Have you been thinking about getting either Global Entry or TSA Pre Check?
If you fly internationally at least once per year, or if you travel domestically several times per year, Global Entry or TSA Pre Check is a great idea.
Global Entry is the US government's immigration program for frequent travelers that lets you skip long lines at customs and immigration when you arrive back into the country, instead you get to go directly to the Global Entry kiosk, expediting your exit from the customs hall.
It enables you to get out of the airport quickly, or to your connecting flight speedily.
This is especially beneficial when you are flying into an airport like JFK in New York which is notoriously slow.
It costs $100 for five years, and also gives you TSA Pre Check most of the time.
(apparently around 75% to 80% of the time)
TSA Pre Check allows you to keep your shoes and belt on, your laptop and liquids in your carry on bag, and instead of waiting in long lines you get to zip through the much shorter, quicker Pre Check line.
If you are not an international traveler you can apply for TSA Pre Check for $85.
The process is relatively simple. You fill out your Global Entry application online, pay $100 for Global or $85 for Pre Check (remember Global covers both) and then wait for GOES to notify you of your interview date.
You need to bring your passport and another form of ID as well as a print out of your acceptance email.
If accepted you will be assigned a Known Traveler Number that you put on all your flights when you book them, and that acts as your concierge.
It can take months for you to get your interview, so start the application process sooner rather than later. I have my interview in a couple of weeks, so I'm pretty thrilled!
In December I flew from Milan to JFK. I had a long layover before my flight to Phoenix which was super lucky for me because the lines at customs was long and slow. At JFK you have to completely exit out into the main terminal and then go back through security to get to your connecting flight. (You would think that New York would have modern, functional airports like other major cities around the world, but JFK and La Guardia are both archaic and somewhat of an embarrassment as far as international airports go).
To make matters worse, the TSA security lines were S-L-O-W. People around me were in tears because they were going to miss their flight, and the Airport workers at JFK are notoriously hostile and angry. It was miserable!
When I finally got to my gate for my connecting flight I saw other people from my Milan flight who had missed their connections to their home airport because of the long lines, and were desperately trying to find ways to re-route. After a long international flight that is an even bigger nightmare than usual.
So I decided right there and then that I was going to apply for Global Entry. I have another Glam Italia Tour heading out in just a few weeks, and the Glocal Entry plus TSA Pre Check is going to be fantastic!
Also, before you travel, especially out of the country, I cannot stress enough the importance of having travel insurance.
Should anything go wrong prior to leaving your home country you need to be able to get the money you have already spent on airfares, accommodations, tours etc back. Should anything go wrong while you are away (lost luggage, medical emergency etc) you need to be prepared and taken care of. I always use Allianz travel insurance, and get coverage that pays for a nurse to fly back to the USA with me in case of catastrophic medical emergency. Luckily nothing has ever gone wrong when I've traveled, but it's definitely a good idea to be prepared.