Earlier this year, I was on my way home from a business trip in Orlando. I arrived at the airport and my jaw immediately dropped as I saw a mass of hundreds of people trying to get through security.
This experience got me thinking, are there any time-saving hacks for traveling? Is there a way to take out some of the annoyances so you can get to work? And so began my quest to find some ways to save time while I'm traveling for business.
Apply for TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry
If you haven't already applied for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry, I suggest doing so. TSA Pre-Check allows you to skip the horrendous security lines because you're a known traveler whereas Global Entry allows you to do the same with U.S. Customs. Note that if you do Global Entry you also are also eligible for TSA Pre-Check.
My business travel up until this point has been domestic, but since my current credit card gave me a credit for the Global Entry fee, and because international business travel is on the horizon, I decided to just go for it.
All I had to do was apply online. From there I got a conditional approval and went in for an interview at Miami International Airport. Upon my final approval at the interview, I could immediately start using my known traveler number and my card arrived in the mail a week later.
The entire process only took a few weeks for me, but I do live near a major airport that does interviews every day. I have heard from friends in other parts of the U.S. that it took them months to get an interview, so plan for that just in case.
Join rental car company rewards programs.
If you really want to save time while traveling, consider joining the rewards programs of rental car companies.
"There's no better feeling than bypassing a long line to head straight outside and select a vehicle after a long flight," says Kate Dore, owner and editor of Cashville Skyline.
Use airline apps.
Airlines have invested a lot of money into creating apps for mobile boarding passes and real-time flight updates. I know they've definitely saved me more than once by updating me immediately when a flight change occurs.
Unfortunately, not all airports accept mobile boarding passes yet. If your airport happens to be one of them Aja McClanhan, frequent traveler and owner of Principles of Increase, suggests printing out your boarding pass at home or at the hotel.
I am the queen of the carry-on. The reality is that unless I absolutely have to, I avoid checking bags at all costs. I even once took a 3-week trip to Europe with nothing more than a carry-on sized backpack so I wouldn't have to deal with so much luggage.
The last thing I want to do when I arrive at my destination is to go wait for my luggage at baggage claim. Additionally, since I now have Global Entry I no longer have to worry about taking my laptop out of my carry-on bag when going through security.
The bottom line is there are plenty of ways for frequent flyers to save time while they are traveling. All it takes is a little planning ahead of time and being in-the-know of programs that can help you save time.