There’s nothing like traveling and exploring new places with my family. My boys have been traveling since they were infants since we needed to travel by plane to visit my family. We’ve made time over the years to take them to other places, both close and far away. Whether it’s by planes, trains or automobiles, I can’t get enough of seeing that spark in their eyes when they discover a new culture. I can finally say that my boys are at the perfect age to travel ( 12, 14 and 15) and actually remember some of what they see. Thankfully we have photos from earlier trips because they claim to remember very little.
Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to help make traveling a little less painful and stressful with small (or large) children.
If you want to get through those security lines quickly TSA Pre✓® is the way to go. This is the first year that I’ve had TSA Pre✓® and it was well worth the $85 application fee which is valid for 5 years. How did I not have this before?!
TSA Pre✓® is an expedited security screening program for travel within the United States.
Passengers considered low-risk who qualify for the program can receive expedited screening. Have you noticed the TSA Pre✓® lines at the airport security stations? With TSA Pre✓® you can skip the regular lines and hit the much shorter TSA Pre✓® line without having to remove shoes, belts, laptops, liquids, and jackets. If you’re a frequent traveler and interested in applying head HERE. The application process was quick and painless. We filled out the application online and set up a short appointment. A few weeks later our approval letters arrived in the mail. Only my husband and I have TSA Pre✓® and our kids reap the benefit by tagging along without having to pay a fee.
If you’re traveling overseas a few times a year you might want to consider applying for Global Entry. Global Entry is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment. Although I considered applying for this, it didn’t make sense for our family. The cost is $100 per applicant (children must also apply) and the interview process only takes place at qualifying airports.
Everyone Gets Their Own Suitcase
On a recent trip overseas we decided that everyone was old enough to wheel their own suitcase. We purchased 5 different color carry-on bags, one for each of us. It was somewhat challenging to pack for a week in a smaller suitcase, but we all did it. We didn’t check any luggage so there was no risk of lost suitcases and once we landed everyone was in charge of their own bag.
Keep Your Passport Safe
Once our destination is reached we always lock the passports in a safe. On this last trip we scanned our passports and had a copy accessible by email and in our Dropbox. If your passport is stolen report it immediately. Find the nearest US Embassy or Consulate and explain what happened. They will advise you on next steps.
Bring an Empty Reusable Water Bottle
Avoid buying plastic water bottles at the airport by bringing an empty reusable water bottle through security. My favorite is this Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle with a Bamboo Cap. If you want something easy to roll up and store check out this Vapur Water Bottle. Once through the security lines refill your water bottle at the closest water fountain.
Do you have any travel hacks to share?