Four Ways To Avoid July 4th Travel Nightmares

Looking out my office window this morning, I see a bit lighter traffic than usual coming in from the Lincoln Tunnel. But I see a bit heavier than normal going out. That means lots of cars going to Jersey. And as we all know, the only reason to go to Jersey from Manhattan is a Giants game, BJ’s Wholesale Club, a mall, or Newark Airport. Well, it could be BJ’s, it’s not football season, and the malls haven’t opened yet. So I’m betting we’re hitting the 4th travel week.

From a 250,000 mile per year traveller, here’s a few tips on how to make travel easier this week, and heck, every time. Spend a little bit of money and a little bit of time, and you’ll save tons of both today and forever. Trust me on this. It’s what I do.

1) Sign up for CLEAR. Full disclosure, I consult for them. But one of the benefits of consulting for them is that I get to give you discounts. What’s CLEAR? It’s biometric-fuelled security, proving that you are who you are, every time. It gets you through security in seconds, not minutes, and works with any airline in any airport that has CLEAR set up. (More added each month.) Currently at ORD, SFO, DEN, and DFW, once enrolled, you save upwards of 45 minutes each time you go through security. I’m not joking – It’s the greatest thing in the world. DISCOUNT: Use the code CGPJULY4PS at when you sign up for three free months. Seriously. No catch.

2) Don’t check luggage. I’m serious. You can fit seven days in a carry-on. I’m not joking. It’s so easy. I’m on the board of the ScotteVest, clothing that allows me to keep whatever I want in it. I can do three days with just a vest, and the stuff I put in the vest. I did a no-baggage-challenge – Went to Asia for four days with nothing but my jacket and a pair of pants: Check out the video of how I did it:

Clothing for the SeV No Baggage Challenge from Peter Shankman on Vimeo.

Chances are, you don’t need 25% of the stuff you packed. Unpack it, and leave it at home. Unless you’re going to Iran for your 4th vacation, chances are you have a CVS or WalMart near where you’re going for whatever you forgot. DISCOUNT!! Use code Shankman25 on the ScotteVest site for 25% off ANYTHING until July 9th!

3) Airline Lounges really are the best things in the world. I don’t care whether you travel five times a year or 500… Nothing beats being able to get some sanity, in a quieter environment, away from the masses. Whatever airline you fly the most, find their lounge. Fly every airline with no loyalty? Check out Priority Pass – One fee, tons of lounges. Also, check with your credit card – They might have Priority Pass included for you for free! Mine does, shocked the heck out of me when I found out!

4) Finally, if nothing else, get to the airport super-early. Why? Lots of reasons. Early means less security lines if you haven’t gotten your CLEAR card yet. Early means you’re not rushed, and can schmooze gate agents to get you on earlier flights, or at least better seats. Earlier means you can watch other people, and social engineer your way to a new job. (In other words, network!) And if nothing else, you can sit, read a good book, and just chill.

Happy 4th! Travel safe!

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