Tory Burch Beach Bag

Travel Packing Mistakes and Mishaps

For a Florida trip,  I made my first mistake by not taking my own travel tricks and tips advice. I had packed a large suitcase instead of the size accepted onboard airlines. I was flying alone on Southwest, and I wanted to avoid asking for help lifting my carry-on to the overhead bin. Instead, I checked my medium bag that was loaded with books, shoes, and clothes.
When I tried to check my luggage curbside, the baggage handler weighed it and said that it was two pounds over the 50-pound limit, and I had two options: I could open my suitcase on the sidewalk and let the travelers waiting in line view my underwear collection or pay $75.
“What are two pounds?”


“A pair of jeans.”
I had set my bag near the curb and unzipped it while everyone watched the “Dorothyadele Victoria’s Secret Show.” I was happy that my husband wasn’t there to glare, then roll his eyes and ask if I had ever traveled or packed a bag before.
Luckily, my suitcase was not a merged mess when I had unzipped the left compartment and pulled out my camera, makeup bag, and books.



I unzipped the other side where I had my Nike running shoes wedged. In front of my audience, I pulled out a shoe and twirled it in my fingers testing its weight. I decided that it was too light and shoved it back in and zipped my case.
When I returned to the attendant, he asked if I had removed some items. I lifted my bulging beach bag as proof. Without weighing it, he accepted my suitcase, and I wondered if removing the books would have been enough.


I headed inside the terminal lugging my tote that contained an iPad, an iPhone, a writing journal, socks, a purse, sunglasses, a book, and the articles that I had pulled out of my suitcase. I was happy that I didn’t have that black and white Nike waving out the top.
When I approached the unsmiling TSA PreCheck agent and presented my boarding pass, she smirked, grabbed it, and said, “This is a mobile boarding pass, get back in line over there and get the correct one. You have time.” I felt like she resented that I had skipped the long line as a TSA PreCheck traveler.
“What about the boarding pass on my phone?”
“You can use that, but step out of line… honey.”



I scanned through my emails looking for the Southwest boarding pass confirmation.  I found it, and I sweated and wondered if she would reject it. I stepped up and presented it to her. She scanned it, and to me, it looked exactly like the one that she had confiscated two minutes before. I proceeded through security and made another mistake.



At Subway, I ordered a breakfast sandwich. When I had set my bag on the counter to pay, I knocked the metal coffee-creamer receptacle off. It bounced and clanged on the tile floor. The other customers and I watched the empty creamers roll around. The clerk didn’t seem to trust me to pick them up; he quickly gathered them and placed the creamers back in the container out of my reach. Since I delayed everyone, I apologized and paid my bill.
I boarded my flight and sat in front of a screaming baby for 2 1/2 hours whom I heard regurgitate. Though I felt sorry for the child, I smiled when I thought about my morning mishaps.
My husband had joined me on vacation and we flew together on the return flight. When we had packed, I had placed several of my items in his small suitcase to avoid an overweight bag, hoping to dodge another Dorothyadele Airport Trunk Show.



As we waited in the airport baggage line, I watched the lady in front of me hoist her bag on the scale and tip it at 65 pounds. She left the line and rearranged her contents between two suitcases. We approached the handler and my husband, the gentlemen, pulled my bag, though he told the agent that he had my luggage, not his. I held my breath when the clerk heaved my bag on the scale and I watched it hit 50.5 pounds. He waved us through.
In addition to our standard tips, we paid an extra $15 to the Hertz bus driver and the hotel valet just to lift my bag. Consequently one of the best money-saving-travel tips is to pack light.

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How to Avoid Airport Lines

Have you ever had your chest tighten while you waited in a slow-moving-airport-security line? Have you ever rushed to the customs line only to stand behind dozens of travelers, and thought you’d never make your connection?  TSA PreCheck and Global Entry Memberships have helped solve these problems by expediting the security process.
The TSA PreCheck line is used for travel departure in the United States. Including wait time, passing through security can take as little as five minutes. Also, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, compliant liquids, belts and light jackets or sweaters.

This is the  TSA PreCheck application process:

  • You submit an online application and pay $85 for a five-year membership.
  • Within a few weeks of submitting the application, TSA will send a confirmation email enabling you to set up an appointment at one of their offices.
  • The documents listed here are needed for the appointment.
  • A typical appointment lasts ten minutes, not counting wait time, and includes an interview, a background check, and fingerprinting.
  • You will receive your TSA PreCheck status in writing usually within two to three weeks after the appointment, or you can check online.
  • If approved you will receive your Known Traveler Number. When you book a flight, you add your KTN to the reservation and the ticket should have TSA PreCheck printed on it.

With Global Entry, when arriving from another country, there is no need to fill out customs declaration forms or wait in immigration or customs lines. Instead, you use a kiosk and go through a few steps within a few minutes. The kiosk scans your passport, takes your photo and fingerprints, and you answer a few questions that are on this site. If you answer no to all questions, you receive a receipt, and hand it to the customs officer as you exit; however, if you answer yes to any questions, your receipt will have an X, that directs you to a Customs Border Patrol Agent.

This is the Global Entry Application Process:

  • You fill out an online form at this website and pay a nonrefundable $100 application fee.
  • Within a few weeks, you should receive an email confirming that you can set up an appointment at one of the Homeland Security offices usually found in airports.
  • The confirmation email should contain the list of relevant documents needed for the interview. If you can’t get an interview before a scheduled trip, you can usually walk in.
  • At the interview, the agent will take your fingerprints, run a background check, take your photo, and ask a few questions. The agent may ask about your occupation, trave, if you have an arrest record, and more.
  • After the interview, upon approval, you can start using your benefits immediately for air travel. The Global Entry card is needed for border crossing and may take four – six weeks.

Also, a Global Entry membership qualifies you for a TSA PreCheck membership, but TSA PreCheck does not give you Global Entry benefits.

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry memberships have been well worth the time and money, making travel more efficient and pleasant.


GratiTuesday: Airport security lines

RDU Global Entry Interviews Set September 21-23

Here’s How To Skip Insane Lines With Global Entry And TSA Pre-Check