There’s one thing I really don’t like and that’s standing in lines … and I know you feel the same way. That’s why I learned from an early age the value of holding elite status with airlines, hotels and car rentals. It’s also why I signed up for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS and CLEAR so that I can speed through security (CLEAR & TSA PreCheck) and immigration in the USA (Global Entry) and Canada (NEXUS).
If your distain for long lines equals mine, then you probably appreciated two of my articles this week, which were about United Airlines’ new bag drop shortcut and the fact that Starbucks has finally rolled out mobile ordering in major U.S. airports. But I have another travel (and life!) tip that you’ll wonder why you’ve never done before.
This week, I’m coming to you from Hawaii and one of my favorite places to get breakfast is Island Vintage. I love their incredible acai bowls. I love to get the Waialua Moana Bowl, which has acai and Wailua dark chocolate, Big Island cacao nibs, house-made coconut peanut butter, local banana, strawberry, seasonal berries, granola and Big Island organic raw white honey.
Island Vintage is super popular so unless you get there right at 7am when they open, there’s a considerably long line. Prior to this trip, my secret was to call them and place my order in advance so I wouldn’t have to stand in that line. To my dismay, this time around, they weren’t answering the phone so I walked there and saw that there was a long line all the way out the door. This line was about 30-40 people deep so I started to walk away. As I turned to leave, I noticed a small QR code on a board just outside the door with a QR code for ordering takeout online. I know you have to be careful of public QR codes but this one was obviously safe so I ordered my acai bowl online.
It said the wait time was going to be 30 minutes but I checked back in 15 and it was ready. I’m pretty sure the people who were standing in front and behind me for the split second I was in line were like, ‘how the heck did he get his food so fast?!’ FYI: There’s a separate line to the left of the cash register for online pickup.
The same has been true for the Cheesecake Factory here in Waikiki. I don’t stand in their long lines either. I just use their website. I know what you’re thinking: You go to Hawaii and eat at Cheesecake Factory? I don’t normally eat at big chains but it’s super easy with kids as I can order spaghetti with meatballs and a couple of flat bread pizzas and my kids love it and it’s enough food for all of us. Sometimes, you just need the easy option.
But I digress. The point of this post is that one of the positive things to come out of this pandemic is the fact that many companies used their downtime to invest in technology so many places now offer online ordering for takeout, which will make your vacation (and life) so much more pleasant. So if you’re heading anywhere to pick something up (not just food), find out if you can order it online and just pick it up so you don’t have to waste time waiting in a line. These days, a lot of things can be done online so it’s worth taking a few minutes to check that option out first.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.