Believe it not, traveling is an art these days. With intensely thorough and inefficient security lines, layovers, baggage claim, and crying babies, it takes a little bit of know-how to travel smart these days. Here are five things you can do to travel like a pro:
1. Sign up for Global Entry. This program is a huge timesaver and well worth the $100 application fee as it also includes TSA Pre-Check. In fact, many times companies like American Express will cover the cost if you have one of their high level credit cards. The program allows you to skip the regular custom lines upon entry and skip the regular security lines upon departure all of which amounts to saving a huge amount of time. I remember having gotten off a really long flight at JFK only to have to wait another 45 minutes to get past customs and immigration as the line snaked away. Luckily, I now skip that line, have my fingerprints scanned at one of the Global Entry kiosks, and am quickly on my way.
2. Don’t check your bag in. Not checking your bag in is ideal for domestic flights with minimal stops. It keeps your bag safely with you and you don’t have to waste any time retrieving it at baggage claim. If you do decide to check your bag in, however, make sure you mark it with something easily visible like a colored ribbon so you can easily spot it instead of being like everyone else who’s scrambling after a black suitcase only to find out it’s not theirs (or worse- taking someone else’s bag home).
3. Want to see another city on your trip for free? Usually you can have your airline schedule your connecting flight on a different day. For example, let’s say you have a connection in Paris, France. You may be able to call the airline and ask them to reschedule your connecting flight to say seven days later. That gives you a week in Paris and you didn’t have to buy a new ticket (you may have to pay for a flight change fee unless you initially book your trip this way)
4. Earplugs and sleeping visors are a godsend when you’re dealing with bright lights and crying babies on a plane. It’s a small investment that can assure you a lot of peace of mind in the future. On top of that, you never know when you’ll need these items. I’ve checked into hotels and there happens to be massive construction going on next door (that was fun). You get the idea.
5. Get yourself a Priority Pass. It allows lounge access to thousands of priorities in business lounges all around the world.
Following these tips and tricks will make for a way smoother travel experience – you’ll be amazed at how much time you save and maybe even feel a little guilty when you skip the long security and immigration line and get to sip on your favorite drink in the business lounge pre-flight.