Growing up, my family was never big on paying for anything above and beyond the bare minimum. We drove cars without power windows for years, road tripped around the west coast so we didn’t have to purchase plane tickets, packed all of our own food so we wouldn’t need to stop at a grocery store or restaurant among many other things. Due to the way my parents traveled, I quickly took on similar habits. Part of it was driven by the fact that I was a poor college student when I discovered my love of travel but part of it was because it made sense. I purchased the cheapest airplane tickets because it made sense to me. It didn’t matter that it would result in my trip extending by an additional couple of hours. It was cheaper and that was all that mattered.
As I’ve grown up and learned more about travel and started traveling more, I’ve found little perks that have made the travel so much better. I remember trying to travel without some of these things and, these new found amentities are things I would be willing to splurge on or try to find a deal for. Here are just a few of those things:
– TSA precheck. I don’t have Global Entry right now but I have applied. I highly recommend getting Global Entry because it has both international and domestic benefits. But TSA precheck is one of the best decisions I have made. It’s not guaranteed 100% of the time but you will get it at least 90% of the the time and it is amazing. Not having to remove my shoes, my outer layers or my liquids saves so much time and effort. There have been times where I have arrived at my gate well before my friends have left the airport. I do not want to ever go back to not having TSA precheck the majority of the time that I travel. In addition, I have seen people arriving from international trips with Global Entry and I am full of envy. The lack of the horrendous line when you arrive after a long flight makes it worth it.
– Priority Pass. This is a perk of certain credit cards but you can also pay for this on your own. This little membership card gives you access to multiple lounges in airports around the world. Not all airports but plenty. As someone who is always hungry and has a small bladder, I really appreciate the access to the lounges. There are always snacks to enjoy, it is quieter, the chairs are more comfortable and the bathrooms are less crowded. The chances of standing in line are limited.
– Uber/Lyft being at the airport. I love the fact that Uber and Lyft are becoming more readily available at the airports. It opens up the options and gives you a better chance of finding an affordable ride home.
– Preferred status with airlines or rental car places. Avis Preferred program is free and makes it so that you get a notification when you land of the exact parking space your car is sitting. You walk straight there and you are on your way. You don’t need to deal with the counter and it’s delightful. Obviously preferred status with airlines means a lot more. Priority boarding, better chance for upgrades, all those delightful things. Totally worth it.
– Preferred status with park and rides. Back in Seattle, I used the Master Park on every trip and had earned free nights where I could leave my car and get a ride to the airport. It was a necessity for work so it was nice to get a little perk added to it.
– Mobile passes and mobile apps. I am obsessed with these. I love that I do not need to stop at a kiosk when I arrive at the airport. But instead can walk straight in to the security gate with my ID and be on my way.
Do you have any things that make you really happy when you travel or any major game changers?