spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Global Entry for families- a Trusted Traveler Program

I wrote about the different Trusted Traveler Programs offered by the US Department of Homeland Security before, when discussing my Adventures in Passport Control.  A small correction to the end of that blog post: Global Entry (GE) privileges no longer extend to children traveling with the GE parent- everyone needs their own.  GE Membership still includes TSA PreCheck, which is helpful for the airport security line.  So you have an advantage at takeoff with a smoother security process, and at landing with a smoother Passport Control process.  Nice!

I felt it would be helpful for me especially, given my previous encounters at Customs & Border Protection (CBP), to have had a thorough background check and obtain a “Known Traveler Number,” another term for the GE PASSID #.  For us, that meant that we would need to spend $400 for the privilege of faster passage through immigration/passport control, since we would all need to apply and be approved for the Program individually.  Or did we???

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Leggings, Linking, London, and Lauderdale

Pre-trip prep time!  It’s down to the details now that all the big stuff has been settled.

—First thing I’ve been thinking about lately is WARM clothing.  We’re typically wimpy re: winter weather after living in Hawaii for so long.  I started an inventory of cold-weather gear and quickly realized…

im-gonna-need-cold-weather-meme

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Yay! The Paris-Seville ticket saga is OVER!

This particular ticket purchase was a true roller coaster of emotions: from the high of getting a budget-appropriate late afternoon flight booked with Transavia in May, to the low of “unbooking” after they changed our departure time to 7am (ugh), to the 4 months of uncertainty since then as I tracked prices and they kept going up, and up, and up.  Well, I finally slayed this particular travel dragon thanks to a small amount of date flexibility, a museum request visit from my husband, and a shiny new credit card sign-up bonus. Read the rest of this entry »

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Disneyland Paris Planning

So, I mentioned that we would only spend 1 day at the Disneyland Paris Resort on our upcoming European tour.  You all know how much I love Disney, but Paris has so much to offer that 1 theme park day was all I was willing to spare.  It follows then, that I had to plan an epic day, trying to hit all the Paris-exclusive rides and experiences available.  Yes, we are planning to open and close the Parks.  Here’s how I hope it will go… Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy Blog-aversary to meeeeeee

This is a short and sweet celebration of 4 years of blogging.  I’m grateful to still have this outlet for all my planning shenanigans.  PLAN-anigans?!  Yes, I just made that word up, and …yes, you’re all very welcome to use it.  If I ever change the name of this blog, it’ll be to “Plananigans: the joys of an orderly life.”

Anyway, here’s a look back at last year’s capsule post:

I’m in the thick of advance planning for Europe 2018, as well as being super focused on finishing off the car loan a year early.  I’ll be grateful that we can take the kids on these adventures, and soak in their gratitude, as they have really started to express it.  I’ll be banking any miles/points bonus opportunities and sharing them here.  I hope everyone can achieve their travel dreams, and hope to help them along!  Here’s to another year!

I’m going to call it a success.  We did in fact pay off our car loan over a year early, so that bit of the budget has already been reallocated to the Car Replacement/Repair Fund.  And the kids are getting ever more excited about the trip, with my son making a passport for his stuffed bear, and my daughter planning all the pictures she will take with a new camera she is saving up for.  I hope my sharing the ways I’ve used miles and points on this trip have been helpful to all!

Next up for me is more planning.

  • I’m considering getting a new credit card to help offset that pesky Paris-Seville trip cost.  It’s been a long time since I applied for one- almost 2 years, which is a lot for someone who loves sign-up bonuses!  Anyway, I’m still comparing which would work best for me, so I’ll write about it when I decide.
  • my daughter’s school band is doing a trip in the spring- to NYC!!!  They’ve been talking about it for about a year, and after several information sessions, and meeting the minimum number of participants, the trip is officially ON!  I will be going along, of course, but as an independent traveler.  I’m taking my son and staying with my parents in NJ- should be a great time.  Another trip to plan, yay.  Planning to use my Alaska Companion Fare for these mainland tix.

Ok, now to the capsule statement for next year…

I will have greatly enjoyed our European trip, having packed just the right amount of clothes, purchased the perfect magnets/souvenirs, and taken precious photos of my family having both spontaneous and planned fun.  I will be spoiled by having seen my parents in December (for Xmas in North Carolina), January (on the way back from Europe), March (for the band trip), and May (when they visit Hawaii for DD’s graduation).  I will be getting ready to send DD off to college and wondering if I can pay for tuition with a credit card…think of all the miles!

Thanks for reading!

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I feel like a real EuroSTAR

I took the Eurostar train from London to Paris once before, and I remember it was pretty cool.  I was all, European Rail Travel! Crumpets to Croissants! The Chunnel! For this trip, once our departure to Europe changed from the NYC area to North Carolina, and the opportunity to fly into London was in play, I realized that my next Eurostar opportunity had arrived!  I immediately started researching, and saw the magic words any uber-planner loves…“prices are cheaper the earlier you book”Read the rest of this entry »

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An Adventure in American AAdvantage and Avios

…ay ay ay 🙂  My mission: get the 4 of us from Seville (SVQ) to Barcelona (BCN) using less than $420, preferably on nonstop flights, preferably later in the day. Seemed easy at first: Iberia MUST have a nonstop flight between these popular Spanish destinations, right? And I could totally use my Avios on Iberia flights, so that would be a cinch, right? You would think so…

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Paris to Seville UNbooked! And Newark-Honolulu finally booked!

Why would I UNbook something when the cancellation/change fees are crazytown?  Trust me, all will be explained.  I had all my price alerts set and had been manually checking prices as well…and it paid off!  I used my trusty Alaska Companion Fare to make some travel magic…and I was able to stay (sort of) on budget.  Here’s how I did it… Read the rest of this entry »

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Bits & Pieces: Southwest Hawaii news, IHG and SPG card changes

Holy cannoli, things have been crazy lately.  My trip planning took a bit of a back seat, though I did manage to book some tickets from Paris to Seville on Transavia, which is a European low-cost carrier affiliated with Air France/KLM.  More on that in another post- especially as they’ve already made an unfavorable schedule change…I refused the change via email and they said they’ll be contacting me (during THEIR business hours, in the Netherlands) to discuss the alternatives.  Anyway…on to the good stuff! Read the rest of this entry »

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Confession: I just bought 4 tickets…with cash

I KNOW!  It’s so rare for me to pay for anything but taxes when using miles/points, or pay for 1 or 2 fares and use miles/points/companion fare for the rest.  But this time it made a lot of sense.  I still have some tickets to buy for the European trip, but I’ll discuss some nice updates from Chase Ultimate Rewards that may just help me out with those. Read the rest of this entry »

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