Dear Readers: I travel a lot across the country (Florida for two speeches, Los Angeles for a TV show and back to my home base in San Antonio for several speeches) for charities, groups and conventions. This January, I was in the Washington, D.C., area for a home-improvement show for several days. Luck was on my side, and a friend gave me an invitation, so I was able to attend the presidential inauguration! Visit my Web site,, for links to the hints I shared on several Washington, D.C., TV shows, plus a few photos.

Here’s my travel hint that I found invaluable on this trip: The PHONE NUMBER of the hotel was not printed on the key-card holder anywhere! Now, I write the phone number on the “envelope” or key-card holder. Many cards have just the hotel chain info on them, as do some of the notepads in the room, which are no help if you need to call the hotel directly. The key is always with me, so if I need the number, I have it. -- Heloise

P.S.: My other travel hotel “key” hint? I drop the key in the holder and put it right on the floor by the door. I always know where it is!



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: How do you tip during happy hour? The food and drinks are at a discounted price, but my server did the same job. Do I tip at the discounted price or regular price? -- Tom in Des Moines, Iowa

Tom, this is a very good question. Tip at the regular price. The server is doing the same job of bringing you food and drinks. If you think he or she did a good job, tipping is how to show appreciation. Trust me, servers do not get paid much per hour!

Another important tip about tipping: I always tip more for breakfast. It’s usually the cheapest meal of the day, but the server is still doing the same amount of work, if not more! How many times do servers come back to refill coffee, and bring more butter or jam? The wear and tear on their feet probably is double or triple other meal times. Tip BIG for breakfast. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: For my son’s birthday party, I had invitations made with his picture on them, with him dressed in an outfit that matched the party theme. I also took photos of him holding a thank-you sign. When I ordered the invitations, I ordered thank-you notes with that picture of him.

After the party, I didn’t have to stress about writing a million thank-you notes. I simply sent out the cards. I don’t know if it is proper etiquette, but it saved me a ton of time while still telling my guests “thank you.” -- Alicia in San Diego

As busy as any mom is, you get an “okay” from me! -- Heloise

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

, King Features Syndicate