The Efficient Traveler
I love to travel. I travel for work, and I’ve always lived far from home, so a plane ride away to friends and family is common. I’m big on experiential gifts, so I would way rather have an experience or trip booked than receiving a physical item. I love to see the world, and the adventure that awaits is so exciting.
Last year, with the help of my Southwest credit card and my (too) frequent work travel, I landed A-list premiere status. I was delighted at my early boarding, and premiere lines I would pop into at airports. Status, finally. Then I shortly realized, this wasn’t enough.
I needed TSA Pre and Global Entry. The travelers apex.
And I’m happy to say, now I have all three. Traveling is much more of a breeze, and besides things being more efficient you can find improved quality of life. I don’t have to get to the airports as early and I don’t deal with the other traveler shenanigans that totally get on your nerves.
That said, I’ve been preaching the good word about TSA Pre. I have friends that travel a good amount, and still don’t have it or don’t realize that it’s not that difficult to obtain.
Here’s what you need to know.
- What is it? TSA Pre allows “low-risk travelers to experience expedited, more efficient security screening at participating U.S. airport checkpoints for domestic and international travel.” You do have to be a U.S. citizen and not been convicted of certain crimes to apply. Here are more details on their eligibility requirements.
- How much does it cost? Here’s the kicker. It’s only $85 and it’s valid for five years! This in itself, is worth everything. What a price. If you travel even just four to five times a year, I think it’s worth it.
- What are the required documents for TSA Pre? Right here, you can find a list of the required documentation. It’s not that bad. Not that much red tape. Things like ID, and proof of citizenship.
- Okay, so why haven’t I done this before!? What’s next? You can either pre-enroll online (details here) and make an appointment to visit an application center (I did this, and made an appointment that worked for my timing at my airport in Denver). Or you can visit an application center as a “walk in” but I recommend the first option.
- What’s the application center interview like? Mine was five minutes, I was approved, and given a known traveler number in the mail 2-3 weeks after my visit. It was official, but efficient (the meeting) and they actually didn’t even look at all the paperwork I brought.
Now, I hop right into the TSA Pre line at every airport. I never take off my shoes, I don’t have to remove my laptop or liquids, and I’m typically through security in five minutes tops. When I travel with others who don’t have it, it might shave up to 20-35 minutes off your wait time. Breezy.
- What is it? Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited cleared for pre-approved, low risk travelers, upon arrival in the United States. There are essentially automated kisoks at select airports, and you head to baggage claim and exit. Read: If you travel internationally, why not.
- How much does it cost? The cost is $100, and I actually went with Global Entry because in addition to getting this I also got TSA pre bundled in. Not too much more, but two benefits for that length of time.
- What are the required documents for Global Entry? Here is how you apply. The process was the same as TSA pre essentially.
- Here are the locations where Global Entry is accepted worldwide: There are quite a lot.
So hit the trails. Happy traveling, and let me know if you have any questions. I definitely haven’t looked back.