I was recently asked about the best travel related gift I ever gave or received. It didn’t take me long to come up with an answer. As you may know, I have been traveling for over 45 years and have 7 plane tickets booked in the next 6 months. So this seemed like the perfect question for me.
My Gift Giving Style
Another thing you should know about me and my hubby is that we really stopped e changing gifts for most holidays over twenty years ago. It was torture for him to shop. I also pretty much bought myself what I wanted. So about 20 years ago I gave him the gift of no longer having to agonize over birthday or Christmas gifts. We still bought for the kids or I should say I bought for them and he helped me wrap. But he was relieved for the most part of going to crowded malls and trying to decipher exactly which hard drive I wanted to store my travel pictures on or which beach bag would be good for me.
The one exception is our Anniversary. I want to celebrate our marriage in a special way each year. We usually try and so this with an experience or trip. We usually try and pick something to do off our bucket list. The list ranges in degree of cost and difficulty from going to a local museum to visiting Bora Bora. We did the latter on a cruise on the Paul Gauguin cruise ship to see the islands of French Polynesia.
Every year a few weeks before our June 4th Anniversary we look over the list to decide what this years Anniversary gift will be. It is always a mutual decision and always based on a number of factors. The cost of the years gift is usually based roughly on a factor of how many years we have been married. Luckily, staying married means better gifts with obvious bumps for special anniversaries such as 15, 20 and 25. Shhhhh but we hit 30 in June. Scary, I know. Even scarier that we still like each other and want to hang out together and keep traveling together.
Off the Board
About two years we decided to go “off the board”. In our house, going “off the board” is going off script or off the list. Someday I will explain the origins of the expression in our family, but suffice it to say that it just means nothing on the list appealed to us that year. We just didn’t like anything we had on “The list”. We thought of getting each other new Timbuk2 Travel bags, but we have a ton of luggage. We thought of a Furbo Dog Camera to watch both the cat and dog while we were at work. That camera even allows you to throw the pets treats and talk to them while you are away from them. We could even watch them while we were on short trips and were away from them.
We decided against all of those choices. We really had to think of a great present for the two of us. That just meant we had to dig deep to come up with a fantastic anniversary gift that was equally for the two of us. I had read an article about Global Entry and thought I came up with the perfect gift. For anyone that travels a lot, Global Entry is the perfect gift. Anything that makes travel easier is a plus for me.
What is Global Entry?
For $100 each,we could enjoy the benefits of not having to take our shoes off, my sweater off or our laptops out of our bags at most US airports. We could also go through expedited lines at those same airports because a Global Entry gives you TSA pre-check in those same airports. It also allows for expedited check through for international flights when returning back to the US. It is valid for 5 years and can be renewed.
Now we fly anywhere from 30-40 flights a year. Mostly domestic travel but we do travel a few international flights a year. This is a huge time and aggravation saver on these trips. Keep in mind you do have to enter your Known Traveler Number in your airline profiles, but that is a breeze. Just go to each profile and enter it and all future flights to airports that have TSA check-in will grant you the benefit.
It is easy to apply but does require an application, application fee and an interview. The interview will be scheduled after your application is pre-approved. The whole process takes a few weeks but was so worth the time and effort. I would contend that it is worth it even if you only fly a few times a year. If you fly for business travel it is even more worth it. We all know that time is money and why spend extra time waiting in airport lines when you can be in the lounge having a cocktail.
We are so glad we went “off the board”. It was my best travel gift ever. In 3 more years we will renew it to continue to reap the benefits. I don’t know what I would do without it now that I am used to having it. As an added benefit, now my credit card reimburses for the expense so it will be free. Check your credit card companies, and it might actually be a free gift. What has been your best travel gift ever? Let us know below. We have a big anniversary coming up in June and are trying to figure that one out.
To answer questions about Global Entry go here.
Find the link to apply here.