Dear Heloise:

Thanks for all your advice -- here's a simple hint for the traveler in the family:

Repack your bag when you return from a trip. The best time to prepare your travel bag is when you've just finished a trip and know what you forgot or have used up. So, refill and/or replace your travel bottles, cosmetics, over-the- counter drugs, toothbrush, toothpaste and basic first-aid items.

Take the battery out of your travel clock and put it and the clock in a self- sealing bag.

When you take out your soiled travel clothes, immediately replace them with a "spare" change of underwear and nightclothes.

A few minutes taken at the end of a trip makes the preparation faster and less worrisome for the next one.

Debby Kraut, Bethesda Dear Heloise:

We belong to a mail-order prescription service through our insurance program. When I order a refill either online or by phone, I note on the bottle the date ordered and the method. That way, I don't forget and order twice, and at a glance I can see when it was ordered and therefore when to expect it. On occasion, it has been lost, and I have dates and info at my fingertips so that I can follow up.

Brenda, Sidney, Ohio

Dear Heloise:

How can I remove gum from hair?

Traci, via e-mail

Yikes! This old problem is still with us. There are several things you probably have in your home that can be used to remove gum from hair. Here's a list:

* peanut butter

* petroleum jelly

* real mayonnaise

* baby oil

* mineral oil

Basically, it's the oily base of these products that loosens the gum and makes it easier to take gum out of hair. Just work one of these products into the area thoroughly until the gum breaks up and loosens -- then it can be removed more easily. Afterward, wash the hair well to remove any traces of the oil or greasy residue.

P.S. Be sure little ones don't have gum in their mouths when they go to sleep!

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state when faxing or using e-mail. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.(c)2002, King Features Syndicate