Dear Heloise: What are the best times to travel? My husband and I want to go to Europe, but my husband hates crowds and waiting in line. -- Eleanor T., Taos, Newico
Eleanor, the best time of year is probably before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. Summer and holidays are generally busy times of the year, with tourists booking hotels and events, and longer lines to visit tourist attractions. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: My wife and I love to travel. We've learned a few things over the years to ensure a safe and fun vacation:
* Buy travel insurance.
* Photocopy all important documents. Carry a copy with you.
* Alert your bank and credit card companies of your plans.
* Carry a bottle of water on the plane and stay hydrated.
This gives us peace of mind so we can enjoy our trip. -- Bill and Emily in San Antonio
Dear Heloise: Please tell me how to clean artificial plants. Mine are dusty. -- Alice G., Saginaw, Mich.
Alice, use a microfiber cloth to dust the leaves. Carefully hold the leaves and gently wipe each one. These cloths are great for dusting just about anything! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Living in Southeast Oklahoma, where it gets very hot, I have tried to limit opening the refrigerator to a minimum. After meals, I gather all the leftovers by the side and place all the items in at one time, thus saving the cold from escaping each time the door is opened. -- Judy H., Soper, Oklahoma
Dear Heloise: I send little gifts to friends and my grandkids. Usually, I don't get any "thank-yous." I know I need to stop sending gifts unless people send a thank-you. I feel bad, because I was raised to acknowledge a gift with a thank-you of some kind. -- Sandy R., Woodland Hills, California
Sandy, good manners are classy and polite. If your grandkids haven't been taught to show a little appreciation with a thank-you, talk to their mother or father and ask why. If you don't get a thank-you by telephone call, email or note card, then stop sending things to the people who do not acknowledge your thoughtfulness. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Our two cats are indoor cats that do not go outside. Both are rescued males that were born to a feral mother. My wife wants to have them neutered and get their shots, but I think that's unnecessary since they do not go outside. What do you suggest we should do? -- Frank J., Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Frank, get your pets neutered and have the vet give them their shots. If one of them got out, it could father a litter of kittens, and the world does not need any more stray kittens. Neutered male cats are usually cleaner and less aggressive. The shots protect your pet from diseases transmitted by other animals. Your veterinarian will let you know which shots you need, then follow his or her advice. -- Heloise