Helpful Hints

Posted: March 2, 2018 at 1:42 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: Over the past 12 years, I've worked in airport security and have seen many people who lost or ruined their computers, so I have a few suggestions to help passengers protect their laptops and other electronic devices:

• Never place electronic items in checked baggage -- airlines usually will not reimburse passengers for lost or damaged electronic devices.

• Place laptops in a bin when they need to be X-rayed. Most airports require you to remove the laptop from its carrying case. Keep your electronic devices in sight at all times. Never ask a stranger to look after your items while you run an errand or use the restroom.

• If you do your banking online or have other sensitive information stored on your computer, be sure to store that information on a flash drive or some external hard drive. Be sure that all sensitive information is protected by a password that only you know.

-- Daniel W. in Detroit

DEAR HELOISE: Before long, we'll see an increase in children flying alone, due to summer vacations. There are some restrictions that apply to nearly all airlines. Usually a minimum age is 5, and the maximum age is 12. You may need to provide proof of a child's age. Make certain that you call the airline to find out what is and what is not allowed with an unaccompanied minor. Some of the restrictions are:

• Children typically are allowed only on nonstop flights.

• Children usually are not allowed on the last flight of the day.

• Some airlines will not allow a child on if there is a second carrier involved.

• Generally speaking, children are not charged an adult fare or additional fees.

-- Karen V. in Atlanta

DEAR HELOISE: Is train travel more permissive than air travel when it comes to luggage?

-- Janice R., Omaha, Neb.

DEAR READER: Janice, typically up to three pieces of luggage can be checked without additional fees. Two small carry-ons also are allowed, and two suitcases may be carried on, but the suitcases need to be no more than 28 inches tall and weigh no more than 50 pounds each. However, I urge you to call ahead and inquire in case there have been any changes. All luggage must be tagged with your name and address.

DEAR HELOISE: Two days ago, I was in a pet store watching ferrets play in their glass enclosure. A little boy of about 5 or 6 managed to worm his way in front of me to watch them, too. I asked, "Do you know what those are?"

"Yes," he replied in a knowing voice. "They're bears."

-- A Reader, via email

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

MovieStyle on 03/02/2018