‘Leave your knickers at home’: Guardian readers’ top holiday packing hacks | Travel


Take duct tape

I always travel with a roll of bright orange duct tape. If your suitcase lock breaks, duct tape will hold it together. Suitcase cracked? Duct tape to the rescue. Need to label an item as your property? Use duct tape and a Sharpie pen. Small injuries? Secure with duct tape until you can get first aid. Broken sandals? Crank up the style with your luminous duct tape. Believe me, it’s better than anything you’ll find in duty free.
Jimmy Hamilton, retired, Ontario

A mass skinny dip in Hobart, Tasmania – and no one had to pack a cossie.
A mass skinny dip in Hobart, Tasmania – and no one had to pack a cossie. Photograph: MONA/ROSIE HASTIE/EPA

Swim naked if possible

Long-sleeved shirts and trousers are smarter and more useful than shorts and T-shirts. They protect against the sun and insects, and can always be rolled up. A large scarf or shawl is more useful than a hat as it gives shelter from the sun, warmth and privacy when you need it. It can also cover your mouth and nose. Toothpaste tablets are eco-friendly and take up almost no space. Two sets of underwear and socks can be rotated by hand-washing them nightly. PET water bottles that people usually throw away are effectively indestructible and can be left in the sun to sterilise suspect water. Any other water bottle is bulky by comparison. Electronic devices and their support paraphernalia are heavy, so leave them at home and ask locals for information. Don’t bring swimwear if you can possibly swim naked!
Jason, ambulance crew, London

Do laundry on holiday

Laundry soap sheets [little wafers of soap] are my favourite. I use them to wash my “unmentionables” while travelling, which I then hang in the bathroom to dry. This means I can take less underwear. But note: it does not work if you are going to a seriously humid location, as nothing will ever dry. If you are staying in a resort, laundry services are usually included within the cost, so you may as well use them. When I stay in NYC, I’ll find a local laundry service in the neighbourhood as many can do same-day service. It’s well worth the cost in order to save on time and space.
Julie Barton, financial compliance officer, Minneapolis

Prevent leakages

I wish I’d known about this sooner. My contact lens fluid always leaked on plane journeys, but if you put a piece of clingfilm over the open top of the bottle and then screw the lid on over it, there will be no leaks. This works on all bottles. Infallible!
Kathy Doyle, retired, Cheshire

Photograph everything you’re taking

Lay out everything you’re about to pack and take a photo – then you’ll know exactly what’s in your bag and what isn’t. On the last day of your trip, take a photo of everything you’ve used, and everything you haven’t. Print out those photos and stick them inside your suitcase as a reminder to leave that second pair of jeans at home next time you travel. You don’t need them, and won’t wear them.
Adrian, head of marketing, London

Pool your packing

Mix the stuff you’re taking with that of the people you are travelling with, so that everyone has some of everyone else’s clothes. That way, if one of your bags is lost or delayed, everybody will still have at least one set of clean underwear and a change of clothes. I don’t fly that often, but this advice has saved my holiday at least three times.
Jane Cooper, official reporter, Edinburgh

Ditch knickers for bikini bottoms.
Ditch knickers for bikini bottoms. Photograph: Shockpix Premier / Alamy/Alamy

Leave knickers at home

I never take knickers on holiday; I only pack bikini bottoms. I am always ready for a swim without an embarrassing change into swimwear if out in the open without any privacy. As underwear, bikini bottoms wash and dry very quickly so I need fewer pairs.
Mary Rawlinson, retired, Salisbury

Take a spork

Pack a spare pair of glasses inside socks, and then place inside shoes, with underwear. Put your teabags inside your travel kettle to save space. Photocopy the relevant pages in your travel guide, rather than taking the entire book. If you are still sending postcards, put names and addresses into your smartphone. A spork (combined knife, fork and spoon, available from camping stores) is always very useful.
Geraldine Blake, retired, Sussex

Make a spreadsheet

I usually travel to Galicia in Spain at least twice a year to see family and friends, and to stock up at the local delicatessen. After one too many embarrassing airport experiences where I tried to bring back too many books, tinned fish and homemade preserves, my mum and I developed a fail-safe system: we weigh every single item that I might take in my checked luggage, and each item’s weight goes into a spreadsheet. Then, I can decide what to pack to maximise my luggage weight allowance and still take as much Galician food as possible. Everyone I’ve shared this method with thinks we are crazy, but they don’t complain when they get to taste delicious smoked Galician cheese.
Daniel Ovalle Costal, architect, London

Vacuum pack

Use resealable sandwich bags (one per outfit) to create a vacuum pack. Before closing the bag, spritz your favourite perfume on the clothes to save bringing it with you. Label each bag – Monday daytime, Thursday pm, Sunday beach etc – to save the stress of choosing outfits once you arrive, which wastes time when you could be out and about.
Nicoletta Primo, research and policy officer, Edinburgh

Keep rolling

A few years ago, I was packing to leave Vietnam after living there for a year and I could only take one suitcase with me. I tried several ways to maximise suitcase space and it turned out the best method was to tightly roll each piece of clothing, really squeezing them against one another. I think I fitted close to 30 dresses into my suitcase, plus loads of other stuff including a lamp!
Alex Jakob, English teacher, Germany

Take a suction hook

Many places don’t think to provide a hook in bathrooms, or surfaces in the shower on which to put your essentials, so I take a suction hook. You can hang a waterproof wash bag from them and they’re also useful for hanging up a creased item of clothing. The steam from the shower helps remove the creases – coat hangers in hotels are often fixed to the wardrobe.
Adrienne Gilchrist, North Yorkshire

Avoid hard suitcases with wheels

I’m a merchant seaman and travel extensively as part of my job. After 18 years of experimentation I have settled on using waterproof duffel bags that are extremely lightweight yet incredibly strong. I loathe hard-sided suitcases and holdalls; the zips are often very weak and I see so many that have burst open. I don’t bother with wheels as they usually don’t last long and get caught inside baggage conveyors. I secure the zips of the bags with nylon cable ties, and carry spare ties in my hand baggage. I strongly advise taping lids shut on toothpaste, shower gel and shampoo bottles and, for extra security, pack toiletries into plastic zip-lock bags.
Alex Kirkby, merchant seaman, Mansfield

Packing cubes keep suitcases organised.
Packing cubes keep suitcases organised. Photograph: sasimoto/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Fill old film canisters

Use an old 35mm film canister to hold small emergency items: mine is filled with a safety pin, a previously threaded needle, some Imodium and paracetamol tablets, sachets of salt and pepper and a tiny tin/bottle opener.
Michael Wilson, retired, Sheffield

Buy some packing cubes

Packing cubes are a revolution in suitcase organisation. You can get different sizes for different items and the see-through mesh allows you to instantly spot which cube you need depending on what you want. You’ll also have Tetris-style fun arranging/re-arranging them without causing an explosion of your once-neat, tidy and folded stuff as you root around to find what you’re looking for in your case. Beautifully simple organisational order, instead of case chaos. They can also help avoid potential embarrassment if you need to open your case at the airport.
Bernie Stiell, Sheffield



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Use the top 10 best travel hacks to save money


Your love of travel may be directly at odds with how much traveling can cost, from the airfare or other form of transportation to lodgings to fun activities you hope to do once there. And that doesn’t even touch upon the many surprising expenses that crop up when you travel.

Helpful: 13 insider secrets from travel agents that will save you money

Find out: 35 things your hotel will give you for free

Fortunately, experts have a lot of unique hacks for how to save money when you’re booking travel or are already on the road. Here are our top 10 tips.

Search flights in incognito mode

If you want the best chance to find the lowest price on airfare, Rax Suen, a travel blogger, podcast host and founder of Nomads Unveiled, said, “Always clear your web browser cache or use incognito mode if you are checking flight prices multiple times. Some airline websites track your browsing history and will show repeat visitors a different and higher price to cause FOMO (fear of missing out).”

Check out: 40 pandemic airport secrets only insiders know

Use a local sim card to reduce roaming

Since roaming charges for your mobile phone can add up quickly if you don’t have a package, and if you’re not interested in purchasing one through your provider, consider, instead, getting a local sim card for wherever you’re traveling, especially internationally, Suen said.

Travel prep: 10 financial to-dos before going on a trip

Credit card points

Of all the ways to get cheap flights and other travel deals, Alene Laney, a travel writer at Pennies to Paradise, said, “There’s not much that can beat travel hacking with credit card points.”

You can take advantage of flexible point systems like those from Chase, American Express and Citi, and combine them with sign-up bonuses from you and a significant other and end up with free flights and hotels, she said. “I’ve traveled to Paris, The Galapagos, and Bora Bora using points in the last couple of years all on a one-income household budget. It’s a game changer for any family on any income level.”

Options: 10 credit cards to consider for travel rewards

Book a travel bundle

Another way to save on travel costs is to book a travel bundle, said Michelle Halpern, founder and owner of the Live Like it’s the Weekend travel blog. “The best way to save money on your travels is to book your adventure in a bundle or packaged deal such as those offered by Costco.” She said this may eliminate taxes and fees that come with individual bookings, and can often include perks such as free room upgrades and other discounts.

Find out: How to save money on rental cars for your upcoming trip

Be flexible

If you can book your travel on slightly less traveled dates or with less of a fixed destination in mind, you can end up with a fabulous trip for a lot less money, said Zander Buteux, a travel industry executive at VacationRenter. “My number one money-saving tip is to be flexible with your travel plans because it gives you a better chance of getting a better deal…” he said.

He pointed out that flying on a Thursday, for example, instead of a Friday could save you several hundreds, as well as staying at hotels mid-week versus the weekend.

Important: The best and worst airlines for cheap flights

Use flash sites

According to Rose Ackerman, editor of the travel website Family Destinations Guide, you will likely get the best deals by visiting “flash sites” such as Groupon Getaways and Scott’s Cheap Flights. “If you are flexible with your dates and book well in advance, you could save anywhere from 40 percent to a whopping 90 percent on flights alone.”

Check out: Cheap places to travel on $100 a day or less

Airbnb for longer stays

If you have the capacity to stay for a longer trip at your destination, between two and four weeks, Ackerman said that Airbnb offers a “generous discount” on these longer stays. “Apart from the discount the long-term stays at an Airbnb offer, it also adds more of a local flavor to your vacation.”

See: 30 locations with the priciest vacation rentals

Travel off season

If you want to travel well, avoid crowds and pay the best price, Jignesh Gohel, founder of The India, a travel website, encourages off-season travel. “Off-season travel is a great way to save money because…accommodation is not at all expensive [and] easily available, the tickets are cheaper, [and] there are fewer people at tourist spots so you can spend quality time with your family and friends.”

Find out: Things you can get for free in every state

Book flights to a city linked to a major hub

One great hack for cheaper airfare, if your travel involves a major airport hub, is to book a ticket to a city linked to that hub, said Jill Miller, a travel expert with Your RV Lifestyle. “The ticket will be much cheaper and, as you will be routed through the hub anyway, you get off there.”

Watch your wallet: 21 mistakes that can blow your budget while traveling

Alternatives to flying

If you can let go of traveling somewhere by plane, you can save a lot of money by using buses, trains and taxis, said Stephan Jacob, IT lead for a travel agency. He recommended using the websites Rome2rio.com, “a trip planner that maps out all available transportation options between destinations in major cities and countries;” and RideGuru, “an online tool that helps compare taxi and rideshare services so you can find the most economical choice for you.”

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The top 10 best travel hacks to save the most money



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Travel blogger shares five hacks for cut-price vacations including a tip that lets kids go FREE


A TRAVEL blogger has shared five hacks for amazingly cheap vacations, including a tip on how to get kids to fly for free.

In a TikTok video, Christian Grossi revealed just how to start traveling again as Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift in different parts of the world.

Know when to fly

A travel blogger revealed his five hacks for cheap travel

6

A travel blogger revealed his five hacks for cheap travelCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi
Tuesdays are the cheapest days to fly

6

Tuesdays are the cheapest days to flyCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi

“The cheapest day of the week to fly is almost always Tuesday,” Christian explained as he showed off the huge difference in prices between the weekdays. “With Wednesday not far behind,” he added.

The chart showed that there was almost a $100 difference between flying out on a Monday and flying out on a Tuesday.

Wednesday showed minimal price increase from Tuesday but still cheaper than the rest of the days.

Know when NOT to fly

Sundays are usually the most expensive days to fly

6

Sundays are usually the most expensive days to flyCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi

“The most expensive days to fly is on Sunday,” he revealed.

In his chart, Sunday showed an almost $200 difference from the price on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Flight prices were on the $200 range for earlier in the week, while Sunday prices went up to $400.

Get your kids in for free

Kids can get good deals on some airlines

6

Kids can get good deals on some airlinesCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi

“If you’re flying with kids, look into the Frontier airline because kids under 14 fly for free when they’re accompanied by an adult,” he revealed.

Other airlines that let kids fly for free or at a reduced fare are Air Tahiti Nui (kids 11 and younger) and Southwest.

Pick the right airline depending on your amount of luggage

Some airlines offer good deals of bags

6

Some airlines offer good deals of bagsCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi

Airlines have different promos to attract clients to fly with them.

However, Southwest wins by letting their customers fly with up to two free carry-ons.

This is perfect for trips where you need to pack a stroller, a snowboard, a surf board, or anything that might quickly rack up the prices with any other airlines.

“With your ticket, your first and second bag, fly free,” Christian claimed.

Low fare calculator

A low fare calculator gives you an overview of when best to fly

6

A low fare calculator gives you an overview of when best to flyCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi

“When planning your trips, use your airlines’ low fare calculator,” he suggested.

“It’ll show you the cheapest day to fly in the entire month.”





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Travel blogger shares five hacks for cut-price vacations including a tip that lets kids go FREE


A TRAVEL blogger shared the five hacks for amazingly cheap vacations, including a tip on how to get kids to fly for free.

In a TikTok video, Christian Grossi revealed just how to start traveling again as Covidc-19 restrictions begin to lift in different parts of the world.

Know when to fly

A travel blogger revealed his five hacks for cheap travel

6

A travel blogger revealed his five hacks for cheap travelCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi
Tuesdays are the cheapest days to fly

6

Tuesdays are the cheapest days to flyCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi

“The cheapest day of the week to fly is almost always Tuesday,” Christian explained as he showed off the huge difference in prices between the weekdays. “With Wednesday not far behind.”

The chart showed that there was almost a $100 difference between flying out on a Monday and flying out on a Tuesday.

Wednesday showed minimal price increase from Tuesday but still cheaper than the rest of the days.

Know when NOT to fly

Sundays are usually the most expensive days to fly

6

Sundays are usually the most expensive days to flyCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi

“The most expensive days to fly is on Sunday,” he revealed.

In his chart, Sunday showed an almost $200 difference from the price on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Flight prices were on the $200 range for earlier in the week, while Sunday prices went up to $400.

Get your kids in for free

Kids can get good deals on some airlines

6

Kids can get good deals on some airlinesCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi

“If you’re flying with kids, look into the Frontier airline because kids under 14 fly for free when they’re accompanied by an adult,” he revealed.

Other airlines that let kids fly for free or at a reduced fare are Air Tahiti Nui (kids 11 and younger) and Southwest.

Pick the right airline depending on your number of luggage

Some airlines offer good deals of bags

6

Some airlines offer good deals of bagsCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi

Airlines have different promos to attract clients to fly with them.

However, Southwest wins by letting their customers fly with up to two free carry-ons.

This is perfect for trips where you need to pack a stroller, a snowboard, a surf board, or anything that might quickly rack up the prices with any other airlines.

“With your ticket, your first and second bag, fly free,” Christian claimed.

Low fare calculator

A low fare calculator gives you an overview of when best to fly

6

A low fare calculator gives you an overview of when best to flyCredit: TikTok/Christian Grossi

“When planning your trips, use your airlines’ low fare calculator,” he suggested.

“It’ll show you the cheapest day to fly in the entire month.”





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Kim Komando: Insider tech travel hacks you’ll use every single trip | Business News


On an Android, snap some photos and mark them as favorites in your picture gallery. That will make finding your documents easy, no matter where you are.

Pro tip: I also recommend saving your identifying documents as PDF files and saving a copy to your iOS Books, Android e-book app or even sending to your Kindle. This way, you can access them offline. Send a copy to your travel partner, too, if you feel safe doing so.

2. Get your digital driver’s license

Pictures are great, but what about an actual digital driver’s license? You can use a digital driver’s license for any transaction or situation where ID is required. Think of it as a supplement to your physical ID as various jurisdictions figure out how to implement its use.

A digital license can be updated quickly with new information, such as a change of address. If your phone is lost or stolen, you can remotely wipe the digital ID before getting a new one.

What’s the catch? Right now, digital licenses are only available in some states, including Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming.

Getting a digital version of your license varies from state to state. For example, Arizona launched its version in March in partnership with identity management firm IDEMIA and its “Mobile ID” platform. That company also provides digital driver’s licenses to Oklahoma and Delaware residents. All you have to do is download the state-specific app on iOS or Android to get started.



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5 insider tech travel hacks you’ll use every single trip


Every summer, I get the travel itch. Before you head out, make sure your home is locked down. The bad news is security cameras, from video doorbells to a full-fledged security system, aren’t always hack-proof out of the box. 

Tap or click here for the steps to make sure only you can access your security and video doorbell camera’s feed. It’s an important step whether you’re traveling or not.

Speaking of cameras, best check your rental for any hidden cameras. It happened to me. Tap or click here for steps to spot a hidden camera.

Now, let’s jump into the essential steps before you hit the road to save you time, money, and a whole lot of stress.

1. Take photos of all your important documents

Of course, you always need to carry identification when traveling, but it’s wise to have a digital backup, too. Worst case scenario, you lose your wallet. It will be a lot smoother getting home if you have photos of all your important documents with you.

The easiest way to do that on an iPhone is to use the handy document scanner built into the native Notes app.

  • Open Notes and tap the compose icon at the bottom right of the screen.
  • Above the keyboard, tap on the + sign and then the camera icon.
  • There, you can choose a photo you’ve already taken, take a new photo or scan documents. Easy!

The Notes app for iPhone is surprisingly powerful. Tap or click here for more secrets for this pre-installed app, including using it as a full-fledged document scanner.

On an Android, snap some photos and mark them as favorites in your picture gallery. That will make finding your documents easy, no matter where you are. 

Pro Tip: I also recommend saving your identifying documents as PDF files and saving a copy to your iOS Books, Android e-book app or even sending to your Kindle. This way, you can access them offline. Send a copy to your travel partner, too, if you feel safe doing so.

2. Get your digital driver’s license

Pictures are great, but what about an actual digital driver’s license? You can use a digital driver’s license for any transaction or situation where ID is required. Think of it as a supplement to your physical ID as various jurisdictions figure out how to implement its use.

A digital license can be updated quickly with new information, such as a change of address. If your phone is lost or stolen, you can remotely wipe the digital ID before getting a new one.

What’s the catch? Right now, digital licenses are only available in some states, including Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming.

Getting a digital version of your license varies from state to state. For example, Arizona launched its version in March in partnership with identity management firm IDEMIA and its “Mobile ID” platform. That company also provides digital driver’s licenses to Oklahoma and Delaware residents. All you have to do is download the state-specific app on iOS or Android to get started.

For others on the list above, check your state’s official state government websites or run a search with your state name and “digital driver’s license” for more on how to apply.

Staying closer to home? Tap or click for the best apps for camping, RV travel and road trips.

3. Keep track of your belongings

Losing your stuff is terrible at home and much worse when you’re in a different state or country. Digital trackers can help you keep an eye on your valuables and track them if you lose anything. 

You can use these neat little gadgets to find your phone, laptop, tablet, wallet, luggage, backpack, and other essentials.

4. Don’t rely on a paper boarding pass

If you’ve never taken advantage of digital boarding passes, you’re missing out. Losing a slip of paper is easy if you’re carrying around lots of bags and searching for your boarding gate.

To access the digital version, you can log in to the airline’s website and have them email your boarding pass. You can also download your airline’s app to access it. From there, you can add it to your phone’s digital wallet.

  • If you get your boarding pass through email, Apple Mail can automatically add it to your wallet. Otherwise, open the email attachment and tap Add to Apple Wallet > Add.
  • Use an Android? You can sync your Google Pay and Gmail accounts to add emailed boarding passes to the Pay app. Open Google Pay and tap the three bars, then Settings > General, then toggle on Gmail imports and tap Connect to Gmail.

Gmail tips and tricks: 10 buried features and settings to try

5. Be wary of scammers

Scammers try to hit people at their most vulnerable. What better time when you’re searching for the best prices, at the airport worried about making your flight or in a new city? Travel scams are growing as more and more people are leaving home again.

Here are some of the hottest scams going on right now:

  • Vacation rental scams: Use caution if you’re booking through Airbnb, VRBO or another rental site. Individuals can create false home profiles only for guests to show up to a home much dirtier, smaller, or run down than in the photos. Last-minute cancellations force desperate guests to book a much more expensive option with the same host. Tricky! Tap or click here for red flags to watch for.
  • Fake websites: Scammers know how to manipulate Google search results. The first answer to your query might not take you to an official website. It’s best to type the web address to official pages directly into your web browser instead of clicking links from search results.
  • Scammy ads: Cybercriminals often create fake online ads for destinations at unbelievable rates. These listings generally require you to pay upfront. Proceed with extreme caution and ensure that the company you are dealing with is legitimate.
  • Vaccine passport apps: Scammers are targeting victims with fake vaccine passport apps and websites. You don’t need one of these digital documents to travel, and the U.S. government has authorized none, so watch out. Tap or click here for all the details.

ARE YOUR PHOTOS A MESS? 

Do you have more photos than you know what to do with? Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player. 

In one episode, I dive into the best ways to get rid of all the junk and duplicates — like memes and screenshots — hiding the important pictures you want to keep. Plus, how to backup and store your collection for easy browsing and long-term storage.

Tap or click here now to listen to my podcast “Too many photos? Insider tricks to organizing, sorting and storing for the long-term.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2021, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.



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Tell us about your ingenious holiday packing hacks | Travel


For those of us lucky enough to be able to go on holiday this summer, there’s always one issue: what to pack? And more importantly, how to pack efficiently.

With this in mind, we want to hear about your best packing hacks. Perhaps you’ve discovered the secret to maximising your wardrobe? Or maybe you swear by soap and shampoo bars over liquid toiletries, to avoid leakage in your luggage? Whether it’s a must-have gadget, or a space-saving tip, tell us about it below.

Share your experiences

You can get in touch by filling in the form below, anonymously if you wish. Your responses are secure as the form is encrypted and only the Guardian has access to your contributions.

One of our journalists will be in contact before we publish, so please do leave contact details.

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here. Read terms of service here.



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