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Hints from Heloise: Tips on making travel reservations

Dear Heloise: On behalf of hotel reservationists everywhere, here are some suggestions for people making hotel reservations:

1. Be sure to speak clearly, on a reliable telephone. If we need to repeat requested information, it slows down the reservation process.

2. Arrange to call from a quiet room. Loud televisions, barking dogs and crying children can create quite a ruckus over the phone.

3. If you need to confer with someone else about your plans while talking with us, please cover the receiver or push the mute button.

4. Most hotels require a credit card to hold reservations. Have this ready when you call, along with a pen and paper to write down your confirmation number.

5. When planning next year's vacation, remember that summer months are peak vacation season. Be prepared for the possibility that the date you want might not be available. Call well in advance and have some alternate dates in mind to avoid disappointments.

6. Also, hotel rates are higher in the summer (and during holidays — H). Please keep in mind that reservationists do not set the room rates — kindly do not berate us if you're unhappy with the prices.

Thanks for sharing these suggestions, which can make vacation planning easier for all who are involved in the process. — Reservationists of America

Happy to help! Your advice goes for hotel, air, train and bus reservations and catalog shopping, too. — Heloise

P.S. Here's a hint: When the agent does a GOOD job or is especially helpful, ask for a supervisor and give the person a compliment. The supervisors usually get complaints, so a good word really goes a long way.

Dear Heloise: I've traveled a lot at my young age of 17, and my souvenirs of choice are key chains.

It has been difficult to present my array of unique key chains, but now I've found an easy and effective way to display them. A simple pushpin board and pushpins are all I needed.

I have a rectangular pushpin board, and I found that placing the key chains horizontally is the most effective use of space. — Allison Marman, Waldorf, Md.

Dear Heloise: Recently, my husband's job changed, so he is home more and now fixes his lunch most days. When he first started making his lunch, he had breadcrumbs all over. This bothered me, so I thought a bit and came to a simple solution — now he uses a cookie sheet with sides to make his lunch on.

After completing his sandwiches, he simply puts the cookie sheet in the sink to be rinsed off. No more crumbs scattered about! — Debbie H., Via E-mail


Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column. © King Features Syndicate Inc.