Passport Alert: Your Passport “Expires” 6 months before it expires
Many people are headed to Europe this year and I have been amazed when we ask them to check their passports and they do not realize that some countries will not allow you into their country if your passport is set to expire within 6 months of your date of entry. Some countries use 3 months and others use 6 months. The bottom line is that if your passport expires within the next 12 months you had better start the process of getting it renewed so you don’t plan that perfect Italian get-away only to find out you can’t go because your passport is on its last legs. The U.S. State Department has a cool web site you can visit to see how many months your passport must have before you can enter the country. CLICK HERE to see.
I can see how a $264 a night hotel room will soon be marketed for $89 a night – Several years ago the federal government allowed hotels to deceptively hide any resort fees and other charges from their customers by allowing hotels to charge these fees when you check-in at the hotel. Since that time hotels have gone crazy adding all kinds of resort fees and other fees on top of the room rate you reserve when making a reservation. Many hotels now charge resort fees ranging from $25 to $75 a night. Others charge destination fees of $25 to $75 a night. Add on early check in fees, late check out fees, housekeeping fees and on and on. I anticipate the marketing gurus at some hotels will start placing a lowball hotel rate like $89 on web sites to get unsuspecting people to sign up. They will just simply add a $75 resort fee, plus a $75 destination fee plus a $25 housekeeping fee and Shazam! Your $89 hotel room is now $264 when you check in. To add further insult to injury to this you have to add local taxes and fees on top of the nightly rate. If this is in New York City you add 14.75% on top for an additional $38.94 bringing your total nightly cost up to $302.94 per night. How crazy can this get? This is all legal (but certainly not ethical).
One of the five core values of Executive Travel is that we always “Make Mom Proud”. I don’t think anyone in the hotel industry charging resort, destination fees or housekeeping fees would qualify to be on our team.
If you travel internationally you really need to get a Global Entry and TSA Pre Check pass – The long lines at the airports for international travelers re-entering the country should cause many people to consider purchasing a Global Entry pass to avoid the long airport lines for customs check. Earlier this month I got off the plane and hundreds of people were waiting in line to clear immigration/customs. I walked to a Global Entry kiosk and it took 30 seconds to clear customs. I almost felt guilty as hundreds of people were watching how fast I got through and I am sure they wished they had a Global Entry pass as well. For years I have been extolling the virtues of travelers purchasing the Global Entry and/or the TSA Pre Check passes which allow you to skip the long security lines and go through the TSA Pre Check express lines. Every time I travel to an airport I figure it saves me 15 to 30 minutes of waiting in line by having the TSA Pre Check pass. The best value is to purchase the Global Entry pass which allows you to clear immigration in the express lane when returning from an international flight. Included in the $100 Global Entry fee is automatic registration in the TSA Pre Check program for express lane service at security checkpoints at domestic airports. For more information on Global Entry and TSA Pre Check visit https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry .
Virtuoso Life is one of the best travel magazines – One of my favorite travel magazines is Virtuoso Life, a luxury travel and lifestyle magazine published exclusively for Virtuoso travel agencies of which Executive Travel is a member. The May/June is a great one as it focuses on Europe. CLICK HERE to see the e-magazine or you can always find the most recent copy on the upper right hand side of this newsletter.
You can now send a business traveler on the road without a credit card – One of the biggest pains for many companies is figuring out how to send their travelers out on the road and not have to mess with a company credit card. Great progress has been made in the last several years using virtual payment credit card systems that allow for prepaid hotel costs so that a business traveler no longer has to have a credit card to stay in a hotel. Tie that to a car rental billing system and a business Uber account and a traveler only needs enough cash to pay for food to get by. Executive Travel specializes in setting up virtual card programs for companies that are trying to control cost and make travel easier. Call Brian Wallingford (402-435-8888) in our office if you would like to learn more of how we can help you “Simplify Travel”.
The biggest mistake people make is putting off traveling until they retire – In my thirty-seven plus years in the travel business I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people tell me that they delayed traveling until they were retired but when retirement came around their health had failed to the point where they could not travel. How sad. That is why I always tell people to travel right now as you never know when your health issues (or those of your spouse) will keep you from traveling. No one’s work is so important that you can’t take two weeks a year to dream big dreams and visit new parts of this great big world. We would be happy to help you build your travel bucket list. Call one of our friendly vacation advisors today at 402-435-8888.