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Global Entry may be worth the cost

No comments · Posted by Stacy Sprenger at 5:14pm in Air Travel, Americas, Business Travel, CWT Traveler, Travel Tips

Stacy Sprenger
One of CWT’s recent Top Travel Tips was “Register for the Global Entry Program.” Today, Stacy Sprenger gives us a closer look at the process and the benefits of joining the program.

After a long (or short) trip abroad, wouldn’t it be great to bypass those long lines at customs and get on your way? The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry program helps travelers take a step in that direction. Time savings is well worth the $100 fee, even if you’re only planning a few trips.

Photo credit: Ian L

Photo credit: Ian L

Global Entry members are allowed expedited clearance through customs upon arrival into the United States. Members skip the lines at customs and instead use touch-screen kiosks in the arrivals area of airports. At the kiosk, travelers will scan passport, scan fingerprint for verification and make customs declarations. They will then be instructed to Read more…

Posted by Stacy Sprenger at 5:14pm in Air Travel, Americas, Business Travel, CWT Traveler, Travel Tips

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My travel bucket list…the short version

Comments Off · Posted by Stacy Sprenger at 12:05pm in Air Travel, APAC, EMEA, Leisure Travel

Stacy Sprenger
I love exploring new places, trying new foods and indulging in local cultures, so my actual travel bucket list is very long—too long for one lifetime! But there are a few that come to mind right away when I try to organize a more realistic travel bucket list.

Here are my top five:

Panama—Regretfully, this is the one country I missed on a trip I took to Central America. Fellow travelers I’ve spoken to have highly recommended Panama over all other Central American countries, so it has always been a goal for me to make it back for a visit and experience it for myself.

Bangkok food stalls (Photo credit: Ian Gratton)

Bangkok food stalls
(Photo credit: Ian Gratton)

Bangkok—For the foodie in me! Almost everyone I’ve talked to who has traveled to Bangkok came back raving about the food there. It all sounds delicious.

South America—Backpacking or volunteering through South America for at least one year would be incredible.  An extended stay in any country is always a great way to truly experience the local culture, immerse yourself in the day-to-day, and to perfect the language.

Malaysia—I’d want to visit Malaysia for the people. Over the years I’ve met many people from Malaysia and they have all been so genuine, peaceful and happy.

Uluru rock in Australia (Photo credit: Corey Leopold)

Uluru rock in Australia
(Photo credit: Corey Leopold)

Australia—What draws me to want to include Australia on my list is simply to see and experience the natural beauty of the land. The pictures I’ve seen and the stories I’ve heard make it sound beautiful. Not to mention all the outback wildlife!

 

 

 

So there you have it—my (abbreviated) travel bucket list! What’s on yours?

Posted by Stacy Sprenger at 12:05pm in Air Travel, APAC, EMEA, Leisure Travel

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Making the best of long layovers

Comments Off · Posted by Stacy Sprenger at 10:36am in Air Travel, Americas, APAC, EMEA

Stacy Sprenger

89023552Encountering a lengthy layover at the airport is inevitable—we all experience it at some point in time. So next time you find yourself with an extended period of free time between flights, here are a few ways you can use it to your advantage:

Take time to dine. A typical airport meal is rarely relaxing. Most of the time we’re grabbing fast food to bring to the gate or onto the plane. So having time to actually sit down at a restaurant and not be can be a nice change of pace. If there aren’t good options for a sit-down restaurant at your layover airport—and you don’t mind going back through security—check out the surrounding airport hotels for restaurants and take their shuttle over for dinner.

Play catch-up. Take advantage of your extra time by catching up with family and friends—make phone calls, write a few emails, or see what’s happening on social media. Most airports now offer WiFi for easy connectivity during your time there.

Explore. If time allows, grab a cab or a bus to explore the city. Check out the classic landmarks or discover the locals’ favorite spots. Make sure you allow plenty of time to get back, considering traffic, security lines and the walk to your gate. Planned accordingly, exploring the city could be much more fun than waiting around at the airport! (If you’re in an international city, don’t forget to check if a transit visa is required.)

Grab some Zzz’s. Many common layover airports offer transit hotels.  Instead of trying to get some rest on the dreaded airport chair, check into a short-term room at a transit hotel. These are a great place to rest, freshen up and catch some sleep. Transit hotels are usually inside the terminal and a contain bed and shower. The rooms can be rented hourly for the duration of your layover. Click here to see a list CNN put together of transit hotels around the world.

Indulge in a lounge pass. If your layover is too short to justify a transit hotel but long enough to dread sitting in the general areas, consider purchasing a day pass to your airline’s lounge. Generally a one-day pass runs about $50, depending on their airline. By accessing the lounge, you can avoid the busy airport terminals and wait for your flight in comfort. Light snacks, beverages, WiFi, televisions and personal flight assistance are typical services offered in lounges.

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Posted by Stacy Sprenger at 10:36am in Air Travel, Americas, APAC, EMEA

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Carrying on knives and golf clubs: What’s your take?

Comments Off · Posted by Stacy Sprenger at 9:57am in Air Travel, Americas

Stacy Sprenger
As you likely have already heard, the Transportation Security Administration has recently announced that it will soon allow pocket knives and some sporting equipment in carry-on luggage on board flights originating in the U.S.

TSA Permitted KnivesThis change will take effect April 25. The new guidelines state that knives with blades that are 2.36 inches or shorter and less than a half-inch wide will be permitted on U.S. airline flights as long as the blade is not fixed or does not lock into place. See the image to the right from the TSA blog that outlines more specifically which types of knives will be permitted.

In addition to certain knives being allowed, golf clubs (up to two), toy bats, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks or pool cues will also be allowed in carry-on luggage.

As a travel agent, I haven’t personally heard much feedback regarding this change but I have read a lot about the debate from both the airline employee and traveler perspectives. There have even been several requests from travelers, airlines and airline employees for TSA to reverse this decision.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings regarding this rule change. Will you begin traveling with any of these items?  How will you feel if your seat mate is carrying one of them?

For more information on these new guidelines, visit TSA’s blog posting about it here.

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Posted by Stacy Sprenger at 9:57am in Air Travel, Americas

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