We all could use anything that makes our lives easier when traveling, especially with children. Here are some amazing options to help you plan your next vacation.
#1 SEND LUGGAGE AHEAD
One of the biggest travel related questions and complaints I hear about is checked luggage and carry-ons. Flights, whether nonstop or not, always have a maximum weight and size before there is an upcharge. Also, you need to get to the airport in time to check in your luggage as opposed to arriving with just a carry-on. Best suggestion I have always is to send your luggage ahead of your vacation. This works for golf clubs, ski gear, water sports gear, and practically anything and everything. It really is a fairly easy operation and there are many companies out there that do this. In fact, I have at least four on my supplier list. You do however need to compare which options work best for you and whether they have a pickup and delivery service to and from your home or to and from your hotel or cruise ship. There is even a service where you never have to touch your luggage at all. A valet is responsible for your luggage from your home to your location, from your location to the next location and/or back to your home. They will unpack and pack your luggage as well. So if you really can’t stand packing, unpacking and carrying luggage every time you travel then this is an option for you to consider. This is not only a convenience but a time saver in regards to pre-and post airport departures and allows you to start your vacation earlier.
#2 RENT CAMERAS, LENS, AND GOPROS
I’m a huge photography buff, and so I typically carry not only my iPhoneX but also my DSLR and a GoPro anytime I travel. If you’re anything like me and you love to take over the top fabulous pictures on vacation with more than just your phone, but you don’t own the latest go pro or DSLR or maybe you don’t have the appropriate lenses you would want in order to take the type of pictures you need these services are for you. This is actually one of the best options I’ve ever found. When I took my trip to South Africa last March, I knew I needed a couple of lenses and a DSLR for my son to use. I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars purchasing new lenses to use them maybe once a year. Several companies have tons of photo equipment for you to rent. All of the best brands, such as Nikon, Canon, and others as well. Even if you just need the lenses, they provide all types to fit all brands for all purposes. The process is typically easy. You either request them to mail it to your home or office or if you’re close enough you can drive and pick it up. Lucky girl here, I happen to have a spot not too far from my house. It always comes with a case to protect the item and also has the option to purchase insurance in case something goes wrong and it needs to be replaced. The great thing about this also is that they usually have people on hand to help you decide which lens you might need or which camera might be best as well as provide pointers for the shots you wish to take. Many places also provide rentals for tripods, GoPros, and other accessories. You will look like a true professional photographer on vacation and return with some pretty awesome pictures.
#3 BRING A SWEET TREAT
This travel tip I learned from a fellow colleague years ago. Bring the airline attendants chocolate. What do I mean? Just pick up a family size bag of M&Ms or some other sort of chocolate (typically sans nuts), which can be separated and handed out easily among them. Place them in your carry-on bag and take them out when you go through TSA screening. Now ideally you should bring at least a bag per flight, so if you have a connecting flight you bring two bags. Additionally, you can bring a third smaller bag for the two or three gate attendants as well. Once you arrive at the gate hand a bag over to one of the attendants and thank them for dealing with the same questions and concerns a hundred times every flight. Then when you step on the plane ask for the head flight attendant. Let them know you appreciate their service and patience with everyone flying and just wanted to give them a token of that appreciation and hand them the candy. Don’t forget to let them know it’s for all of the flight attendants to share. Do this for every flight you go on whether nationally or internationally. I’m not saying this practice will get you bumped up to first class but it might give you a few freebies and at the very least an extremely pleasant travel experience. Plus it always makes everyone feel better to give something to someone totally unexpected. Try it and let me know how it works out for you.
#4 VIP SERVICE FROM PLANE TO HOTEL
Who says you’re not VIP! Here’s another way to fast track the start of your vacation. Almost every major city abroad and many larger Caribbean islands offer many varieties of VIP travel services from the airplane door or gate through immigration and customs. Literally, you could be off your plane and into your private car within 20 minutes max. I know you all have heard of transfer services which meet and greet you at the exit after you’ve already passed through immigration, grabbed your luggage, and then went through customs. This is completely different. With this service, a person will greet you either at the plane door or at your gate of arrival and whisk you off, separated from everyone else, to the front of immigration and then off to grab your luggage and fast track you through customs. Some even offer services where you are taken through a private immigration and customs office separated from the average traveler. If you combined this option with the luggage option above (#1) you will fully maximize every second of your time on vacation. Not only is it efficient but also exclusive. You fancy now! Everyone else on the plane and in the airport for that matter will be wondering who you are. They will just be getting into their transfers, taxis, and Ubers when you will already be on the beach or in the hotel bar with a drink. These VIP travel services differ with each company in different locations and in different airports so it’s best to just see which options are available and work best for your needs. It’s totally worth it!
#5 MOBILE PASSPORT
Last and totally not least is one of the best fast track options once you arrive back on American soil. Many people have pre-check or global entry and are aware of just how fast those items can get you through TSA in America. But pre-check really doesn’t do anything for you on your return. Global Entry fast tracks you for your return but you still have to stop at a kiosk and fill out the questionnaire before heading to the dedicated immigration line. Both of these items come with a cost, although we all believe it’s value is worth way more than its price. Well, let me tell you about Mobile Passport. This option is an app you can upload on to your phone, whether it’s an iPhone or an android and it’s completely free. I thought I’d catch your attention there! Yep, I save the best for last. Once you place the app on your phone, it will ask you to upload a copy of your passport as well as ask you for some additional information. Then when you are on your return flight as soon as you land, you open the app and complete the immigration form and take your picture. You can do this for your entire family traveling with you as long as they live in the same household. You will then receive a barcode to show officials. After getting off the plane you head past the line for the kiosk showing the attendant your Mobile Pass on your phone and straight to the Mobile Pass immigration line. Many times it’s the same line as those who have Global Entry (look for the signs which say Mobile Passport). Currently, you may use this at three cruise ports, Port of Palm Beach, Port of Miami, and Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale and 25 international airports. The online process is only good for four hours so make sure that you complete the process when you land and not before take off in case of any delays. Almost always, I breeze past the people who have Global Entry through both immigration and customs. Best kept secret ever!
What tips do you have for more effortless travel? We love to hear them! As you know sharing is caring and click below to catch up on any of our other blog post you may have missed. Contact us for amazingly, effortless luxury vacations giving you time to take care of the things only you can do!
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