Dear Heloise: When traveling (we camp, but hotel it on the way to distant national parks), we carry a cooler. Rather than fill it with loose ice, I use two to three rinsed-out milk jugs with a large "filling hole" cut out. I retain some of the handle. I fill these with water and freeze, then put them in the cooler. No food floating in water.

As we travel, I pour out the melted water and refill with ice. While camping, we purchase ice and keep the jugs full.

When traveling with children, we eat a hearty meal at noon, then picnic by the pool after we stop for the night. We buy one meal's worth of milk in the late afternoon. This gives kids more swim time, adults time to talk and unwind, saves time and money, and we have a nutritious meal.

Also while traveling, each family member has a wide-mouth, clean canteen or container. We keep these full of ice water — refreshing, healthy and we're not adding to the landfills.

Hope these travel hints help others as much as their hints have helped me.

—Kay Lewis, Dallas

Kay, these are super saving hints that anyone on a road trip can use! Lunch is much cheaper than dinner, and not buying sodas, tea or a glass of milk at a restaurant can save big bucks.

—Heloise

Dear Heloise: I saw a hint in the (Salem, Ore.) Statesman Journal that said to use paper plates to keep jigsaw-puzzle pieces in order instead of the whole box.

Instead, my sister and I use many shoe-box tops to do that, and we never spill any pieces on the floor.

—Renee Grenier, Salem, Ore.

Dear Heloise: In our freezer we have a large, covered plastic container marked "soup starter." We put in small amounts of leftover vegetables after a meal, etc. When the container is full, my husband gets out the large soup kettle and adds the soup starter together with his choice of meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, etc. He makes a very good soup, and it's a bit of a surprise each time because of the contents of the starter.

—Ron and Beatta Gilbertson, Tioga, N.D.

Dear Heloise: I have found the perfect solution to hold the folded bottom of the toothpaste tube in place. The wide but small rubber bands that come on broccoli are perfect. I just take one off of the old tube and put it on the new one.

—Karen, Pearland, Texas


Send a Great Hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax: 210-435-6473; e-mail: Heloise@Heloise

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Dear Heloise: My mother taught us one thing I have never forgotten. When you are going from one room to another, look around to see if anything in that room belongs in the room you are going to. This really cuts down on clutter. To this day, I still do it.

—Mrs. D.M.S., Kirksville, Mo.