Dear Readers: With summer vacations beginning, I thought this would be a good time to share all those little hints that make traveling by car a little easier. Here are just a few that I have found helpful:
URather than carry all of your luggage in and out of the car each night, pack one night bag with essentials needed for each person, and pack "daily bags" with each day's necessities (e.g., clothes, vitamins) -- you can use sturdy shopping bags to carry things in and out.
UEach adult should have a key to the room.
UKeep all keys in the same location -- on the TV, on the floor next to the door, etc.
UCarry packets of instant oatmeal, soup and tea bags, and you can fix a quick meal using heated water from a coffeepot. Keep extra coffee, creamer, sugar or sugar-substitute packets for those times when you need more.
UUse a water bottle -- refill each night and carry during the day. Beats paying for bottled water.
UTake along a small ice chest if there's room. Put plastic bags filled with ice inside to keep items cool but not soggy -- plus you'll have ice water to drink.
UIn a motel, park by your room, and back in if you can, if your room is on the ground level.
UDo not leave anything of value in the car in plain sight. You're just tempting a break-in.
UBefore leaving the hotel or motel room each morning, have one person do a search-and-seek. Go through drawers, behind doors or chairs, under the bed, etc., to make sure nothing is left behind. Don't forget the room safe.
Now it's your turn to send in a travel hint. Take a minute to jot it down, and send it to: Heloise/Travel, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000. I'll send a set of Heloise pamphlets to the top 10 hints that we print. Heloise
Dear Heloise: When you want to donate gently worn clothing, particularly formal wear, military uniforms and men's clothing, don't forget your local high-school theater. For more than 35 years, one of the biggest annual events in our suburban community has been the high-school musical, done on a budget and costumed by parent volunteers. This year, 200-plus students were costumed for "My Fair Lady," including 160 of them on-stage for one scene in black-and-white formal wear. Costume Mom, La Porte, Texas
Dear Heloise: When I was hiking in a mountain stream and needed to protect my digital camera from water and impact on the rocks if I slipped, I solved the problem by putting my camera in a wide-mouth, 1-quart vacuum bottle. The vacuum bottle keeps water out, and its thick, plastic walls absorb shocks. The strap made it easy to carry. A little extra foam in the bottle to take up extra space would protect the camera even more. T.C., Columbia, S.C.
XSend a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax to (210) HELOISE or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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