When traveling either in a group or as a family we have some great tips for avoiding holiday queues! This is not just about the kids – there are many corporate travelers who are so used to traveling often, (aka George Clooney “Up in the Air”) who have the inside knowledge on reducing your waiting times in holiday queues.
Inspired by the article “How to Cut Lines When You Travel”, and “How to travel like George Clooney in “Up in the Air”” here are my top tips for getting as quickly as you can to the fun part of your holidays!
Whether you are standing in a long customs queue or attempting to visit the New York Galleries on a summer Saturday, we all spend too much time in line. But there’s a better way to see the world: Live life in the fast lane!
Fast Pass for Rides (USA)
You may have heard the controversy about wealthy park-goers who hire physically disabled tour guides so they can skip lines at Disney World. For those of us with even nominal ethical standards, however, there are far more respectable ways to avoid the queue at Space Mountain. At Walt Disney World and Disneyland, visitors can save time by grabbing a free Fastpass; it’s essentially a reservation for your ride. Look for Fastpass machines, which spit out tickets that tell you when to return to access your ride of choice so that you can wait in a much shorter line.
Sadly, this doesn’t apply to the Australian Theme Parks we researched.
Be a Theme Park VIP
Open your wallet and book a special (and usually expensive) tour to save even more time. Purchase a VIP Tour at Disney parks and you can enjoy “preferred boarding” as well as automatic Fastpass access at select rides. Other parks also have a VIP Experience which enables queue-cutting.
Buy Your Tickets Ahead of Time
Many museums and attractions offer online ticket booking. Guests can either print tickets or store them on smartphones. Great for avoiding the ticket queue before the entrance queue! We found this particularly useful in Italy at all the major galleries and museums.
Consider a City Pass
Alternatively, think about buying a City Pass (ie. New York Pass etc). Your City Pass often includes admission to places that don’t normally allow visitors to buy tickets in advance, so it’s an especially fantastic tool for skirting long lines. Plus, you get free/reduced rates into a range off attractions which can guide your holiday activities. Pick your days for City Pass use carefully to make the most of the discounts and attractions.
Use Express Checkout
Express checkout (sometimes called self-service or automatic checkout), hotel guests can drop their room keys into a box or use an electronic kiosk to complete the check-out process.
Join a Car-Rental Loyalty Program
Did you know that car-rental loyalty-program members (free service) can often skip the counters and head right to their cars? For example, Hertz’s Gold Plus Rewards program offers “Carfirmation” of your rental: a text message with the car type and location sent directly to your phone. Just show up at the rental facility, go right to your designated car in the parking lot, and drive off into the sunset. (Your contract will be waiting in the vehicle.) Other car companies (ie. Avis, Budget) have similar schemes.
Become a Trusted Traveler
By applying for new programs like TSA PreCheck ($100 for Global Entry members), Global Entry ($100), and Clear ($179), travelers can access expedited airport-security and customs lines at eligible U.S. airports. You must exchange some privacy for this privilege, though. PreCheck requires a background check. And to join Clear, plan on submitting to fingerprint verification as well.
Note that these programs are pretty limited for now (although recent expansion of services has been announced for frequent travelers in the USA).
For Australian Residents, consider Smartgate. SmartGate gives eligible travellers the option to self-process through passport control. SmartGate uses the data in the ePassport and face recognition technology to perform the customs and immigration checks usually conducted by a Customs and Border Protection officer.
Join an Airline Loyalty Program
Elite members get to cut in line by checking in, passing through security and boarding in First or Business Class lines. It is a great option and really saves on queues. Definitely worth a look. We fly Qantas.
Upgrade Your Plane Ticket
Consider purchasing an upgrade to a premium/business class seat—which can come with priority boarding or expedited security—for a fee or use of your frequent flyer points.
and if all else fails…
Channel George Clooney/Ryan Bingham and think about his top tips from the movie…
- Carry on… My rule is…if it’s less than a week trip, carry-on. Pack light and benefit
- Don’t be a bin hoarder…The only item that must remain separate is your laptop
- Wear shoes that require socks… Its a hygiene thing – just saying…
- Slip-ons Rule… Love that scene where George/Ryan talks about this
The Liquids Secret… As long as your toiletries are in one bag, are all under the 100ml limit, then there is no need to take them out of your luggage and place separately on the security belt
- If in doubt, declare… Yes, chocolates are considered food. 🙂 (ok,. that was mine..)
Happy holidays – dream about what is possible; believe you can do it; make the most of your annual leave; plan, book and enjoy your holiday; then dream about where you will go next! It is your turn!
…and… if you are looking for a resort-style luxury beachfront holiday home for your family holiday, romantic break wedding accommodation, (watch our video here), or a girls getaway contact us at La Maison Pacifique for availability and a quote…. Remember, our rates compare really well with local 5-star resorts – and La Maison Pacifique is private – on the beach – walking distance to cafes at Cabarita Beach – perfect spot for whale watching (June to November each year) – children optional!
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Until next time – enjoy your day wherever you are from La Maison Pacifique “The Peaceful House” and your boutique designer luxury holiday home vacation rental in Casuarina, New South Wales, Australia – half way between the Gold Coast QLD and Byron Bay NSW, Australia.
Property Consultant & Interior Designer
La Maison Pacifique
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