If you’re a frequent traveler, you know that there are countless programs and services that you can drop money on that claim to make your life easier when globetrotting. You could easily shell out thousands of dollars on travel services that you don’t really need or will never truly use enough to justify the cost. To help you decide which services are worth your hard-earned cash, we’ve compiled a list of the top 4 services that we think can’t be beaten!
1. Global Entry
If you often fly internationally, there is no better service than Global Entry. This program allows you to breeze through some of the more aggravating aspects of flying internationally and it’s a must-have if you are impatient and dread waiting in lines. Nothing is worse than getting off a long flight only to fill out the annoying customs paperwork and then stand in the long customs line for 2 hours afterward. Believe us, the cost of global entry is worth every penny just for being able to skip to the front of that tedious line! There’s also no waiting for customs to open if you took a red-eye flight. If you have Global Entry, you can go through the automated kiosks while everyone else waits until opening time. You also get to breeze through security bottlenecks since global entry members get routed through TSA pre-check; so if you’re paying for that already, you might as well upgrade to global entry. And despite global entry being a U.S. based program, they partner with many airports that offer expedited arrival for pass-holders so there’s minimal wait time once you arrive at your destination. The Global Entry applications are valid for 5 years so there are no yearly annoyances that come with this program, and you can even get reimbursed for the application fee if you are an American Express customer or have the CitiPrestige card.
2. Airport Concierge Services
If “Concierge Services” sounds fancy to you, you’re right! It basically equates to having an airport butler. You can purchase these services as an add-on to your flight and they vary as far as benefits go, so research each offer well before paying. They can get expensive since they range from $50 to upwards of $500 per trip depending on the services offered. Despite being costly, these services are often much cheaper than purchasing a first class ticket, so it’s a good fit if you travel often and don’t want to deal with the hassle of the minor details. It’s also ideal for those that have travel anxiety and need someone to help with the details of a trip. Most concierge services include luxury transportation services, access to private VIP lounges (with reservations made in advance,) expedited check-in and boarding, escorts through security, overnight accommodation bookings (if needed) and an extra set of hands if you’re traveling with small children.
3. Passport/Visa Services
If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to spend standing in line to get your passport or visa, using third party passport and visa services can be a huge help. They’ll double check to make sure your paperwork is all in order and then expedite it to authorities, sometimes even getting it back within 24 hours. If you have an emergency and need to get a passport right away, you’ll probably have to use these third party services since there’s no way to get your paperwork back in a short period of time through conventional means. The service can be quite pricey, so if you aren’t in a time crunch, it may not be worth the cost for you. But, it is certainly a life saver worth paying for if you need to travel with short notice.
4. Preferred Seating/Early Boarding
These programs are great for families traveling together or people that have travel anxiety or issues with personal space. Preferred seating and early boarding programs, again, vary widely depending on the airline but can offer some great perks that various travelers will find appealing. The early boarding is beneficial for families that would like to sit together on flights that don’t assign seats and the extra legroom is often appreciated by taller and anxious passengers. Most airline programs also include dedicated overhead baggage space so you aren’t fighting your neighbor to get your bag stored in the overhead bin. Some airlines even include expedited security as part of their packages so you can relax all the way from security to disembarkation.