Travelling is a significant passion for many people who wish to explore the world, experience new cultures, and have adventures they can remember for the rest of their lives.
Others travel to visit friends and family members in other countries, while some may cross the globe for business.
Regardless of your reason for traveling in 2021 and beyond, you should do everything to stay safe and comfortable during those trips.
Below are five things that every savvy traveler should know when they are booking a trip during the coming weeks and months.
1. Testing when travelling
When you are traveling outside the United States, or coming back into the country, you may have to present proof that you do not have COVID-19. Such proof is obtainable using PCR or lateral flow COVID-19 tests.
Such a process may seem daunting, but you can easily find testing centres in almost every major city in the world. Some tests deliver results within minutes, while others can take a few hours or a couple of days before you have the official verdict.
Airlines now require proof of a negative test when you are boarding an international flight, and not presenting this proof could result in you being kept off the plane as it takes off. If you are traveling for business or pleasure, you do not want your trip to end before it begins because of a failure to get tested.
2. Get a Global Entry Pass
If you are a frequent international traveller, you should apply for Global Entry through the United States government. Such a pass makes the travel experience a lot less stressful, especially if you visit different countries throughout the year.
The idea behind Global Entry is that when you are arriving in the United States from any international destination, you can skip the process of going through customs. While the customs lines at smaller airports may be modest, major airports in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Boston can have very long lines.
Rather than spending an hour in line before you speak to a customs official, get your Global Entry pass; you can breeze through the customs process in minutes, going off to your next destination without a moment’s notice.
The Global Entry membership costs $100 for five years, but that is chump change for a frequent flyer. The amount of time you would save in customs lines is worth that money, not to mention the other perks that come with the service.
The process of getting Global Entry is very simple; fill out an application, pass a background check, and have an in-person interview.
3. Leverage airline and hotel loyalty programs
Businesses are constantly attempting to get customers to choose them over competitors, especially given the competitiveness of the global economy. That is why signing up for loyalty programs is a smart way to save money.
If you travel more than one time a year, you should choose an airline you prefer flying with. Sign up for a loyalty program with that airline, and you can save on future flights, receive free drinks and food on the plane, get free WiFi while flying, and enjoy perks at domestic and international airports.
Hotels also have very lucrative loyalty programs; completing a few two or three-night stays may be all that is necessary to get a significant discount on your next hotel reservation.
Those who are regular travellers, but tend to visit different countries without any preference for hotels or airlines, may want to sign up for a travel credit card. Such cards give preferential benefits related to travel, such as no fees on international transactions, discounts on airlines and hotel stays, greater cash-back on such spending, and airport-specific benefits.
4. Use a travel organiser
When you are traveling outside the United States, you have to carry many different documents. Your passport, airline tickets, boarding passes, itinerary, hotel room key or card, credit cards, cash, and other items are necessary for most travelers.
Use a travel organiser rather than keeping these items in a larger bag, where they can get lost in the shuffle of other things. Having a single smaller item that you can take out, which contains all your travel documents and important possessions, is very helpful.
Such organisers also help you to avoid losing any important document or belonging. When you are closing up the organiser after each usage, you can quickly check to ensure each item is in its proper place.
5. Pack cleverly
The first mistake a lot of people make when starting their trip does not happen when they get out of the taxi at the airport, but while they are packing. Rather than throwing your clothes and belongings into a suitcase haphazardly, you should pack with a plan.
Fold all your clothes tightly to fit more items into a carry-on suitcase. That will save you money on airline baggage fees unless you have a credit card that offers free checked-in baggage as a perk.
You should also keep clothes in groups, depending on when you may want to wear those items. Keep all the clothes you would wear inside your hotel room in one place while having a separate pile of clothes you may wear on an evening or night out in the city you are visiting.
The final packing tip is to have a single change of clothes packed at the top of your suitcase, which you can easily access in transit.
Cherish your upcoming trip
Taking a vacation or going on a business trip can be an incredible adventure. You may get to see a new city, or visit a familiar one, with a new perspective.
By taking note of the above tips for savvy travellers, you can avoid any hassles while travelling. Getting tested, having a Global Entry pass, leveraging airline and hotel loyalty programs, and other tips can save you time, money, and frustration.
Trips are meant to be enjoyable experiences where you connect with the world in a new way. Take care of the basics by following our guide, and focus on enjoying your trip to the fullest.