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Archive for November, 2007

Welcome MSN Money smartSpending readers!  We’re glad to have you with us!  Now on to the goodies . . .

Some swear they’ve never gotten sick while traveling when using it; others call it a placebo. Just in time for the holiday cold and flu travel season, you can try it yourself for free and decide!

Request a free sample of new Airborne On-the-Go here.

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If you fly often, you know the drill: what (not) to wear, take off your jacket and shoes, empty your pockets, take out your laptop, take out your baggie of travel-sized liquids. If you don’t know at least these five things when you approach the security checkpoint, you are holding up everyone behind you. Your additional 30 seconds, and that of the man behind you and the woman behind him, add up to hours of extra wait time in airport security lines around the world every single day. Here’s what you can do to help.

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1) Apply for a passport. There will soon be few trips Americans can take without one, so don’t be caught unprepared. Now is the best time to apply, before the rush begins again in January for summer travel. They won’t be getting any cheaper either, so there’s no hurt in getting yours now.

2) Snap some passport pictures. These needn’t cost you an arm and leg at your local Walgreens or photo studio. Check out Less Than a Shoestring’s proven tips for taking and printing passport pics yourself. Not only handy when you decide to apply for your passport or you need to have one replaced in an emergency, they are often required when applying for travel visas or for transportation (discount) cards abroad.  Don’t forget:  don’t smile!  (Check out biometric guidelines around the world (US, UK, Finland).)

3) Photocopy your passport. A good copy is essential for speedy replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Put one in each of the suitcases you regularly use (serves double-duty in case you lose your passport OR your luggage), tucked in an internal pocket, then forget about it. For good measure, scan your passport; depending on your paranoia level, keep a copy in a web-accessible email account, with someone you trust, or on the portable media holder/player you’ll be carrying.

4) Make an essential contacts sheet. Put together a Word or Excel document with the collect calling information for your credit card companies, insurance company and bank. Print out and keep with your passport copies in case of wallet theft, blocked ATM usage or a medical emergency.

Smart tips for what to do when emergencies strike abroad can be found here.

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Every Saturday starting December 8, Less Than a Shoestring will be highlighting budget travel posts from around the blogosphere. You want to be in on the action? Submit your travel posts (or encourage your favorite travel blogs to submit) by each Wednesday via Blog Carnival. You can find further details in the “carnivals” tab at the top of the page. I’ve created identical permalinks for submissions in the column on the right. I’m really looking forward to finding and sharing new sources of frugal travel inspiration!

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This week, “Frugal Traveler” Matt Gross of the NY Times details a weekend in Seattle. Again, he has the envy-worth budget of $500 for two days on the town (which I guess makes me a “grunge aficionado” in his book). We’ll look more closely at where his money goes after the jump.

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One of the frustrations of being a tourist is often, well, other tourists. They’re everywhere you go; you can’t get away from them, right? (Now imagine how the locals feel.) In places like Florence, the sheer number of extra bodies between Duomo and Uffizi is simply overwhelming.

It’s not news that by traveling off the beaten path, you’ll run into fewer annoying tourists (like yourself). One of the easiest ways to do this, even in the world’s major cities, is to visit less popular (but no less fun) museums. I was inspired by Sheila over at Family Travel, who has a post on 8 Cool European Museums You’ve Never Heard of. After the jump, you can read my additional 8 picks.

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It seems my whole world is on strike lately, what with not being able to ride the suburban trains here in Berlin or get my almost-daily “Daily Show” fix on the interwebs. It’s no good living 2 minutes from the S-Bahn station or having high-speed when your public servants of transportation and humor refuse to work.

While there is (sadly) nothing I can do about the writers’ strike, I can share a few tips on what you can do to lessen or avoid trouble during the current strikes in Paris and Germany.

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