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Been there, done that!

Dear Readers: As a world traveler, I've learned a few tricks and tips to help you stay safe and sound on a trip to any part of the world.

Believe me, I've accumulated a lot of frequent-flyer miles, so perhaps I can save you from some awkward moments.

• If you're on a flight, boat or train and motion sickness is a problem, try a drink of half ginger ale and half club soda. It will help with the nausea.

• Learn to travel with one suitcase (25 or 28 inches) and one carry-on. Life will be much easier with less to carry.

• Forget to pack something? Check with the hotel before running to the drugstore. Many housekeeping departments have extra toothbrushes, razors, etc., and they're usually free.

• If it requires ironing, you're better off not packing it.

• Stick to one basic color, such as black, gray or navy blue, then take other items that complement that color. Example, a navy pantsuit with pink or red blouse/tie.

• When you're in a foreign country, ask locals where they eat dinner or lunch, and give it a try.

• In your carry-on, always pack sunscreen, a hat, a few basic toiletries, any medications you take, a pair of flip-flops or a pair of foldable slippers, a photocopy of your passport, camera charger and some clean underwear. You'll thank me if your luggage is lost!

-- Heloise

Send a great hint to:


P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise@Heloise.com

Almost free

Dear Heloise: With so many hotels, restaurants and amusement parks going up in price, I've found some free or inexpensive things to do with my children this coming summer:

• There's always the beach at the ocean or a public lake. Pack a lunch with fresh fruit and sandwiches, and you have an all-day excursion.

• Visit a neighboring town that's having some kind of event or festival. New sights and sounds are always fun.

• Contact a local library to see what it offers. Some have free summer reading programs that include workshops, movies, theater for children, puppet shows and much more.

• Plant a garden together. It's also a learning session for kids to see where their food comes from, and kids can pick the things they grow and eat them.

• See a movie. Many theaters have family-friendly movies on weekday mornings for kids at greatly reduced prices.

• Some of the chain hardware stores have free workshops on the first Saturday of the month for kids to make a craft that they can keep.

-- Samantha E., Evansville, Ind.

Math lesson

Dear Heloise: Here's a great way to get your kids interested in math: Give them some money ­-- not too much -- then take them to a dollar store and let them buy what they want, but do not give them additional funds. They can spend only what they have.

It's amazing how fast they learn math as they calculate what things cost with tax. --Mary Beth D., Concord, N.H.