It is hard work traveling. Pre-departure there is a whole list of things you must do. Pay your bills, take the animals to the sitters, hold your mail, turn down your heat and water the plants. If you are a busy professional there is all the work that goes into making sure your jobs are all set for you to take time away to enjoy your family. That can take a month of preparation just to get you to the day of departure! Once you have left for the airport, you want to be on vacation. But how many times have you seen frantic travelers rushing around trying to get to the front of the baggage drop or even the security line? That is not relaxing at all. I am really good at getting to the airport in plenty of time. However, all my preparations cannot always accommodate the other snafus that happen when traveling. So this year I decided to invest in TSA Pre-Check. I was worried it would be a big hassle and not really worth the time and effort.
I can say it was 100% worth it!
The process is actually pretty painless. Go online to TSA PreCheck. Fill out an application online. Schedule an appointment for a quick background check and fingerprint scanning. There is an $85 (as of this newsletter) charge and the Known Traveler Number you will get is good for 5 years. So easy!
Once you are approved for TSA PreCheck you will be assigned a Know Traveler Number. This is the number you will want to provide to your travel expert or airlines if you are booking on your own. Then when you print out your boarding pass, you will see TSA PreCheck listed on your ticket. When it is time to go through security, just look for the signs for TSA PreCheck and off you go.
The beauty of TSA PreCheck is that when you go through that line there is no need to remove your shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts or light jackets. Can I tell you how amazing that is?? AMAZING. The reduction of stress is wonderful. These lines are usually much shorter than the regular security lines and move so quickly. It really allows me to relax at the airport. If you have children 12 and under they can go through with you. So that is great too.
Not all airports have TSA PreCheck and international airports might have a different system. So be sure to see if it would work for how your family travels.
When I returned from my Caribbean cruise last month there was a long line to go through customs. Onboard the ship they notified us that we could use the Mobile Passport app on our smartphones and that would be an easier way to go. After you download the app, you scan in the barcode on your passport, take a photo of yourself and answer a few questions about what you are bringing back. After a few minutes, you will be notified if you are approved.
Once you disembark and collect your luggage look for the Mobile Passport line at the customs area. Show the customs officer the approval code on your phone for them to scan and a few minutes later you are on your way.
It took us only 15 minutes from the time we disembarked from the Allure of the Seas to get our luggage and go through customs. Amazingly fast!!
So there you go. 2 ways to avoid lines while you are traveling next time.