As you know, travel is a huge part of my life and the life of my husband. A while back, Alfred decided to apply for the US Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Program. I didn’t think it mattered so I didn’t bother with it. I’d typically travel with Alfred on the same itinerary and that would get me through TSA PreCheck…so I didn’t really care about the other perks because they didn’t seem like a big deal.
Boy was I wrong!
Before I get into why you should apply for TSA PreCheck, you might be wondering just what is the Trusted Traveler Program. TSA PreCheck is a program offered to all US Citizens which allows you to be deemed a “low risk” traveler and therefore you scoot through security much faster. You can get this status in combination with Global Entry status which allows you to use certain kiosks at customs when entering the country from a foreign nation. This also helps you skip the line at customs which is awesome!
Basically, it’s like upgrading from economy to first class when it comes to security and customs control. If you fly often, it’s totally worth paying for and going through the process. The process includes an application, application fee, background check, and an in-person interview. Once you’ve cleared all these steps, your good to go. You’re given a number which you register with every airline you fly with and airports become a lot less stressful.
Now, you might ask what’s the big deal? Why should you care? Why should you consider getting on board with the Trusted Traveler Program. Well…
1) Less Stress At Airports
Let’s face it, airport security is one of the bane’s of a travelers existence. People never seem to know what to do in the security line holding up everyone behind them. TSA staff are often rude and it’s obnoxious to have to remove half your clothing. Skip all of the hassle with TSA PreCheck. You get to walk through a separate line at most airports and this will exponentially remove stress from your life while you’re traveling.
2) Keep Your Clothes On
With TSA-PreCheck you can forget about taking your belt, jacket, and shoes off. There’s no need. You’re a trusted traveler so your trusted. You can also leave your electronics inside your bag. Life’s a breeze…so to speak.
3) The PreCheck Program Is Often Free
That’s right! What better incentive to apply for the Trusted Traveler Program than FREE. If you apply for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck is included. So pay $100 for one program and you save $85 on the other. Additionally, there are many credit cards which will cover the cost of applying for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. Cards including the Ritze-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, American Express Platinum, Citi Prestige Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve offer the waiver. They’ll reimburse you for the Global Entry fee in the form of a $100 credit. You can use it every 5 years!
4) Widely Available
The TSA Precheck is available at 150 airports across the country so you will definitely make good use of it if you travel often. The Clear expedited security program is available in far fewer locations.
5) Global Entry Doubles Its Value
TSA PreCheck on it’s own is pretty great. But if you apply for Global Entry, the value soars. Customs lines are never really a fun experience. Recently, as I returned from Ecuador, it literally took me 10 minutes to get through customs in Atlanta. I’ve never had such a quick, smooth experience in customs. That alone made it worth the effort.
So if you travel often, it’s time for you to apply for the Trusted Traveler program. Remember, it’s only available to US Citizens so if you don’t fit that parameter then you’re out of luck when it comes to this. But as long as you can pass a background check and pay the application fee, you are set for a much less stressful travel experience.
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