travel tips

Travel Tips for Liberty Lake (Community Voice)

in Community Voice/Featured

Good morning Liberty Lake,

With the first round of holiday travel in the rearview mirror I wanted to pass along some travel tips. Hopefully, these tips help travelers who don’t travel that often (once a year or less), and maybe a seasoned traveler might learn something new as well.

Just like anything, have a plan!

When my family and I travel we plan it all out (my older kids actually make fun of me when I communicate the plan to them. Right down to who carries which bag.)

Packing – I prefer to carry-on bags as much as possible. With airline travel there are so many things that are out of the airline’s control like weather, airport limitations, mechanical issues (yes I said mechanical issues, airlines can’t predict when a mechanical issue will pop up), bag belts do break. With only a carry-on bag you are able to quickly change planes without worrying if your bags will make the new flight. If you need to check a back make sure you have a days’ worth of clothes to change into. This will calm your nerves in the unlikely event your bags don’t make the flight for whatever reason. This brings me to car keys, medication, electronics, valuable heirlooms, jewelry, under any circumstances do not place these items in a checked back.

Going through TSA – at some point in time, you will need to place everything you are carrying on onto a belt for it to be screened. Therefore limit the loose items you are carrying (wallet, keys, phone, etc.). When I am traveling as soon as I show my ID and boarding pass to TSA, I put everything into my carry-on. Then all I have to worry about is one bag to put on the belt for screening. Any electronic bigger than a cell phone will need to be taken out and placed on the belt, liquids as well. Keep those items in the same location until you are finished with the TSA then repack the item. Parents traveling with kids, check your kid’s backpacks/carry-on bag before leaving for the airport to ensure whatever they have will pass TSA screening. (purchasing Precheck is a great benefit if you travel at least one time a year, if you travel internationally then you should purchase global entry instead of Precheck )

Airlines baggage policy – it is so important to know what is acceptable for travel and what is not. Don’t assume something is allowed to be checked or carried onto the plane. Check the airline’s baggage pages as well as TSA web page (see below).

Airlines policies – This is huge! Are you traveling with a child under the age of 2? Service animal? Emotional support Animal? A Pet? Does the name on your ticket match your ID or passport? All these and many more Airline Ticket Agents see on a daily basis. The Customer shows up without the proper documents. Take the time to research what you will need.

Escorting someone who needs assistance: You may have a relative or person you care for who needs you to accompany them to the gate or to pick them up from the gate area. You will need a non-passenger pass to do so. While this is a simple process, it does take additional time. Both the ticketed passenger and you will need to wait in the same lines to get the pass and make it through security. Inform the ticketing agents that you need to escort someone to the gate and they will print you out a pass. Please make sure you have proper identification as they cannot issue the pass without one. You also need ID to pass through TSA security.

Time – GIVE YOURSELF TIME! I have seen so many Customers run to make a flight because they did not give themselves enough time to check in with the airline, and then to go through screening. Is sweating after running through the airport to almost miss a flight or to miss a flight worth the extra 45 minutes of sleep? When I travel with my family we arrive at the airport no less than 2 hours prior to departure. We are able to relax through the whole process knowing we have enough time.

In closing, the more you plan the less likely you will encounter something you are not prepared for. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have on upcoming travel plans; just IM me on Facebook.

Baggage information

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Liberty Lake Gazette.

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Thomas “Tom” Stanley is a Liberty Lake resident, husband, and father of five. He served in the Army and National Guard for 8 years, with tours in Bosnia, Jordan, and Iraq. Tom has worked at Southwest Airlines for the past 17 years.

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