PACKING YOUR BAG
- Fold clothes over a paper towel roll -- that way, they won't crease in your suitcase.
- Slip fabric-softener sheets between your clothes to keep them smelling fresh.
- Put one outfit in your travel partner's suitcase, and vice versa. If luggage is lost, you'll have a change of clothes.
- Stash cosmetics inside resealable plastic bags, then inflate with a straw so nothing will break.
- Before packing your hairbrush, cover it with a thick sock so the bristles won't prick your clothes.
- Leave perfume bottles at home. Soak cotton balls, then put in plastic bags.
- Save leftover mint tins and use them to hold pills, bobby pins and other small items.
- String necklaces and bracelets through straws to keep them from tangling in your suitcase.
- Get a TSA-friendly case, and you won't have to remove your laptop at security.
HANDY TO HAVE
- Stuff a couple of plastic grocery bags in your luggage -- they'll come in handy for storing dirty laundry.
- Pick up a small spray bottle to fill with water -- it'll keep you hydrated and de-wrinkle clothes.
- Pack binoculars, whether you're spending a day at the races or sightseeing in a new city.
- Sneak in your favorite flavored teas. You'll never be stuck with a hotel's or airplane's boring blend again.
- Bring a stack of 20 one-dollar bills for easy tipping.
- Pick up an audio cable with a 3.5-mm jack, and you can connect your MP3 player to a hotel room TV and speakers.
- Pack an audio Y-adapter so you and your travel buddy can enjoy music and movies together.
- Pack a scented candle for your next trip or two -- it'll add a little romance to the hotel room.
- Before a romantic trip, send your favorite wine to the hotel and ask the concierge to have it waiting in your room.
- Use your hair straightener on its lowest setting as a portable clothing iron.
- Take dental floss to sew a button in a pinch.
- Take along a sarong -- you can use it as a skirt, scarf or beach blanket.
- Carry a big scarf on a plane to use as a makeshift pillow or blanket.
WHILE YOU'RE TRAVELLING
- Pass the time on a road trip with the animal game -- one point for every new creature you spot first, three for a roadrunner.
- Travel with an extra cell-phone battery as an emergency backup.
- If your flight is cancelled, call the airline directly. You'll get help much faster than if you wait in line.
- Plot out your itinerary by writing on a laminated map with a wax pencil. The markings are a cinch to wipe off.
- Hotels are cutting back, too. Call and ask if your room with be stocked with creature comforts like a robe.
- When you're in a new city, stop by an independent bookstore. The owners can be full of great local tips.
- When you visit a new place, be sure to snag a bird's-eye view. Ask the local Chamber of Commerce to point you to a lookout spot.
- When you're eating in a new town, dine at the bar. You'll make fast friends with locals.
- To save battery life, remove AAs when storing your camera.
- Free up memory on your camera: Upload pictures to your hotel's computer and transfer them to a USB flash drive.
- Pick up native ingredients as souvenirs.
- Wrap souvenirs in the map you used on your trip.
- Gather postcards on a road trip and laminate them to make placemats.
- Print your photos during a trip and send them to friends as postcards.