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Don't Waste Time In Lines
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If planning an affordable vacation is your goal, after you carefully review all of your cheap travel options prior to purchasing cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, cheap auto rentals, discount travel packages or cheap vacation packages, don’t forget that your time is also worth a lot of money.
Tourists tend to spend way too much time waiting in lines.
The following are tricks for skipping lines, according to Smarter Travel at airports, attractions, cruise terminals, car rental counters, and hotels:
• Make reservations for rides. At theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Disneyland visitors can save time to picking up free Fastpasses which provide passes to future rides. Fastpass machines dispense tickets tell guests when to return to access the ride of their choice. Guests return to wait in much shorter lines. Six Flags parks have a similar program (Flash Pass), but it is not free.
• Consider being a theme park VIP and book a special (usually expensive) tour to save even more time. A VIP Tour at Disney parks comes with “preferred boarding” as well as automatic Fastpass access to select rides. Six Flags parks offers what it calls a “VIP tour” that comes with front of the line ride privileges. Universal Studios Hollywood offers a VIP Experience pass with line cutting perks.
• Look into purchasing tickets to museums and attractions ahead of time online. Guests often are given the option of printing tickets or storing passes on smartphones. Another option is to purchase a CityPASS which includes tickets to several attractions in a city. An additional advantage of such booklets is that they often include admission to attractions that do not normally allow visitors to purchase tickets in advance.
• Use express checkout out at hotels whenever possible. Usually hotel guests simply drop their room keys in a box or use an electronic kiosk to complete the checkout process. Be aware that you can save yourself even more time by taking advantage of self service check in which is starting to become more popular.
• Sign up for a free car rental loyalty program. Many such programs allow members to skip the counters and go straight to their cars.
• Become a “Trusted Traveler” by signing up for a program such as TSA PreCheck ($100 for Global Entry members), Global Entry ($100), and Clear ($179). Members to such programs are directed to expedited airport security and customs lines at select U.S. airports. Some privacy must be sacrificed for this privilege. PreCheck requires a background check, while Clear requires submission of fingerprints.
• Elite members of airline loyalty programs often get to cut in line. Special VIP queues are usually offered when boarding, checking in, and at select airports when going through security.
• Upgrade (i.e., pay a little more) your coach ticket to receive priority boarding, a slightly roomier seat, and sometimes even expedited security.
• Sign up for an airline credit card to take advantage of perks such as free checked bags, bonus miles, free access (only in limited cases) to airport lounges, as well as priority boarding and check in. By being among the first to enter a plane, finding overhead bin space is a breeze.
• Avoid long lines when waiting to board a cruise in a terminal by purchasing skip to the front of the line passes. Sometimes you can get priority cruise boarding with a cabin upgrade or by joining a line’s loyalty program.
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