20 Tips

1. 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.

2. Take photos of what you pack. In order to provide any reimbursement for a lost suitcase, most airlines and insurance companies require an itemized list of exactly what was inside it. Unfortunately, remembering everything you packed after the fact is virtually impossible. To avoid the headache, take pictures of the items you're going to put in your suitcase with your digital camera or cell phone. The photos will make creating the list a breeze, and, in the event of a dispute with the airline or insurance agent, you have some visual evidence of ownership. Erica Rounsefell, Mesa, Ariz.

3. Accidentally reformat your camera's memory card? As long as you don't overwrite the disk by taking more photos, those original pictures are still there. Buy another card to use in the meantime, and then, when you get home, either purchase a file-recovery software program (about $35) or take the card to a camera shop and see if they can help. Julie Mancini, Dunnellon, Fla.

4. Keep travel numbers handy. I have the words "hotel" and "taxi" on my cell-phone speed dial. On a trip, I change the numbers, but leave the preprogrammed titles the same--instant access and no more little slips of paper everywhere. Isabel Burk, New City, N.Y.

5. Carry a small calculator. If you plan to do a lot of shopping in foreign markets, it helps to have a calculator. When you find something you like, hand the seller the calculator and ask him to enter his best price. It's easy to convert the response into dollars so you know what you're spending. If necessary, the calculator can be used to haggle, especially if you don't speak the language. Becky Sapp, Arlington, Va.

You can find more tips in the May 2006 issue of Budget Travel magazine.

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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