If you are not a someone who spends your time flitting from place to place around the globe, here are 5 travel tips that came save you time and help you have better better travel experiences. Let’s start with the most important one first.
Getting through the airport
We all cringe at the thought of long lines and nosy officials at airports today. Here are a couple ideas that can save you time and aggravation.
TSA PreCheck Program. For $85, you can sign up to become a Known Traveler. The program is good for 5 years. Once accepted, you enter your KTN (Known Traveler Number) whenever you book a flight. Once you get to the airport, the TSA says the program “allows low-risk travelers to experience expedited, more efficient security screening at participating U.S. airport checkpoints for domestic and international travel.”
CLEAR. As a member of CLEAR, you get to skip waiting in line completely and go directly to the security screening area. The cost is $179 a year. The program is relatively recent and is only available at less than a dozen airports so far, with more being added all the time.
Global Entry Program. Once approved for the Global Entry Program, travelers can speed through customs by simple swiping their GEP card and entering their fingerprints at a special kiosk. It is designed for travelers who travel internationally on a frequent basis, but anyone can apply. There is no minimum number of trips required.
One other tip from experienced travelers is to always pick the security screening line with only one TSA employee on duty. If two are present, one will be in training and that line will likely move more slowly.
Most travelers today use soft sided luggage, a duffle bag or a backpack. All are ideal for rolling your clothes rather than laying them flat. Rolling allows you to get more stuff in a given space and, if done with care, will keep your clothes from getting wrinkled in transit.
Many times, we like to have a few items packed separately like swimwear, sunscreen, sandals and medications so we can grab them and go when we get to our destination. This is especially true if someone else will be transporting your luggage from the airport for you. Invest in a couple of Tom Binh packing cubes to keep the items you need right away separate from the things you won’t use until later. Some even have shoulder or backpack straps for comfortable walking when you arrive.
Smart Booking Ideas
Travel pros say that Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days to book your travel because fares are typical 15 to 20 per cent lower than the rest of the week. Also, 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday is the time when most airlines announce their sales for that week. More and more airlines are using social media to get the word out on specials, so you need to be following them on Facebook and Twitter. Usually, the sales end at midnight on Wednesday, so you need to be prepared to act.
Use travel apps on your smart phone
Waze is an app that connects drivers in real time to alert them to traffic congestion, an accident or even a speed trap ahead. Use it in unfamiliar cities to find alternate routes. Google and Apple also have excellent smart phone traffic apps.
For your iPhone, HopStop will help you use public transportation in any city like you’re a native. Some people take a picture of a city map with their smart phone so they can refer to it any time. Uber and Lyft use GPS and the internet to connect people who need rides with people with cars. Both are a great way to get around in a strange city, usually for less than the cost of a taxi.
Yelp and Foodspotting are two apps that will help you find the best local resturants. Or you can do what savvy travelers have been doing for generations — look for the restaurant with the most people. Locals know where the best food is, so avoid that oh so trendy place with no customers inside.
Following these simple tips will help you relax and enjoy your vacation. And, after all, isn’t that why we go on vacation in the first place?