We all carry around a bag of travel secrets: insider tips gleaned from our adventures—and misadventures—on the road. These secrets are a gold mine: After all, experienced globetrotters know things like the best slip-off shoes for airport security, how to snag a hard-to-get restaurant reservation in an unfamiliar city, or where to buy one-of-a-kind keepsakes.
In 2007, we asked our savvy readers and users to open up their bag of tricks and let us in on their most treasured travel tip in our Travel Secrets Contest. And the response was fantastic. Each month, the T+L community submitted hundreds of secrets, like great snacks to bring on an airplane, the best lightweight clothing, and how to avoid travel mishaps.
We then chose the best secrets from those submissions, along with runner-ups. Each winner received a copy of the books "100 Greatest Trips" and "Best of 2007," along with a year’s membership in the Travel + Leisure Elite Traveler club.
So...what are the winning travel secrets of 2007?Read on to see them. And keep an eye out for more great contests in 2008!
Make a copy of the first page of your passport, and leave it with someone at home in case your passport is lost or stolen.
—Dorothy Bereson, Owings Mills, MD
Ship your clothes to your destination rather than checking bags. Delivery days can be guaranteed; if you schedule your shipment to arrive at your hotel the day before your arrival, you can verify its delivery before departing.
—Michael Trenteseau, Atlanta, GA
For truly authentic souvenirs and presents, shop at local grocery stores. The prices are better than at gift shops, and the selection is often more interesting.
—Pamm Peterson, Lutherville, MD
Always carry $20 (or its equivalent) in small bills, in an easy-access spot like your front pocket. This lets you pay street vendors and taxi drivers easily without flashing your cash around.
—Gina Castellanos, Hialeah, FL
Book flights as early in the morning as you can. It may be harder to wake up, but you'll have a better chance of your plane arriving on time.
—Bernadette Bailey, Hebron, IN
Keep a travel log to record the little things (the street of a breakfast nook you found in London, the name of the wine you fell in love with from a small vineyard in New Zealand) that you might have a hard time remembering.
—Courtney Smith, Newport, RI