I travel pretty frequently across the United States for my day job. With that I’ve learned a few things along the way that I hope will help business and leisure travelers alike. Some tips may seem like common sense, but as someone once told me, “who says sense is common?”
- TSA Precheck – I’m neurotically early to the airport when I travel this way I don’t have to worry about traffic, long security lines, etc. So as usual, I had arrived just shy of 2 hours prior to my flight at LaGuardia Airport in New York. I patiently waited as the line moved at a snail’s pace. As I was approaching my boarding time, I informed the TSA agents that my flight was boarding soon. Their curt response was that it was up to me "to negotiate with other passengers to jump the line." A passenger at the head of the line evidently overheard the agent’s comment and kindly allowed me to go ahead of him. If it wasn’t for the kindness of this fellow traveler, I would have missed my flight and my client meeting. Needless to say, I applied for TSA Precheck after this mishap. The cost is $85, and you must appear for an in-person interview along with certain documentation. Once approved, it’s good for five years.
- Global Entry – Traveling internationally? Then Global Entry may be for you. For the $100 fee, it’s good for five years, includes TSA Precheck, and allows for an easier entry back to the United States. There is less wait time at the self-serve Kiosks and no paperwork to fill out. Once again, you will have to pass a background check and in-person interview before you can be approved, but it is worth the effort. When my TSA Precheck is up for renewal I will be upgrading to Global Entry.
- Comfortable slip on shoes (socks too, especially if you skeeve walking barefoot on the airport floors like I do) – If you don’t have TSA Precheck, then do everyone (and yourself) a favor by wearing slip on shoes. Few things are more annoying than being stuck behind a passenger who needs 10 minutes to navigate their laced-up high-tops. More importantly, make sure your slip-on shoes are comfortable. I usually have quite a hike from security to the gate. Although my Fitbit will be abuzz with enthusiasm at these long hauls, my feet will not have a bounce in their step without the proper footwear.
- Functional and stylish totes – For any ladies reading this, I don’t know about you all, but I like well-designed, light weight and stylish tote bags for everyday and travel. I don’t get the luxury brands that design bags with no zipper closure to secure valuables. It may be the New Yorker in me, but that’s literally a wide-open invite to steal your stuff! It’s so easy for someone to reach in and grab what they want. I like well-placed pockets so I can organize my bag and make the essentials secure but easy to reach, like my phone or passport. Check out our latest find – a convertible vegan, eco-friendly tote / backpack!
- Suitable carry-ons – Check the plane type before you pack so you can decide if you will bring a smaller weekender style bag (pictured below) or a classic luggage carry-on. The smaller planes can’t fit anything more than a very small carry-on luggage or duffle in the overhead compartments. Time is precious and I’d rather not waste it at baggage claim unless I have checked in any larger luggage.
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The Travel Time Essentials Team