Traveling can be one of the most therapeutic, fun and exciting experiences in life, but it can also be your worst nightmare. From long lines, to maxed overhead-bins, dead cellphones and delayed flights, there are so many things that can disrupt and damper your travel experience.
It took me years to learn and perfect these major travel hacks that changed my life and made my travel routine a piece of cake.
- Luggage – Hack 1 – If possible, always pre-pay for your luggage. I frequently fly #JetBlue and they have two fare bases; fares with or without luggage. If you’re not one to pack lightly, you have the option of purchasing your bag with your flight instead of at the ticket counter. JetBlue’s online fee for prepaid luggage is usually $5 cheaper than paying at the check-in counter.
Hack 2 – Always use a luggage tag or something that easily distinguishes your precious cargo. I have a bright pink #Samsonite luggage set which can’t be missed.
Hack 3 – If you can’t fit everything in one bag but can’t afford to pay for two, pack a carry-on. The trick is to check it at the gate. There isn’t a fee to check your carry-on at the gate to your final destination. I always pack loads of extras in my carryon, but I hate being tied to it, so I always check it at the gate.
- Security – TSA Precheck is every frequent travelers dream. I remember the first time I was randomly selected for a precheck while on a flight from New York, it took me way, way back to the days when you breezed through security. TSA Precheck is not as invasive and you are allowed to keep your shoes, jackets and belts on. TSA Precheck use to be a random process, but now you can sign up for it by applying online, submitting an application, enduring an interview and bam! Travel made easy. TSA Precheck is only available to individuals who have Global Entry membership, or who are randomly selected.
- Global Entry – I said that TSA Precheck was every frequent travelers dream, well I lied. Global Entry is every frequent travelers dream. Ever stood in a security line or Customs & Immigration and hated every traveler who whisked by you? Well, we’re in this together. Although I am a frequent flyer I am not in the elite class of people eligible for Global Entry, the program that was implemented by U.S. Customs and Border protection that expedites the screening process for frequent flyers. Like the TSA Precheck program, you simply apply online, pay a fee and show up to an interview. If you fly more than three times a year, why not! In order to be eligible you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or a citizen from these eight countries.
- Charging – In 2016, you should not be walking around with a dead cellphone in the airport, ain’t nobody got time for that! Airports are now fully equipped with charging stations. There are even restaurants that cater to the charging revolution. Taking it one step further, you can even charge your cellphone or computer in the plane. Some people may not know but all you have to do is look under your seat, beneath your arm rest, and there is usually charging capabilities. If all else fails, never walk without a portable charger. You can find lots of options available on Amazon.
- Emergency Exit – Looking for roomier seats but don’t want to pay extra? Try this trick. Emergency Exit seats are the roomiest seats on the plane that you don’t have to pay for! If you can snag this seat remember it comes with the major responsibility of listening to the safety procedures and sometimes the inability for your seat to recline.
- Pack Your Snacks – I don’t pack snacks, but that’s because I’ve already packed my entire life in my hand bag. I always kick myself for it when I see my bill for a bag of chips, nuts and water. JetBlue is one of the only remaining airlines that offer unlimited snacks including soft drinks, chips, popcorn, cookies, the works!
- Frequent Flyer Programs – When I first began flying, I was too lazy to sign up for loyalty and frequent flyer programs like American, Delta, JetBlue and every other airline I frequented; just call me basic, I can live with that. With age, comes maturity and now, I am a monster when it comes to collecting and monitoring my points. There are so many perks; upgraded seats, free flights, expedited entry onto the plane (comes in handy when you’ve got carry on luggage), and entry to lounges. You spend enough money, why not get something in return.
These are just a few of my favorite travel secrets that I use to make my travel life a little bit easier. What are some of your travel hacks?
LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!