It’s time for a lesson in Travel 101! Here are some tips to help you handle a few tricky travel situations:

  • Your suitcase zipper won’t zip. If it’s stuck, try rubbing lip balm or bar soap on the teeth to get it moving. If the zipper won’t stay closed, it’s probably because one tiny tooth is out of alignment. So, feel along the zipper until you find the tooth that sticks out. If you can’t squeeze it back into place with your fingers, ask the front desk for pliers. And if the pull-tab came off, add a paperclip, safety pin, or keychain ring to the loop – then zip!

  • You forgot your phone charger. According to a survey of hotel chains, cell phone chargers are the item that guests leave behind most often. So, instead of asking for directions to the nearest Radio Shack, ask if there’s a charger you can borrow from the lost and found.

  • Here’s how to turn most elevators into a direct express to your floor: Simultaneously press and hold your floor number and the “door close” button for several seconds. Once the elevator starts moving, the mechanism will override other requests and go straight to your floor.

  • Carry a dummy wallet. And stick in a few dollar bills, and a couple of the sample cards that come in credit card offers. Christine Sarkis is the senior editor of And she says that in the unlikely event you’re robbed, you can throw the dummy wallet on the ground and run away before the robber realizes they got played.