Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Travel Tips From Budget Travel

Smart Traveler's Passport
Even though it came out a few months ago, I just now picked up a copy of The Smart Traveler's Passport: 399 Tips from Seasoned Travelers. A collection of the best travel advice contributed by readers of Budget Travel over the last three years, these tips are sure to make your life easier while traveling.

I'm not going to review the book, (Willy Volk from Gadling wrote an excellent review of it already), but I do want to share 10 of my favorite tips.

1. For long overnight flights, pack a dry washcloth in a ziploc bag in your carry-on. Before landing, ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot (not boiling) water. Carefully pour the water into the ziploc bag and then wipe your face and hands with the steaming cloth. (p. 88)

2. For long road trips, give each child a map with the route highlighted on it. Along the way, they can match up the town names with road signs you pass, and that way, they always know exactly where you are and how much further you have to go until you get there. (p. 93)

3. If you visit a country where you don't speak the language, pick up a book of your hotel's matches or one of its business cards; they usually have the hotel's name and address printed on them. When you want to return to your hotel, show the matchbook or card to the cabdriver if he doesn't speak English. (p. 160)

4. When you are leaving the hotel, bring postcards of the places you want to see. Show them to your taxi driver, and he'll take you to the spot. (p. 164)

5. Read the fine print on your rail pass. You can often use it to save money on other modes of public transportation or museums and hotels. (p. 166)

6. Easily packable, local specialty foods make great gifts for family and friends at home. To save money, be sure to buy them at a local grocery store instead of a gift shop. Hawaiian coffee, British teas, French mustards and vinegars, Italian olive oil are just a few examples. (p. 172)

7. Using restaurant.com, you can buy gift certificates good at eateries in your destination city, regularly snagging $25 certificates for as little as $5 to $8. (p. 179)

8. You'll spend $60.50 per adult to visit both the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park. For $99, an annual membership grants two adults from the same household unlimited admission to both parks for a year, unlimited use of the Skyfari aerial tram, two guest passes, four discount guest coupons, four two-for-one zoo bus tour coupons, and more.  (p. 190)

9. Instead of paying for a tour of New Orleans' French Quarter, join a free, ranger-led walking tour provided by the National Park Service. The one mile walks depart from the NPS Visitor Center at 9:30 daily. Arrive early, because tours are limited to 25 people. (p. 196)

10. Every Thursday and Saturday at noon, the Downtown Alliance (downtownny.com) has free 90 minute walking tours of downtown New York, including the U.S. Custom House and the New York Stock Exchange. (p. 197)

If you haven't yet done so, I highly recommend you pick up your own copy. It's a great resource for travel tips.