This article was originally posted on Pravassa.com—a wellness travel site—as "Eliminate The Stress of International Travel," and is reposted with permission from the author.
You're floating on a cloud. The sound of the ocean crashing to shore is your soundtrack. The sun is warming your face. Then, smack — you're elbowed out of the way by a frantic traveler who is panicking at the thought of a missed flight. Come to think of it, if this Customs line doesn't start moving you're going to be running to make your connection too. You start checking your phone while a cold sweat starts to make its way down your body....
Bye-bye vacation bliss. Hello, airport nightmare.
I've lived this scene and watched it play out many times in airports across the country. That was before I discovered the ultimate wellness hack for the airport: Global Entry. Now, the average time it takes me to make my way off the plane, through Customs to curbside, (I only travel with carry-on luggage) is roughly 8 minutes. 8 minutes!!
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So what is Global Entry, exactly?
A US Customs and Boarder Control program that allows for expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States (plus a handful of airports in Canada, Ireland, the Caribbean and Abu Dhabi). For a $100 fee and an appointment at one of the airport centers, you can get approved for Global Entry for 5-years. Not only does this make entry into the US super easy and hassle-free, but your boarding passes are almost always TSA Pre-Check approved; meaning no wait in the security line when you arrive for departure. No more taking off your shoes, no more taking out your laptop and those travel toiletries can stay put. It's already making you feel less stressed right?
Is Global Entry worth it for you?
While Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check is not available at every airport in the US, (see full list here) it is available at all the major hubs for international travel including JFK, EWR, LAX, SFO, MIA, ORD, MSP, DFW, ATL and IAH (all the airports I've had the pleasure of missing a connection at). If you plan on traveling internationally twice in the next 5-years, or even domestically and want to head straight for the TSA Pre-Check line, Global Entry is worth the investment in your wellness. I can tell you from personal experience that it makes retaining your vacation bliss completely doable and softens your re-entry into the real world big time.
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Tell us in the comments: What's your best trick for staying calm, cool, and collected while traveling?