Summer is one the busiest travel times of the year. Nearly 45 million Americans were expected to travel this past week alone! Travel Leaders Network recently posted 12 tips from travel experts for people traveling this summer.
Here are their tips:
- Check-in online. Airlines generally allow passengers to check in online 24 hours in advance, with a cutoff a couple of hours before boarding time. Save time by checking in well before heading to the airport.
- Leave home early. From traffic that may be heavier than usual and hard-to-find parking spots, to lines for security screenings, there is peace of mind when there is extra wiggle room in the schedule, whether traveling by train, plane or automobile. Arrive at the airport 75 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
- Double check your baggage. Overhead space is at a premium during the heavy holiday travel seasons. So when preparing to pack bags, it’s ideal to check in advance whether luggage meets the airline’s size and weight restrictions for checked baggage and carry-ons. Nothing brings on the worry like finding out last-minute that one has to pay extra for overweight or oversized luggage filled with sun visors, flip flops, extra-large cosmetic cases or junior’s plush toy.
- Pack smarter with essentials. Packing a few vacation essentials in a carry-on, such as a swimsuit and a change of clothes, helps if your luggage gets delayed, because you can still go for a swim upon arrival or put on a fresh change of clothes. This also comes in handy for those who arrive at the resort before the room is ready. Simply lounge by the pool or beach while you wait.
- Remember 3-1-1 rule. TSA allows each passenger one quart-size bag of liquids and gels, including toothpaste, gel deodorant, and lotions. Each item must be 3.4 ounces or less. Excluded from the carry-on list this summer are canisters of powders larger than 12 ounces. Medication and infant formula are exempt from the rule — but keep them separate from other items in case they need to be hand-checked on your return trip.
- Purchase TSA PreCheck, CLEAR or Global Entry. Travelers who enroll in one of the expedited security checkpoint services spend less time in line. PreCheck members don’t have to remove their shoes, belt or jacket or take their large electronic devices from their carry-ons. So not only is the security screening less cumbersome, it also saves time not having to repack items and retie shoes – which can be a hassle for a family of four. Those enrolled in CLEAR, which is integrated with TSA PreCheck, will be able to skip straight to a special lane to get their boarding pass checked. (Children under 18 can use the CLEAR lane for free when accompanied by a CLEAR-enrolled family member.) Global Entry cuts down on immigration and customs processing time when reentering the U.S. after international travel. TSA Precheck for domestic travel costs $80 for a 5-year clearance and Global Entry for international travel costs $100 for 5-years and includes TSA Precheck. CLEAR is $179 per year. This small commitment saves time and stress upon arrival at the airport.
- Airport lounge pass. Frequent travelers or those who arrive to the airport before boarding begins will enjoy an airport lounge pass over waiting at crowded gates. Most lounges offer complimentary food and beverages, along with free wi-fi.
- All-inclusive family resorts. After arriving at one’s destination, especially an international one, an all-inclusive resort is especially satisfying on that first day in town away from home. No need to navigate to another location for dining or worry about menu prices. An all-inclusive package alleviates some decisions when all you care about is relaxing. It also helps keep one from going over budget. Spending more than one plans raises stress levels, but with an all-inclusive vacation travelers know in advance exactly how much they are spending on food and drinks.
- Cruising along. There are many ways to take advantage of a cruise experience. First, arrive in the port city a day before sail time. This way, even if a travel companion misses a flight connection there is no worry about missing the boat. When planning to go ashore, make sure you listen to the port talks. A lot of valuable information is relayed, as well as maps, taxi and shop information for those who choose to venture on their own.
- Bon Jour. Konichiwa. Shalom. Learning a few words in the native language of the destination country will ease stress, as a simple hello or thank you in the native language can improve the kindness of strangers and even open doors – figuratively and literally.
- Keep valid identification at hand. Children under 18 are not required to provide identification when traveling domestically with a companion, but passengers age 18 and older must show valid ID at the airport security checkpoint. Since most ID, like a driver’s license, has an expiration date, double-check that your ID will not expire before your return trip home. It’s a good idea to have color photocopies and digital copies of all important identification documents, including your passport, boarding passes, front and back of credit cards and health insurance information. Also have extra ID photos cropped to passport size in case you have to order a replacement at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Be sure to pack all paper copies or flash drives in a separate location for extra safe-keeping. Also remember to check the expiration date on your passport. If it expires within six months, you may not be able to enter most countries.
- Put your travel agent on speed dial. Bring the email and cell phone number of your travel agent with you, and provide your travel agent with your personal contact information, as well as pertinent health and travel insurance information. Your travel agent can rearrange your itinerary should you decide to extend your trip, or if there’s an emergency.
What tips do you have for families traveling this summer?