20 Tips

1. Baby wipes aren't just for babies. Slip a travel-size pack into your carry-on bag and use the wipes to kill germs on public toilet seats and in phone booths. In a pinch, they can also remove stubborn stains from your clothing. Farrah Farhang, Fremont, Calif.

2. Make a travel journal for your kids. Before we went to London, I created a personalized booklet on our computer with fill-in pages like "the new foods I tried were," "best candy," "words I learned," and "most fun/boring museums." Instead of being daunted by lots of blank journal pages, my daughter had a blast answering the questions and filling in all the details. Mary Cronin, Harwich, Mass.

3. Thou shalt not sightsee on the Sabbath. If you plan to visit Prague, and the Jewish Holocaust memorials are on your "must see" list, remember that synagogues close early on Fridays and stay closed on Saturdays. Make sure you aren't there only for the weekend. Joanne Steuer, Los Angeles, Calif.

4. You won't always save by bringing the rental car back early. Alamo has instituted a new early-return policy at all of its locations, designed to discourage customers from returning cars early. If you show up at the lot a day or two ahead of schedule, Alamo will recalculate what you owe them at the daily rate; if it turns out to be less than what you would have paid for the week, they'll charge a $15 fee. Yet another reason to read the fine print on your contract carefully! Beth Ann Finster, Detroit, Mich.

5. Avoid unnecessary minibar charges. While I was reviewing the itemized bill prior to checking out of my hotel, I noticed a $7.50 charge for a beer from the minibar. I was very surprised since I had put my own beverage in the minibar and left the bar's contents as I'd found them. When I disputed the charge, I was told that the minibar was weight-sensitive and that I must have moved things around when I put my own drink in. They removed the $7.50 charge with apologies. William Harwood, Rhinebeck, N.Y.

You can find more tips in the October 2005 issue of Budget Travel magazine.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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