1. Tie a bell to your luggage to thwart thieves
In order to keep track on my bags, I use a small metal ball, the kind dancers from India wear on their ankles. I thread it with fishing line and tie it to my carry-on. If anyone touches my bag after I set it down, the bell chimes. It’s not a very obtrusive sound but is distinctive enough for me to notice if a thief is trying to get my things. You can do the same to the doorknob of your hotel room if you’re worried about security.
Joss Lew, Chesapeake, Va.
2. Be nice to hotel house-keepers and they’ll be nice to you
Depending on the hotel, checkout time is usually around noon. On the last day of my last vacation, I tried to arrange a late checkout, but was told it wasn’t possible. The hotel offered a day room but it was used by other guests with a long queue for the shower. Instead, I went upstairs and noticed that someone was about to clean my room. I asked her if it was possible to have a quick shower before she started. She said she could do something even better, she would start the room next door first and give me even more time.
Joia Lisle, McCall, Idaho
3. Use carabiners to free up your hands
Buy a couple of carabiners—the kind that rock climbers use—and attach them to the top of your wheeled suitcase. Purses, cameras, and shopping bags can be clipped to your suitcase, giving your hands and shoulders a rest while you’re walking around the airport.
John Locher, Arlington, Va.
4. Ziploc now makes extra-large bags with handles
They’re nearly 2’ by 2’, and although Ziploc advertises them as being good for storage, they’re even more useful when you’re traveling. Use one on long shopping excursions and then as an extra carry-on for all your souvenirs.
Joanne Mancini, Beaumont, Tex.
5. 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.
Jessica Martinez, New City, N.Y.
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