As do morning frost and fog.) Eiffel Tower, ParisTen years after my first trip to Paris, my mother and I returned to mark the anniversary. For almost the entire trip, the sky was cloudy and gray, and by the last day, we'd given up hope of snapping that Perfect Photo. Somewhat defeated, we sat on a bench near the Eiffel Tower. Just then, the sun emerged, and with it, out came the Parisians! With only one bar left on my camera's battery, this ended up being my last picture of the trip. Everyone takes the classic vertical shot to fit the whole tower in the frame, but that way, you miss so much life below it. I chose to focus on just the base to capture the Frisbees, the cotton candy, the tourists in line. I've still never made it to the top—I'm too distracted by what's going on underneath.—Lauren Meshkin, El Segundo, Calif. Top tip: Avoid using the LCD screen, flash, or timer unless you need them for the shot. They draw serious charge from your battery. Easter Island, Chile. There is such mystery surrounding the moai of Easter Island. These monoliths date back at least 500 years and were somehow scattered by the hundreds across this South Pacific island. On an around-the-world trip, my wife and I made a point to visit the iconic stone statues, but we wanted to capture them in a unique way. To achieve this shot, we created a whole theater out there in the middle of the night. I set my camera to a 30-second exposure, while three others in our group "painted" the moai with the beams from their flashlights, leaving the statues perfectly bathed in light. The setting, on the other hand, required no special effects. Because there are no big cities on the island and thus no light pollution, there were more stars in the sky than I had ever seen in my life.—Andy Coleman Top tip: At night, it's difficult for digital cameras to auto-focus on faraway items. To compensate, set to manual and focus to infinity. Bali, IndonesiaI've always been struck by that classic image of Balinese women carting mountains of fruit on their heads. On a recent trip to the island, our hotel manager in the tourist town of Ubud told us about a Hindu festival in his village 30 minutes away, and I jumped at the chance to go. The event didn't disappoint: The priests, the men gambling, the gamelan music—and we were the only foreigners there. Wandering down the road, I came upon this duo headed toward the temple, carrying offerings to be blessed by a Hindu priest. They never stopped walking, and I never said anything. Undistracted, they exuded such a natural calm and beauty. I felt as if I'd been waiting my whole trip for exactly this shot.—Judi Fenson, San Diego, Calif. Top tip: For portraits of people in motion, leave space in the frame for the subject to move toward. It feels more realistic and unposed. Coney island, Brooklyn, N.Y. I've been visiting Coney Island since I was a child, but I've never been a huge fan of rides. I go for the ambiance. There's something thrilling about watching tourists scream for their lives. On this particular June day, I was just wandering around eating a shish kebab, enjoying the warm weather. Right as I was about to leave, I found myself under the Brooklyn Flyer, just as the ride—and the screams—started up. I was able to capture the scene from an unexpected angle, and now, every time I look at it, I can't help but feel a bit queasy, as if I were in one of those seats!—Jorge Quinteros, Queens, N.Y. Top tip: Avoid blur when shooting fast-moving objects by using your "action" setting (look for a running man icon). Potala Palace, Tibet As a child I saw Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama's former home, on a postcard. After that, I always dreamed of visiting it. In 2005, my wife and I arranged a trip to Tibet, and I finally got my chance. We arrived at the palace at midday, and the contrast between old and new immediately struck me: the traditionally dressed Buddhist monk using a digital camera; the sparkling new fountains in front of the 17th-century building. The scene was undeniably contemporary, but somehow it was just as wistful and aged as the postcard I saw all those years ago.—Jackson Ng, San Francisco, Calif. Top tip: You should generally use a flash for shots in high sun. It pops the foreground and eliminates shadows. St. Peter's Basilica, RomeA few years ago, my husband and I took our first trip to Rome. Because of a nasty flight delay, we were completely exhausted by the time we reached our first stop, the basilica; we hadn't slept in about 36 hours. The church was predictably crowded—people were going this way and that, gawking at the ceiling, taking photos—but at the same time, it was nearly silent. These amazing beams of late-afternoon light poured through the oculus, and you could feel a palpable presence in the room. Even now, we look at this picture and both get the chills. —Jennifer and Marty Flinn, Lompoc, Calif. Top tip: When you can't use a tripod, squeeze your elbows into your chest for support, inhale, exhale, and shoot. Brooklyn Bridge, New York CityThis photo is all about what you can't see: the New York skyline. Unlike in other cities (say, fog-filled San Francisco), Manhattan's skyscrapers are almost always visible, no matter the weather or vantage point. But when this blizzard hit about 10 years ago, everything seemed to just disappear. To capture the moment, I grabbed my camera and headed across the Brooklyn Bridge. Without the lights of the city, it felt like another world. These four people were the only ones I saw. Collectively, it was as if we were members of a secret and privileged club—and no one else on earth knew we were there. —Martrese White, Portland, Ore. Top tip: For low-light shots, stabilize shaky hands with a tripod. Also use your camera's timer to minimize unnecessary jostling when snapping the shutter. Sintra, PortugalMy husband, our two teenage daughters, and I were on a weeklong camping trip in Portugal about a year ago, and we stopped in Sintra, a medieval hill town of castles and alleyways about 30 minutes northwest of Lisbon. While everyone else set off in search of a bakery, I took a blissful walk on my own. Down a side street, I spotted two musicians playing bandoneones while a couple danced slowly, like they were completely in love. If I could explain Sintra with just one picture, this would be it: romantic, timeless, and enchanting. —Miriam Cinquegrana, Tappan, N.Y. Maui, HawaiiIn April, my girlfriend and I went to Maui, where I signed up for a motorized hang-gliding flight off the Hana coast. After strapping in at Hana Airport, the guide and I rose to about 4,000 feet. At that point, he cut the engine, and we drifted down. Below, I saw the waterfalls at Oheo Gulch, a full-circle rainbow, and the black-sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park. My adrenaline was pumping the whole time. It may have been the altitude, sure, but it was also thrilling to see the island in a way that so few visitors get to. —David Shrader, Bothell, Wash. Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, ParisIn February, my friend and I added a two-day Paris layover to our return flight from India. While climbing the steps of Sacré-Coeur, I spotted a group of schoolchildren, each clutching a balloon. Their excitement was palpable; something was definitely about to happen. Sure enough, their teacher gave a signal, and the children released the balloons with a high-pitched chorus of "au revoir!" Neither of us speaks much French, so we never figured out what the event was all about, but somehow the mystery made the scene that much sweeter. —Jen McDonald, Nashville, Tenn. Oia, Santorini Island, GreeceIn September 2008, I went to Oia, on Greece's Santorini island, with my mother-in-law and two friends. I'd planned the getaway carefully, but somehow I forgot to pack my swimsuit, so I picked up a bright-pink bikini in Athens. It's the kind of thing I would never normally wear; it doesn't cover much. One afternoon, we came back to our vacation rental, the Oia Riva Villa, and hung our suits up to dry. Something about the color of the two-piece against the whitewashed walls struck me. In the early evening light, this little scene perfectly captured the essence of our trip. —Lara Dalinsky, Alexandria, Va. Plaza de Armas, Cuzco, PeruAfter a full day of sightseeing in Cuzco, my girlfriend, Brittany, and I were exhausted. To catch our breath—literally, since the city sits at 11,024 feet—we retreated to the second-floor balcony of La Retama restaurant. Toward the end of the meal, I put down my pinot grigio and spotted this inverted reflection of La Compañía church in my glass. I started snapping photos, and this shot was the best of five. It captures the spirit of the moment and will always remind me of a life-changing trip. —Thomas Cox, Lexington, Ky. Lake Atitlán, GuatemalaOn my second day in Panajachel, a town on the northern shore of Guatemala's Lake Atitlán, I got up around 5 a.m. to prowl around. The lake is normally very busy with boats, but at this hour, it was deserted, save for this solitary fisherman rhythmically casting his net. It seemed he'd been out on the water long before the sun came up, and I got the impression that he'd be there for hours more. I didn't plan this shot, but he happened to move just where I wanted him to be. —Rebecca Wilks, Peoria, Ariz. Piazza della Rotonda, RomeOn our first day in Rome, my partner, Anthony, and I set out to see the city's ancient monuments. There was so much activity—couples kissing on the Spanish Steps, tourists crowding the Trevi Fountain, nuns snapping photos with their cell phones. After a long walk, we stopped for dinner as the sun set over the Fountain of the Four Rivers, and at sundown, we started to retrace our steps. In the darkness, everything was still buzzing, but it was somehow hushed—reverent, even. Locals and visitors sat at cafés outside the Pantheon, taking it in and perhaps imagining the millions of people who have shared this same experience. —Timothy State, Chicago, Ill. Just back from a trip? Upload your pictures to BudgetTravel.com, and we just might feature one on our back page.

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