spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

IHG magic and good news for Global Entry travelers to the UK

Hello, I’m back after a brief hiatus.  I thank you for your patience.  I was getting rid of a pesky ovarian cyst and working my travel hacks on the Disneyland trip for next spring.  Also, I have some great news that means we’ll never have to wait in that endless Passport Control line in London ever again!  Read the rest of this entry »

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 14: making it back to the US…barely

So after many days of fun, Europalooza was finally coming to an end.  Today was all about travel.  The plan: get to Barcelona airport via DH’s friend, take a short hop from there to Munich on Iberia (via Lufthansa codeshare), then, after a 1 hour and 40 minute layover, fly from Munich to Newark on Lufthansa (9 hours and 25 minutes, ugh).  Then we’d meet up with my parents, have a nice dinner at home, and get a full night’s sleep before having a whirlwind NYC touring day.  Best laid plans…  Read the rest of this entry »

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 3: in which my optimistic nature is tested in 2 different countries

Part 2 left off with me and my family heading to Raleigh Airport (RDU) on Christmas Day to catch our nonstop flight to London on American Airlines (AA).  BTW, I updated that post.  Can’t believe I forgot to mention The Nutcracker and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences!  Go read it, I’ll wait.

Ok, now that you’re back…the European adventure was about to begin!  First, though, we had to drop off the rental car.  This is where some of my troubles began… Read the rest of this entry »

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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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Adventures in Passport Control

First, a long-winded story.

In Ecuador and many other Latin nations, you officially use both your father’s last name and your mother’s last name until you get married.  So let’s say I am born to Juan Valdez and Chita Rivera, and they name me Maria, with a middle name of Luz.  My non-US passport would say Maria Luz Valdez Rivera.  Both Valdez and Rivera are officially my last names. Read the rest of this entry »

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