Frequent Flyer Must Have

The best money I have ever spent to travel continues to provide me joy every time I fly.  I did not spend this money instead I invested it wisely.  After much back and forth, I decided to move forward with the Global Entry instead of TSA Pre Check. Some travelers really don’t see the necessity to pay for any of these passes while others are quite content with just the TSA Pre Check.  Both passes grant travelers the opportunity to slide through the TSA check points quicker but only one will allow you to speed through Customs when traveling internationally. Check out the differences between the Global Entry and the TSA Pre Check.

The ability to move quickly through intense lines and bypass unexpected delays is an advantage in itself.  Unexpected situations are always a possibility for they tend to happen in the most inopportune moments.  I don’t know about you but it seems like everything goes by significantly slower when you are in a rush to get somewhere.  There can be an accident on the road, construction repairs or just common delays in the airport at your airline counter.  Many reasons can cause delays but I have learned to just set some time aside to resolve them since they can’t be avoided.  Those who know me well know I am not the most punctual person so this is a big deal for me.

I plan to leave ahead of schedule to leave some time for any unexpected traffic conditions even though I monitor traffic before stepping out with my iPhone apps.  Google Maps is my preferred option but Waze is great too since it can offer quick alternatives when you are in a pinch.  These apps are definitely a team effort. If I am on the one driving to the airport then the navigator steps in to help act quickly or vice versa. Traffic jams, accidents and road repairs are usually documented and provide some delay estimates in real time.

Once I have arrived at the airport, my main priority is to make it my gate with sufficient time to spare for bathroom breaks, coffee or tea and most importantly peace of mind.  This requires a speedy pass through the TSA Check Point. As we have all witnessed at some point, the lines can be tedious, long and sometimes difficult to navigate before you even reach the actual scan area.  Once there it can get a tad stressful from cleaning out pockets, placing everything on the conveyor belt to passing the body scan contraption.

I can readily admit that I have developed some germ issues through out the years.  Not sure if these can be classified as some “manias” I have always possessed or if they have become more pronounced throughout the years.  I know I am not getting any younger and am perfectly fine with that. My biggest issue centers on the fact that shoes need to be removed.  This is the main reason I started considering the Global Entry program.

Just the thought of prancing around an airport in my socks or barefoot grosses me out.  To think I will have to put on my shoes back on after collecting so much bacteria really bothers me.  Before taking the plunge to apply for the Global Entry permit I was the passenger that always had an extra pair of socks handy with a bag.  Once I passed the TSA checkpoint I proceeded to change socks and quarantine the germ riddled socks into a bag that was sealed immediately after passing through the scan.  This bag was only opened once the socks were ready to be tossed into a washing machine.  Drastic to many but to me a necessity.

We have no idea what germs lie on airport floors considering people are traveling from all over the world.  All I know is that I do not want to collect anything gross and suffer the consequences later.   The germaphobe in me doesn’t want to discover a new disease or carry any for that matter.  Airplanes are disgusting enough as it is.  Rarely are these wiped down with any disinfectant because they don’t really take the time between flights.  Once a new flight lands and the passengers are shuffled out the next group of passengers are ushered in.  There is a tight schedule that they must adhere to in order to not cause any delays.  Time is money.  For the airline and me because I can’t afford to get sick.

Now I get to wiz through the TSA checkpoint with my shoes on 🙂 That to me is a win unto itself because I don’t have to deal with such a stressful process.   Zero planning to bring an extra pair of socks and a bag to put away the germ ridden socks.  This also cuts down on the time required to change into a clean pair of socks before heading out to my gate.

The Global Entry pass has also allowed me to fast track through the TSA checkpoint which is reserved for folks that have been screened as a Trusted Traveler.  Usually these lines are significantly quicker because folks have already been screened and don’t have to deal with the shoe issues. The following quote has resonated with me for as long as I can remember.  Not sure who penned this motto at this point but I can easily identify with it.

“Hope for the best but expect the worse.”

This does not catalog me as a pessimist but rather a person that is prepared.  I am not here to alarm anyone but rather help think things through a little bit more.  I am quite cognizant that this may be an ideal train of thought which will not apply to all but will definitely continue to practice this on my journey.

Another reason I opted to choose the Global Entry was because I have hopes to someday travel abroad.  I did not have any concrete plans but know that this would help me speed up the process. The pass will be good for 5 years and I hope to make the most of it.  Now only need my husband to get his act together and apply for his before we embark on our dream vacation.

Join me on me on my journey!



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