Subject: Re: Most Valuable Travel Tips

In many years of travel, I've learned how to deal with many matters during travel and the planning, and they've become second nature to me. What I can mention here may not be the most valuable, but they're things that have come to my attention recently for U.S. travel, all having to do with telephones. I'm not a big phone user, and I've resisted getting a cell phone; some of these would be different for those with wireless connections.

1. I'm used to booking travel online, but now I'll think carefully before giving my work phone number during the booking. I got a telemarketing call at work from a time share affiliated with a hotel chain where I'd made a reservation. Marketers don't get through to me at home, between my being on my state's do not call list and screening calls on my Caller ID and answering machine. It was especially irritating to get this call at work. If I need to be notified that a hotel has had an emergency and closed down or something, they can leave a message on my machine at home.

2. Get a prepaid long-distance phone card, and use it for local calls while traveling. It beats the hotel charges, or paying 50 cents on a pay phone for quick informational local calls.

3. Find out if your hotel has its own toll-free number (not the chain's number). I used this to call a hotel from the airport to get its shuttle van; it beat the pay phone charges or keying in all the numbers for a card call. I haven't tried calling a guest through the toll-free number.

Andrew Missouri