Tips from Mark Murphy:
Family Travel Tips That Save
IF GOING TO A THEME PARK: Sign up for the parks website and newsletter so you can receive emails with special summer rates.
Middle of the week is always a better option, particularly for long lines
Check out to see if they offer park hopper passes if you're going for more than one day.
IF GOING TO THE BEACH: Look into renting a home rather than a hotel, often cheaper when you factor in that the home comes with a kitchen and you can make your own meals, rather than going out to save money.
IF STAYING IN A HOTEL: Look for special family travel offers such as kids eat free or stay free that are available at selected hotel and resort chains.
IF RENTING A CAR: Look for ones with extra space and built in DVD players. If you have a child and need a car seat, make sure they offer them when you rent.
IF FLYING: Look for first flights out in the morning - they are often on time and less waiting time in the airport to entertain the kids.
· Look at alternative airports; an airport that might be a little bit farther than your main airport can save you some money, up to several hundred dollars per ticket.
· Selectively choose your security line: Many airports have multiple entries into the airport. If you see a huge line at one checkpoint, try another. Educate yourself on the options at your home airport. Many airports have connected terminals once through security, so you can sometimes save time by entering a further security checkpoint and then transiting once in the terminal.
· Dress appropriately and know what, how and when to take certain items off and put them back on.
· Ask Nicely: This can actually go a lot further than you might think. Most often, the agents manning the priority security lines are independent airport contract workers and sometimes even TSA agents. Whether it is because you are cutting your time too short and your flight is starting to board or if you are traveling with small children, they just might send you through the priority line. Never hurts to ask - nicely!
· Adjust approach for children and seniors: Children 12 and under can leave their shoes on during screening. For seniors, modified screening measures allow passengers 75 and older to leave on shoes and light jackets through security checkpoints. Sign up for Global Entry if you or your family travels frequently - more below!
TO SIGN UP FOR GLOBAL ENTRY: Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.
· No minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program.
· Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports.
· Present the machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration.
· Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and interview before enrollment.
· You can apply online at: <http://www.globalentry.gov/howtoapply.html>
· You have to go for an interview at your local Global Entry Enrollment Center; they will collect biometric information, take your photo, etc.
· Applicants must be in possession of either a machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card.
· You will be denied if:
· Have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants;
· Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
· Are subjects of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state or local law enforcement agency;
COST: This program is available to U.S. citizens and legal, permanent residents and there is a $100 fee for a five-year registration.