The past 3 weeks I have focused on the trusted traveler program, including ways to breeze through airport security, how to breeze through border crossings, information on passports and answering passport-related questions. This week I wanted to add one last article on tips for making your airport experience more streamlined. I know, I know! Airports are busier and less efficient than ever and it seems like airline employees and TSA agents wake up on the wrong side of the bed every morning. Many of my clients say that, as much as they love their vacations, the absolute worst part of the journey is simply surviving the airport experience. Here are 7 suggestions to eliminate hassles at the airport and keep that blood pressure at a safe level. Take notes and take action....and don't forget to pack your patience and sense of humor in that carry-on. They don't weigh anything!
1. Sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry! This is my favorite recommendation for people who travel more than once a year, especially if that travel is International. Being able to cruise through security at over 130 US airports is heaven, but I especially love the Global Entry kiosks in US Immigration that can save you tons of time when returning to the US. Have you seen the length of some of those passport control lines? Not me! I usually walk right up to the kiosk, scan my passport and breeze through to baggage claim.
In my 13+ years as a travel professional, I’ve been asked lots of questions about passports. Personally, I think that every US Citizen should be required to have a passport. It just makes sense to me, and I have seen too many people have to miss out on an amazing last-minute travel opportunity because they aren’t prepared. If you are over 16, the passport books are good for 10 years, so the pro-rated cost is about $15 per year. Certainly a great value! Yes, it can be a little bit of a pain applying for your first passport, but after that, you can renew by mail.
While world travel is on pause, I thought it a good time to dive deep into what I consider a must-have travel perk for travel both domestically and internationally. This will give you time to consider your options, educate yourself, apply for and get ready for when travel opens back up. When it does, there will be a tidal wave of travelers, and long lines at the airports.