Customs can be confusing. Here is a quick tip. When you are traveling out of the US, you will go through customs at your final destination. However, when you return to the US, you'll clear customs at your first airport in the US. You'll need to go through passport control, then into a baggage area to pick up your bags and carry them through the customs checkpoint. Then you drop the bags off to be forwarded to your connecting flight.
What if we told you there is a way (a completely free way) to bypass the lines at immigration and customs when re-entering the U.S. at select airports—and all you needed was your smartphone?
The secret is no secret at all, but a downloadable app available to both iPhone and Android users that allows users to enter their passport and travel information, submit it electronically, and generate a receipt to show at customs and immigration checkpoints. It's called Mobile Passport and its technology eliminates the need for traditional forms and line waits. The catch is...there is no catch. The app, launched in 2014 by Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) in partnerships with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is free to download and free to use. Entirely separate from the paid Global Entry program, Mobile Passport boasts a speed and ease that has Global Entry users eating its dust.
For now, use of the Mobile Passport app is limited to U.S. citizens holding a valid U.S. passport, as well as Canadian citizens with a valid Canadian passport. Five airports are currently a part of the program: Atlanta (ATL), Miami (MIA), Seattle (SEA), Chicago (ORD), and San Francisco (SFO). The goal is to have at least 20 airports accepting the app over the next year.
Once the app is on your phone, there's nothing left to do until your plane lands back on U.S. soil at one of the participating airports. When you turn off "airplane mode," open the app, complete the steps, and you'll have your immigration and customs clearance ready before even stepping off the aircraft. The profile includes the traveler’s name, gender, date of birth, and country of citizenship. According to CBP, the process is simple (a claim we can vouch for): travelers complete the “New Trip” section by selecting their arrival airport and airline, take a selfie, and answer a series of custom declaration questions. Once the traveler submits the form through the app, the traveler will receive an "electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code," which expires four hours after issuance. Travelers then bring their passport and mobile device with their digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer to finalize their inspection and be welcomed back into the United States. Voilà.
Conde Nest Traveler Cynthia Drescher 10/29/2015
The ban takes effect almost immediately on all U.S. flights, and with good reason, said the Department of Transportation. The vapor-based devices have been deemed too dangerous for the luggage compartment.
No e-cigarettes or other electronic smoking devices are allowed in checked luggage because they pose a serious fire hazard. That means no e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, or electronic nicotine delivery systems in your checked bags; you can, however, still carry an e-cigarette in your carry-on or with you through security. And you can’t vape on a plane.
The DOT says that the gadgets have a tendency to overheat (namely, if they short circuit or are left on accidentally). In fact, there have been 26 instances of the gizmos exploding or catching fire since 2009, says the DOT, including two incidents aboard airplanes in the past year and a half. In August 2014, a plane sitting on the ground at Boston Logan was evacuated when a ramp agent noticed smoke coming from the baggage hold; it was later determined to be from an e-cigarette in a passenger’s suitcase. And earlier this year, in Los Angeles, a bag that arrived too late to make its connecting flight caught fire in storage area, again, due to a smoldering e-cig. If either of those bags had been in the air at the time, the outcome could have been far worse.
Conde Nast Traveler, Barbara Peterson 10/28/2015
Have you ever had to change your travel plans at the last minute? This can be a real hassle, especially if you have booked your flight, car, or hotel with points or credits.
Recently I booked a car with points for a trip to Houston. I had to change my flight at the last minute and I arrived in a different airport than I originally booked. When I got to the car reservation desk, they wouldn’t transfer the reservation, since I was asking for the change on the date of pick-up.
If I had booked the car with a credit card, it would have been no problem to transfer the reservation. Small inconveniences can make or break a trip.
I was lucky to be able to use Uber to get to the right airport and pick up my car. Uber is a fraction of the cost of a taxi and the cost was minimal.
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One of my friends told me her auto rental company representative, didn't want to let her rent a car without extra auto coverage. In this day and age of insurance policies and credit card coverage, most of the time you don't need to buy the extra coverage. Don't let the person behind the counter talk you into something you don't need. Give them a firm, "No Thank You." If they persist just say, "My auto coverage has rental car benefits as well as my credit card."
Below is a list of travel protection options that Chase offers.The United MileagePlus Explorer Card
The MileagePlus Explorer Card provides you with comprehensive travel protection benefits that give you peace of mind while traveling near and far.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
Decline the rental company's collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your MileagePlus Explorer Card. Coverage is primary and is provided for theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad.
Baggage Delay Insurance
If you experience a baggage delay, you can be reimbursed for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 3 days.
Lost Luggage ReimbursementIf you or your immediate family members' checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, you're covered up to $3,000 per passenger.
Trip Delay ReimbursementIf your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses made with your MileagePlus Explorer Card, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption InsuranceIf your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses made with your MileagePlus Explorer Card, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
Travel Accident InsuranceWhen you pay for your air, bus, train, or cruise transportation with your MileagePlus Explorer Card, you're covered for accidental death or dismemberment during your trip, from the moment you leave home until you return.
Jamaica has changed to a must see vacation spot. It has something for everyone: beaches, nightlife, culture, good food, water sports, or quiet. The people of Jamaica will treat you with respect and sincerity and the beaches are out of this world.
If you love beaches, quiet, or adventure, Jamaica is the place to visit. There is also a volunteer program that might be right for you. New roads and English speaking Jamaicans make it easy to navigate. Plan your trip around one of their many festivals, whether it be cooking, music, running, or cultural.
Mark and I had a great time on our recent visit. We went up the chair lift at Mystic Mountain and saw the panoramic views of Ocho Rios. The bob sled ride down was a little hair raising, but it made for a fun story for our grandkids. We loved the large pool at the Palladium and all its amenities. The Hyatt Zilara was first class. The rooms were spacious and the outdoor restaurants phenomenal. We can’t wait for our next trip.
Call us to make your reservations. 612-559-6545. Peterson Travel Pros. www.petersontravelpros.com