You’ve probably been reading about all the hassles with air travel this summer. Perhaps you’ve had the misfortune of experiencing them yourself.
Delays. Cancellations. Lost luggage.
We’ve recently returned from 2 ½ months in Europe, visiting Lisbon, Madrid, Bordeaux, Paris, and London. What a glorious adventure!
Our trip involved five international flights. Except for a long delay getting through Immigration upon arrival in Lisbon, we’re happy to report we encountered zero complications.
While delays or cancellations are beyond a passenger’s control, advance planning and proactive strategies minimized the chances of our travel being disrupted.
Use these steps to make your next international flight trouble-free. Even relaxing!
We can all agree that going through security is a hassle.
Shoes off. Computer out. No more than 3.4 ounces… etc, etc.
You know the drill, so do yourself a favor and dress for the occasion. Slip-ons, not sneakers or boots. A fabric belt instead of one with a big buckle. Minimal accessories and jewelry. Remember, the less you have to remove the better.
On a side note, be aware of surprising items TSA might confiscate. We once had to hand over a jar of peanut butter (don’t judge – Jif isn’t always available in Ecuador) because it’s a “viscous substance.” Sigh.
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance upon arrival in the United States.
Instead of standing in long lines to get through Immigration, you proceed to a special designated area. Insert your passport into a machine, let it take your photo, and you’re on your way.
A fabulous extra perk that comes with this service is automatic enrollment in TSA PreCheck for domestic travel. Shorter lines. No aggravation with shoes and computers. What’s not to love?
Check to see if one of your credit cards offers a free credit for enrollment in Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. If not, click here.
This seems like a no-brainer, but we’re constantly amazed at the number of people who don’t do it. Why wait until you get to the airport? Check in as close to the 24 hours before your takeoff as possible to get it out of the way and be placed in a quicker boarding group.
Oh, you’re checking luggage?
Did you just gasp? We know, the thought of traveling with only carry-on luggage and a personal item seems daunting.
Cynthia especially struggled to embrace this practice, but the discipline to pare down has been so worth it.
If you’ve followed our first two steps, skip the ticketing counter, breeze through security, and head to your gate (or an airport lounge – more on that next).
When you’ve landed, grab your belongings from the overhead bins and away you go!
No more stress hoping your suitcase hasn’t been lost, and having your trip get off to the worst start possible if it has.
No waiting at baggage claim, for what sometimes seems like forever, to retrieve your checked luggage.
Never has the advice about getting to the airport early been more prudent. But doing so leaves you with the choice of sitting in those stiff chairs at your gate for hours or hanging out in an overpriced restaurant/bar.
Priority Pass allows entry into over 1300 lounges worldwide, with plans for both occasional and frequent travelers.
Relaxing in quiet, comfortable surroundings with complimentary food and adult beverages before your flight makes such a difference in getting your travel off to a great start.
Do you have one of these 10 credit cards in your wallet? If so, we’ve got great news. Complimentary Priority Pass membership is one of your benefits.
Speaking of which…
As we’ve indicated, having the right credit cards go a long way to enhancing your travel experience. Beyond the perks listed here, a card with your preferred airline usually gets you a free checked bag and priority boarding.
Redeem points/miles from cards with big sign-up incentives to get heavily discounted or even free flights and accommodations. We paid for almost all the lodging on our European extravaganza this way!
The travel industry is still getting up to speed post-Covid, and while rare despite media hysterics (only 1.6% of flights were cancelled in July), disruptions to your plans are a possibility.
Do your part to make that trip you’ve been dreaming of the past two years a spectacular success!
What have you struggled with the most when flying international? Have you found ways to make this type of travel easier?