Greetings Wednesday Readers!
I'm finally done with my show season travel — that's San Francisco above — and I've managed to come down with a nasty chest cold.
But as someone who travels a lot, I wanted to pass along some tips for making your journeys a little bit easier.
My first suggestion is if you travel internationally, I heartily recommend joining the TSA Global Entry Trusted Traveler program. There is a $100 fee for a 5-year membership, but $20 a year isn't bad. Membership entitles you to bypass U.S. Customs upon your return from abroad (even when you return from Canada and go through U.S. Customs before boarding the plane home). It also gives you a TSA Pre membership. TSA Pre allows you to bypass security lines at quite a few major airports. You'll be in a shorter line and every once in a while you can completely bypass the removal of shoes, jacket, belt, computer, and 3-ounce liquids from your carry-on. You simply put everything through at once. It does save time if you travel for business.
If you travel in Europe or elsewhere abroad and want to avoid paying cell phone fees worthy of a billionaire (assuming your cell phone works in Europe), I would also suggest renting a personal WiFi hotspot. There are several companies that provide WiFi (or MiFi) for use in the U.K. and Europe and it's relatively inexpensive. So, instead of incurring a $500 phone bill bloated with "international roaming fees" just so you can get e-mails on your smart phone, you pay $5 a day for WiFi which comes with 1 GB of data (or something akin to it). I also turn "data roaming" off on my phone, and enable "WiFi calling." That way you're paying nothing in order to receive your e-mails and phone calls, and it's your cell phone number, not some new number that goes with the SIM card you rent. Plus, you can connect it with up to 5 devices, so you can have multiple users linked or have your laptop, iPhone, iPad, Android, etc., all on at the same time.
Normally I rent a TEP, but lately their customer service has been less than stellar (devices not getting delivered, double shipments, mailing labels with incorrect return addresses, and no fees refunded for not even receiving a device). There are other companies which provide the same services. They work across multiple countries as well.