Thanksgiving Travel Tips from TSA

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. This means airports across the country will be busier than ever with a huge number of passengers traveling home for the holidays. According to the Transportation Security Administration, this year is one of their busiest Thanksgiving on record. 24 million travelers are expected to be screened at the airport checkpoints. That is a 6 percent increase compared to last year.

The increase in number of passengers has started last Friday. This upward trend is expected until Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Same as on Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving. It may be useful to note that the busiest travel days will be Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Sunday thereafter.

How to Prepare

A passenger’s preparation can make a significant difference on his security screening experience. It is recommended that passengers arrive early – 2 hours in advance for domestic flights at Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and at John F. Kennedy International Airport and 3 hours in advance for international flights. This is to allow passengers to park their cars or return car rentals, check their bags with the airline, get a boarding pass, etc. before heading to the checkpoint.

Here are some travel tips for the airport security checkpoint as shared by the TSA:

  • Apply for TSA Pre✓® or other trusted travel programs like Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI. To find the trusted traveler program that best suits your travel needs, use the DHS trusted traveler comparison tool. These programs help improve security and provide a more convenient travel experience by affording travelers access to TSA Pre✓® expedited screening lanes. Travelers using the TSA Pre✓® lane do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets at more than 180 U.S. airports. Find the program that best suits your travel needs. To get additional information about TSA Pre✓®, visit the frequently asked questions page on the TSA website.
  • Tweet or Message AskTSA. Issues receiving TSA Pre✓® on your boarding pass? Unsure if an item is allowed through security? Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also reach the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
  • Prepare for security when packing.  Put large liquids, gels, creams and aerosols, into checked bags such as shampoo, conditioner, suntan lotion, shaving cream and anti-perspirant. If you’ve only got a carry-on bag, make sure all of your liquids follow the 3-1-1 rule outlined below. And it’s important to make sure that you’ve got no prohibited items in your luggage. Check TSA’s web site feature “Can I bring my ________?” at www.tsa.gov. Type in an item and find out immediately if you can bring it in your carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither.
  • Follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule for your carry-on bag. When packing a carry-on bag, it is important to remember that liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all bottles must fit in a single quart size plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening. This includes sun block and tanning sprays for those who are travelling to sunny destinations. Let the TSA officer know right away if you’re traveling with larger quantities of medically-necessary liquid medications or breast milk or formula for an infant as those can be screened separately.
  • Be ready when you enter the checkpoint line: Have an acceptable ID and boarding pass out of your wallet and ready to hand to the TSA officer. Once you get to the divesting tables, remove laptops, any electronics larger than a cell phone and the 3-1-1 compliant liquids bag, from carry-on baggage and place those items in a checkpoint bin.
  • Be prepared to remove all electronics larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bags and place them in a bin with nothing above or underneath them.
  • Consider minimizing items that you wear to the airport such as bulky jewelry, scarves, hair accessories, large belts and other bulky items as these articles are likely to require additional screening. Remove all items from your pockets and put them into one of your carry-on bags so you won’t lose them.
  • Check the bins: Equally important, travelers are reminded to check the bins when collecting all belongings after going through screening and before leaving the checkpoint screening area. Often, travelers leave behind laptops, wallets, ID, phones and loose change.
  • The TSA Contact Center is available to answer questions by email and phone at 1-866-289-9673. Staff is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends/holidays; and an automated service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Call TSA Cares. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and to find out what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as arrange for assistance at the checkpoint.

Let us support TSA’s security efforts by being aware and reporting suspicious activities (If You See Something, Say Something™). For individuals traveling abroad, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Know Before You Go page to learn about required documentation.

Global Entry Expands Eligibility to Taiwan Passport Holders

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection together with other US and Taiwan officials have announced that Taiwan passport holders are now eligible to apply for Global Entry. This took effect on November 1, 2017.

Currently, Global Entry is available in 54 U.S airports and 15 Preclearance locations around the world. It expedites the international arrivals process in the airport as it bypasses traditional CBP inspection lines and uses automated kiosks. As an added benefit, Global Entry members are also eligible to participate in the TSA Pre✓™ expedited screening program.

Taiwan Eligible for Global Entry

John Norris, Managing Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, looks forward to stronger ties with Taiwan. He said to Taipei Times that Taiwan’s inclusion in the Global Entry program and its continuing membership in the US’ Visa Waiver Program signifies the “strong, trusted partnership between Taiwan and the US”.

Taiwan reciprocated the Global Entry eligibility by including US passport holders in Taiwan’s eGate program. It also took effect on Nov. 1, which marks the fifth anniversary of Taiwan’s inclusion in the visa waiver program in 2012.

Who are eligible to apply?

Aside from US citizens and lawful permanent residents, citizens of Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and now Taiwan, are all eligible to apply for the Global Entry Program.

How to apply for Global Entry?

Applying for Global Entry is easy.

  1. Simply go to the CBP website to create a Trusted Traveler Program account. Detailed instructions are provided.
  2. After completing the application, the $100 non-refundable fee must be paid.
  3. The completed application will be reviewed and once approved, an interview may be scheduled with a CBP officer. Global Entry has over 90 interview locations
  4. A valid form of identification (e.g. driver’s license) together with the passport must be presented at the interview.

 

Please visit the CBP and AIT websites for more information about Global Entry for Taiwan.

Lonely Planet Guidebooks: Why they are No. 1

Preparing for your trip may be almost as exciting as the actual trip itself.



When you are embarking on your travels, excited and enthusiastic, you are probably thinking about buying a few of the best travel guide books that you can afford. Depending on which country you are planning to visit, you may find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed at how many hard-copy guidebooks you may need for your trip, and where you can find them.

There are so many travel guide companies online, but how do you know that these guide books will be the best for you.

Then, you wonder about the extra weight these guide books will add to your luggage and you think about the fact that you have to carry the guide books around with you as you travel.

Although, they aren’t generally huge, their sizing can be a little inconvenient as they are not like a pocket guide, you can slip into your jeans. So, once at your destination, you have to put your guide books in a bag and get them out each time you want to check out where you are going.

Disadvantages to printed guide books

You get fed up of carrying them about

Stuffed in a handbag, carrier bag or other bag, you soon find that it becomes annoying to have to keep getting the guides out to check where you are, get directions, or check out which places of interest you are going to visit.

Lonely Planet Baja in Car Door

One of the things that we have to be aware of when in a different country is that, as a tourist, you can stick out like a very sore thumb.

If you are in a hot country, with lots of tanned or dark-skinned nationals, your lily-white legs point a very large arrow towards you labeled “TOURIST” and that can attract undesirable people towards you, perhaps intent on making a quick buck, running off with your handbag, or hassling you to buy cheap, unnecessary goods or have your photo taken with an angry looking monkey!

Within a few days, you may have a developing tan and not look so obvious. But, it is preferable to not call attention to your status as a tourist. So, as you are standing together, head to head, excitedly scouring the hard copy tourist guide, you are in a position of potential vulnerability.

As sad and negative as this seems, it is an unfortunate fact of life, and it is better if we go prepared in order that we reduce our risks.

The alternative?

Lonely Planet guidebooks are a perfect answer to this potential problem.



How?

Lonely Planet has created a fantastic alternative option for printed travel guides. They have led the way, in our technological world, of supplying tour guides in digital format.

You can download the guides that you need to your android phone or iPhone, laptop or tablet, or any device that has e-reader technology.

Lonely Planet is one of the best companies that we know, for providing top-quality guide books.

The company was started by Tony and Maureen Wheeler, who came up with the idea for supplying guide books after they stapled their first ever guide book together after they came back from a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, traveling across Asia.

Lonely Planet always put the traveler first, at the forefront of everything they do. We are delighted with the quality of these digital eBook guides and recommend them to anyone who asks us which company to use for travel guides.

The guide books are updated as necessary, usually every 2-3 years, and all books on the website feature a note on when the new update is due.

Lonely Planet guides are available in a variety of languages

They have a dozen partner sites for a range of countries—English, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese (simplified or traditional), Korean, Czech, Hebrew, Russian and Indian (English version).

You can find many available on Amazon for these languages.

Their award-winning website gives you all of the tools that you will need as you begin to sit down and plan your trip away.

We find their website to be one of the best online. It is very easy to navigate. With a simple click, you can quickly find the travel guide that you are looking for. Everything that you might be considering for your trip can be found on the Lonely Planet website.

There are over 450 titles which feature award-winning photography. You can also sign up as a subscriber to be notified of any special deals that they offer from time to time.

How do I find the e-books?

Go to the website www.lonelyplanet.com and you will see a menu at the top with a choice of video, destinations, booking, shop and sign in.

You will need to create an account with Lonely Planet in order to purchase your guide books, so we recommend that you do this first.

Get the digital chapters you want, ditch the ones you don’t! Only $4.95 per chapter!

  • Once you have opened your account, go to the menu bar and click on “shop”
  • Below that menu bar, you will see a drop-down box that says MY COUNTRY; click on the downward pointing arrow and choose your country. Then click on UPDATE
  • Underneath the header that says “Shop” you will see the words “Journey through over 500 travel titles covering 195 countries” and, under that it says, ‘You can also download most of our destination guides to your iPad, Kindle, Android and more”
  • Beneath that is a list of countries where guides are available and also a map with North America, Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, Pacific & Australia and Antarctica. This is the page where you can access the printed, hard copy guides

To access the digital e-book guides, go back to the menu, just below the “Shop” heading, that says “Shop home,” “Destination Guides,” “eBooks,” “Pictorial & Gifts,” “Phrasebook,” “Lonely Planet Kids” and “Special Offers”

On that menu, click on “eBooks”

On that page, you will see that there are a staggering 275 available eBook travel guides. From here, you can look for the country or countries that you plan to visit, and select the eBook guides that you need.

I don’t know what an eBook is

An eBook is simply a digital version of the printed guidebooks. The “e” stands for “electronic.” You can receive it in PDF version or an epub file for Apple, Nook and Kobo and, for Kindle, it comes in a .mobi file.

What do I need?

You will need Adobe Reader or any other PDF Reader. If you are using a smartphone, you can download a PDF Reader app from Google Store, although we think that most phones already have a PDF reader installed. You will need to make sure that you have the latest, updated software available on your device.

You can purchase from Lonely Planet by PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Visa Debit or Visa Electron [UK]. Your purchase online is secure as Lonely Planet use World Pay which is a global leader in secure, safe payment systems that fully protects your card details.

What guides can I get on digital?

It is unlikely you won’t be able to get exactly the digital travel guide that you want.

eBooks are available for all regional guides, Shoestring guides, Multi-country guides, City guides, Country guides, Trekking guides, Walking, Cycling, and Hiking guides, Parks and Wildlife guides and a variety of phrasebooks and pictorials as well as travel reference books.

At the time of writing, you cannot purchase the digital version of the Discover guides, Pocket guides, Encounter guides and travel reference, travel literature and pictorials. If there is something you are not sure is available, the company is excellent if you contact them for support and guidance.

How do I download my eBook guide?

Once you have opened an account, chosen and paid for your guide(s) you will be taken to a confirmation page on the screen. As long as you have purchased on the device you are planning to use the guides with, then you can download immediately. But, if you have purchased on your PC, you will want to download onto the device that you plan to use for reading the digital guide. You can do this from the confirmation email link that Lonely Planet will send to you.

You will receive this email from shopping@lonelyplanet.com.au. Check your spam box first, before contacting the company, if you can’t see the email in your in box. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail (and other email accounts like that) have an automatic spam filter that often hides emails that are sent from a shopping site.

They are doing their best to protect you from spam, but you will often find a stray email in your spam box that should be in your in box.

If you have looked in your spam box and still can’t find the email, you can contact Lonely Planet to arrange for it to be sent again, or sent to a different email account. Don’t worry about this as Lonely Planet will resolve this as quickly as they can.

If you are planning well ahead of your trip, Lonely Planet advises that you download your digital product within two months. They are generous in that they give you 5 opportunities to download your digital purchase so if you suddenly lose all of your data, you can login again and download to your device.

Get the digital chapters you want, ditch the ones you don’t! Only $4.95 per chapter!

Will an eBook take up a lot of space on my device?

With the huge memories on modern devices, the digital download will not take up a lot of space.

An average eBook will be around 100mb, or more, in size, so the download may vary in speed depending on your broadband connection.

We have found it best to start the download, and then go off and do something else for ten minutes or so.

Are the digital versions different to the hardcopy, printed guidebooks?

The digital eBook contains exactly the same content as in the printed guidebook.

However, Lonely Planet may rearrange the content slightly in the digital version in order to create a more linear process for reading on a device. You can zoom in and highlight text that might be important for your trip and, should you want to, you can actually print off the guide as a back-up copy in case your device gets broken, lost or the battery dies.

Can I share the digital copy with our friends who are traveling with us?

Unfortunately, this is against terms and conditions of purchase from Lonely Planet and it is an illegal practice. The digital books are protected by copyright. You cannot post links anywhere on the internet for your download.

Are the eBooks expensive?

We think that the prices are extremely reasonable. But, if you click on “Special offers” on the menu, you will see that Lonely Planet offers discounts if you purchase more than one guide, whether it is hard copy, printed or digital guide.



Conclusion

We believe that the Lonely Planet digital travel guides are the best. The quality of content is second to none. The guides are easy to read and beautifully presented in digital format.

You will find it so easy to quickly scroll through the information on your device, find text that you have highlighted and get the information that you need. The company are a delight to deal with and, if a customer ever has an issue with a guide, they provide fast solutions.

We hope that you enjoy your Lonely Planet digital travel guides.  We sure do!

Have any others you enjoy more than Lonely Planet guidebooks.  Let us know what they are and why they’re awesome!

Indian Citizens Now Eligible For Global Entry

Good news for Indian citizens. On July 3rd the United States CBP announced that citizens of India are eligible to join the Global Entry program. With this announcement India becomes the 11th country whose citizens are allowed to enroll in Global Entry.

 

India Customs Global Entry

 

The other countries whose citizens are allowed to enroll in Global Entry are:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Germany
  • India
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Panama
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Global Entry, a CBP (Customs and Border Protection) Trusted Traveler Program, grants expedited clearance of pre-screened and approved low-risk travelers expedited clearance into the United States at a variety of airport and border crossing stations.

According to Commissioner Kevin McAleenan in the CBP’s announcement; “CBP is excited to offer our flagship Trusted Traveler Program to Indian citizens,” said Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “By expanding Global Entry eligibility, CBP is transforming the international arrivals process, making it more secure, efficient and welcoming, for the millions of Indian citizens who visit the United States each year.”

Global Entry is currently available at 53 U.S. entry airports and 15 Pre-clearance locations. The program streamlines international arrivals for “Trusted Travelers” and will surely be a help to those Indian citizens who visit the United States each year.

By being a member of Global Entry, Indian Citizens will be able to bypass traditional CBP inspection lines and use an automated kiosk to complete their admission to the United States. As an added benefit, Global Entry members are also eligible to participate in the TSA Pre✓™ expedited screening program.

How Indian Citizens Can Apply For Global Entry

The application fee for Indian citizens applying for Global Entry is $100 and via the GOES online application and is non-refundable. An additional fee of 500 Rupees is also required by the Passport Seva Portal after your initial GOES applicaion is completed. Acceptance into the program is good for 5 years.

Following application submittal and conditional approval all Indian citizens will have to undergo an in person interview conducted by a CBP officer. This is the case for all applicants applying for the Global Entry program. There are over 90 locations for your interview and can be scheduled through your GOES via your log in information.

Interview questions can range from, “What other countries have you visited prior to arriving into the United States?”, “Do you have any relatives living in the United States?”, “What is your purpose in visiting the United States?”. The questions are straightforward and what you would expect for receive expedited access into the U.S.A.

The Application process, according to the CBP website:

Apply Online with CBP: Complete a GOES online application and pay the $100 non-refundable application fee.

  1. After completion of step ‘1’ applicants need to submit the requisite information, along with the applicable fee of ₹500, in the Passport Seva Portal, www.passportindia.gov.in for their background check in India. In addition to this, all Indian applicants must schedule an in-person interview at the respective Passport Seva Kendra/Passport Seva Laghu Kendra (PSK/PSLK) office as per their residential jurisdiction in India (as per the address furnished online). During the interview, Indian citizens will have their fingerprints and photo captured and complete other formalities. A visit to the PSK/PSLK is based on prior appointment only.
  2. If the applicant is not presently living in India, it is recommended that they apply for Global Entry prior to their next trip to India so that the appointment at the PSK/PSLK office can be completed during their visit.
  3. Schedule an Interview in the U.S.: Once your application is reviewed, you will receive a message in your GOES account instructing you to schedule an interview at one of the Global Entry Enrollment Centers. Global Entry Enrollment Centers are primarily located within the United States at ports of entry and designated CBP facilities.
  4. Interview Determines Your Eligibility: A U.S. Customs Border Protection officer will ask you questions, take your photo, and collect your fingerprints.
  5. Provide Identification: Bring your valid passport(s) and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card to the interview. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you must present your permanent resident card.

Note that Indian Citizens applying for Global Entry must have a valid passport and valid visa before applying.

Travelling light always has a lot of advantages. A lighter bag makes you move around easier. You won’t have to pay for excess baggage fees. It’s easier to track your belongings. And the list goes on. So how do we keep it light? The first thing to remember when packing light for a travel is to always put together the essentials. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Make a list. Making a list may seem to be a simple, no-brainer thing to do. But writing the items you will bring helps you with prioritization. It gives you time to think and lets you differentiate between what you want to bring versus what you really need to bring. It gives you peace of mind when packing. You don’t get to bring unnecessary things out of fear that you forgot something.                                                                                                    
  2. Mix and match. Since you want to pack less clothes as much as possible, you must learn the art of mixing and matching your clothes. A pair of pants may be paired with 2 different shirts, for example. You must be selective. This is a lot easier to do when you choose clothes with neutral colors.                                                                              
  3. Roll it! Rolling your clothes is a big space saver and may limit the number of bags you will bring. Notice how folded clothes easily take up space on your bag? It is easier to squeeze in rolled garments inside your bag compared to the folded ones.
  4. Heavy ones first, light last. It is always easier to squeeze in smaller, lighter items in an almost full bag rather than the bulky ones. Putting in bulky and heavier items first will also allow you to distribute the weight of your things in the bag evenly.                                                                                                                                                 
  5. Pack in advance. It is always wise to pack your things in advance. Packing in a hurry is stressful so don’t wait until the day before you leave. You can start packing 2-3 days before your trip. This way, you can re-assess the items in your packing list.