Dear Heloise: You offer travel hints for families, but what about us single women who want to travel but can't convince anyone else to go with us? Isn't it dangerous to TRAVEL ALONE to foreign countries? — Andrea Y., Pulaski, Tenn.
Andrea, first check with the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs (travel.state.gov) to find out which countries they ask you to stay away from. After that, go online and check out travel sites for suggestions and advice. Traveling alone doesn't have to be terrifying, lonely or dull. You'll meet people, conquer your fears and have a nice time if you let yourself enjoy the experience. There are many misconceptions about solo travelers, but don't let that deter you from seeing the world. — Heloise
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San Antonio, TX 78279-5001
Dear Heloise: Sometimes luggage tags get ripped off or somehow lost. For this reason, I always make sure there is an address label on the handle of my luggage as a backup to prevent lost luggage. — Ellen M., Sun Valley, Nev.
Dear Readers: Can you name the most commonly consumed food in the world? If you guessed "bread," you would be correct. It's also one of the oldest man-made foods. Prehistoric people of the Stone Age are believed to have made a simple bread by crushing grains and mixing them with water to form a paste. This paste was cooked on a heated rock. It's believed that the skilled bread makers of Egypt started adding yeast as far back as 300 B.C. Eventually, refined flour was used, and whole loaves of bread were sold for centuries until sliced bread became popular in the 1920s. — Heloise
LOOK FOR THE PANDA
Dear Heloise: My father-in-law is getting very forgetful and often can't remember in which row he parked his car, especially when there are several cars of the same color that look similar. We placed a small stuffed-toy panda in the rear window to help him locate his car from all the rest, and we put a picture of his license plate on his cellphone. He said it was a tremendous help to him. — Pam in Traverse City, Mich.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
Dear Heloise: You encourage people to travel, but it's money that keeps me here in the U.S. How can I get to Europe if I haven't got a lot of cash to spare? — Rob A., Broken Bow, Neb.
Rob, first write down your monthly expenses. If you need to estimate, go a little higher rather than lower. Deduct that from your monthly income. What you have left over is for "discretionary spending." In order to save for your trip, you might have to start eliminating unnecessary spending, such as buying coffee someplace when you could make a pot at home and carry it to work in a thermos or travel mug. Stop using credit cards — the interest rates are usually high. Cook at home and skip eating out. Consider a roommate to help out with expenses. Buy things secondhand or on sale, and ONLY if you really need them.
Make your next trip your priority. — Heloise