Ways to Avoid Lines When You Travel

Unless you’ve already been authorized for PreCheck, you’re not going to be able to avoid the TSA security lines. But there are things you can do when you’re getting ready to travel and things you can do once you get where you’re going that can help you avoid lines like a pro. Let us show you how.
If you’re going to spend the day at an amusement park, you don’t have to spend a lot of time in line. Disney and many other theme parks have systems in place that let you essentially reserve a place in line. One side note: some parks offer this as a free service, while others, like Six Flags, charge for it.
Take advantage of online booking. Museums and other attractions allow you to purchase your tickets before you arrive. You then print them or keep them in your smartphone, and bypass the line altogether. Some cities also offer an all-inclusive pass that includes admission to its major attractions, again saving you from doing nothing but waiting in line.
Use express checkout at your hotel. Because your credit card is on file as part of your check-in process, you’re good to go at all major hotels without stopping by the front desk, provided the bill you find inside your door is accurate. This may not always be the case at smaller boutique hotels.
Car rental loyalty program members skip the line completely and go straight to their vehicle. If you’re not a member, you’ll wait in line, sometimes for a very long time. But if you’re in the loyalty program — for some car rental companies — your car will be waiting for you when you get off your plane.
The same is true with airline loyalty reward programs. You can use VIP queues for checking bags and during boarding, and sometimes you even get moved through security more quickly. Again, since these don’t cost anything to join, you can invest a little time and save it later. Of course, you may need to be a certain status level, so make sure you know the details of your program before you travel.
Finally, if you really want to avoid lines in air travel, start using an airline’s credit card. There are many perks that come with it — free checked bags, access to airport lounges, and priority boarding. All ways to avoid lines! And, they help you reach that coveted elite status that can get you through some of the VIP queues at the airport.
What are some ways you avoid waiting in line? Share your ideas in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.
Photo credit: Cory Doctorow (Flickr, Creative Commons)