Waiting around can be such a drag when you’re taking a trip or vacation, so if there are ways to cut time in lines why not make the most of them. Whether it’s at check in or waiting to get into a museum, there are ways to cut queuing time so you get more time where you want to be. Make a note of these ways to cut time in lines for your next outing, trip or vacation.
1. Airline Loyalty Programs
One of the easiest ways to cut time in lines while traveling is to join an airline loyalty program. Whether you are an elite traveler or a lower level trekker, most frequent flyer programs cost nothing to join and offer priority boarding. Some, like Hawaiian airlines, even team with grocery stores to allow the store loyalty points to be converted to those precious miles, which can lead to better perks!
2. Airline Credit Cards
While most are not free (or only free for the first year), airline credit cards can be another option for racking up perks for making purchases you would have made anyway. Besides free checked bags and access to airport lounges, these cards often allow travelers to enjoy priority boarding and check-in; especially important in the world of first-come, first-served seating.
3. Trusted Traveler Registry
The TSA programs Clear, Global Entry and PreCheck allow expedited security and customs procedures at certain airports, in exchange for pre-submitting finger prints (Clear) or submitting to a background check (PreCheck). Sure, you are giving up a bit of privacy but after taking off your shoes and compressing liquids into 3oz bottles for the last decade, it could be worth it.
4. Rental Car Loyalty Cards
Another free way to spend less time in lines while traveling is to join a rental car loyalty program. This is one of the travel industry’s best kept secret investment vs reward payoffs. Skip the ahead of all your weary fellow travelers and jaunt straight to your car! With a text message confirmation (or “carfirmation” from Hertz) , you’ll know exactly which ride to head to in the parking lot. Contracts will be inside the vehicle. Other major rental agencies like Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Dollar offer this too!
5. Buy Attraction Tickets in Advance
Once settled in your destination and ready to see the sights, avoid queues by purchasing your tourist attraction tickets in advance! Many museums and other sites allow online ticket purchases, allowing you to just show up and waltz right in to the event or showing of your choice. Cover even more bases in major cities by purchasing a CityPass to enjoy discounts and skip line at places that may not have online advance sales.
6. Ride Reservations
Take some of the sting out of amusement park visits by evading the long lines for rides. Cut waiting time by getting a ride reservation. At Disneyland and Walt Disney world, the Fastpass is free and tell you when to return to the ride for a shorter wait. The Flash pass at Six Flags is not free, but it also allows you to reserve a ride in advance. In addition to the kiosks in the park, these can also be purchased online. Other independent parks offer variations of these, so it pays to check online before you go.
7. Express Check-out
These days, unless you have something to dispute on the bill there is no reason to stand in line for check out at most major hotels. The morning of your departure, a bill will usually be slipped under your door. If everything looks good, just leave your keys in the indicated box or kiosk on your way out. Even better, many hotels allow you to check out and pay via the television in your room. Just leave the keys behind (with whatever you forgot under the bed/in the bathroom) and hit the road! An insider tip: if your hotel allows TV checkout, you can also check the bill anytime during your stay via the TV too. Any disputes can usually be addressed on the phone right away and prevent surprises at the end.
Don’t hesitate to cut time in lines when you travel. You’re there to see the sights, not to queue. Do you have any other tips for cutting waiting time?