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Three Travel Lessons Learned In 2018

Three Travel Lessons Learned in 2018

Now that we are done with Sober January and our livers have recovered adequately from the excess of the holidays, can we take a moment to reflect on any travel victories for 2018? Yes! And make sure you congratulate yourself for those travel victories, because for each travel victory, there’s about five defeating mistakes we learned along the way. But hey…learning!

Traveling is basically project management. You have your schedule, your budget, your team (who’s traveling with you) and your main stakeholder = you!  My goals are usually to have fun, don’t lose anything, and stay within budget. Likewise, in project management, postpartum is very important. What lessons did you learn? What could you have done differently?  Life is a constant learning experience, and traveling is no exception. Here are the top three practical things I learned from traveling

If you’re flying WestJet, the exit row comes with more perks than extra leg room!

Westjet gives you priority boarding if you are sitting in an exit row.

Being fairly new to living in Canada, we have enjoyed trying out the various carriers that differ from those in the US.  Westjet is a regional, low cost carrier that has a limited service area in Canada and choice areas in the US, Mexico and Caribbean.  We like to book the exit row seats for flights over 3 hours, and on a trip to Las Vegas, the exit row seats were called among the first rows to board the plane.  I had to politely confirm with the gate agent, “Did you say exit rows could board now?” because never in my travels have I heard of an exit row seat with priority boarding.  Now I consider it a must to book exit rows when flying Westjet.

If you are part of a two plus hour schedule change, you can change your flight to any other flight, that same day, from the same airline, free of charge.

Ok this might be old news for some people, but this was the first time I was able to use it to my advantage! Being an avid reader of flight tips from One Mile at a Time and The Points Guy, I had learned that some carriers allow you to change to another flight, for no charge,  if there is more than a 2 hour schedule change that is out of your control. The rules vary by carrier, and the departure and arrival locations have to be the same, so make sure you read the fine print if you are trying this yourself.

I happened to be on a United flight during the Christmas holiday, leaving at 7:00 am, which wasn’t ideal, but it was the cheapest flight for the busy Christmas season, so we were going to make due. However, about a month before we were to travel, United had a schedule change to more than 2 hours earlier (5:00 am!!!).  I decided to call customer service and put this to the test, and sure enough, I was able to secure a 2:00 pm departure, which allowed us to enjoy last moments with the family and have breakfast. I love when my aimless browsing on the internet pays off!

Nexus works in the global entry line at the DFW airport even though there are no signs for ‘Nexus’ in the immigration line.

Ok, I should have done my research on this one, but working people with lives, you know, I totally spaced it and the time to research this detail got away.  We received our Nexus cards because we figured we would need it to visit relatives in the states, and it would help for any road trips we would take down south, and boy, we were right!  

Having our Nexus cards has been so helpful to travel back and forth between the US and Canada. Nexus is part of the Trusted Traveler program, and as such, if you have a Nexus card but not Global Entry status, you can use the expedited lines to enter the US.  When we drive from Canada into the US, there are clearly labeled lines indicating these lines are reserved for Nexus card holders. However, perhaps because there is less direct traffic from Canada, the signs at DFW only display Global Entry. I hesitated to try the lines, but later learned I could have used my Nexus card to enter here because it was a direct flight from the US.  This would have saved us some time in the immigration line, had I researched it beforehand!

What are some travel victories you had in 2018?

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