Well, here it is the end of the month and I’m just now here to say Happy New Year! It’s been a crazy month, but a great month and it is ending on a high note. Before I get in to that, I first want to apologize. Like many others, I’m sure you have noticed my blog posts stopped coming quite some time ago. Without boring you with all of the details, I can assure you that no one was happier to see 2018 come around than me! Of course, taking care of my clients who trust me with their hard earned vacation time and dollars was and will always be a priority. I hope you understand and will enjoy my future posts! My Travel Times posts will focus on helpful hints, tips, and travel information. If you have something you would like me to write about, I’m always open to your ideas.
This week, I was once again honored as a Cruise Planners top producing agent for 2017 earning me the 2018 Millionaire Club Status. I can’t thank enough all of those who help me do what I love to do! If it weren’t for my valuable clients trusting me with their vacations and my very patient friends and family putting up with my crazy schedule, I would never earn the accolades… Thank you for letting me be me! Here’s a picture of the balloons Cruise Planners home office sent acknowledging the achievement.
One of the first things I want to remind you about in the new year is to check your passport expiration dates! Did you know that many destinations require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months PAST your date of travel? That’s right! I always try to remind you when you book travel to check your passport expiration, but without fail… someone forgets and we run in to a time crunch. In 2007 legislation was passed that extended the need for passports when traveling internationally. They issued 18 million passports in 2007, which means they expired in 2017. Last year was a busy year for renewals and they expect this year to be no different. International travel is also on the rise again so they are expecting higher numbers for first time passport applications as well.
If you don’t already have a valid passport in your possession, now is the time to do it! There may also be a need to carry a passport for domestic flights in the US in the not too distant future. There are still 9 states that are not in compliance with the Real ID act, those 9 states have been granted an extension until October 2018 to come in to compliance. If they do not, residents of those 9 states will need passports to board a flight. The original effective date was January 22, 2018, but late last year an extension was granted until October 2018.
While you’re reviewing your passport, if you don’t have it already, now is the time to consider the Global Entry program. I love it and can’t imagine traveling without it! Well, I can imagine it because not all of my travel companions have Global Entry so I happily wait for them to clear immigration upon arrival back in to the US. There are also other Department of Homeland Security programs that can help ease the frustration of air travel. TSA PreCheck is another great option I like. NEXUS and SENTRI are 2 more of the programs. I recommend checking and comparing each one to see which suits your needs. The Department of Homeland Security actually has a great trusted traveler program comparison chart on their website.
Another great option for expediting entry back in to the USA is the Mobile Passport App! This app is officially authorized by US Customs and Border Protection. The apps allows you to quickly input your immigration information and breeze through customs at participating airports and cruise ports. It’s a very easy process! You download the app, set up your profile, answer a few questions, submit to CBP, and proceed through the designated Mobile Passport line. It is a real time saver!
I look forward to providing you with more travel tips, hints, and information throughout the year. Don’t forget, if you have any special requests for topics, I’m all ears!
Remember to check my social media channels for updates !