Besides packing, the most annoying thing about traveling is having to wait in those long lines at the airport for what seems like an eternity. Now, we can easily solve the problem of packing by embracing the minimalist lifestyle, but what can we do about the other issue?
Luckily for us, there are a couple neat solutions, otherwise known as Trusted Traveler Programs. In case you become a member of one of these programs, the process of screening at the airport becomes a much simpler task. However, because each of these programs has its advantages, you might not realize which one suits your needs the best. Today, we’ll quickly dissect what each one brings to the table.
As the name itself suggests, this program is probably the best solution for people traveling to the United States from other international airports. Clearing customs, immigration, and agricultural processing becomes a much easier task when you have Global Entry, as there is a special kiosk dedicated to these purposes. In case you were wondering, a five-year membership will set you back $100.
Even better, if you are a member, you won’t have to fill out any annoying arrival forms on your entry, and we all know how much time and nerves that saves. Finally, all Global Entry members have access to expedited security lanes, which significantly speeds up the process of getting into the country. All U.S. citizens and permanent residents are welcomed to apply to this program, including individuals from selected other nationalities as well.
Getting through security lanes at the airport can be a grueling experience. Not only that you need to monitor the amount of liquids you bring along, but in case the security starts giving you a hard time, they might also ask you to remove your laptop, belt, shoes, or even jacket. Ultimately, it is a surefire way to immediately zap any enthusiasm you were having regarding your trip.
Luckily, if you apply for this plan, chances are you won’t encounter similar issues in the future, as TSA Pre members get access to special security lanes. Well, at least that much is true when it comes to domestic air travel. In our opinion, this program is an ideal choice for business travelers who fly across the country on a regular basis. The costs of this pleasure? Just $85 for a five-year plan.
Unlike two other programs, this one entirely focuses on commercial truck drivers, so its focus group is quite narrow. Furthermore, it puts emphasis on easing up import of foreign goods from Canada and Mexico. Because these two countries are major trading partners with the U.S. it’s not hard to realize why a program had to be devised to simplify the transportation of low-risk shipments.
The membership fee is significantly lower, compared with the two abovementioned programs, standing at $50 for a 5-year plan.
Just like the previously mentioned plan, this one also focuses on individuals who travel often to and from Canada. The difference is that this program is not directly designed for commercial use. Whether you plan on going by airplane, train, or driving a vehicle, with NEXUS by your side, the process of entering or exiting the country will be a lot easier. This is achieved through expedited processing at the borders and security lanes at the airports. Another thing that’s similar to the TSA Pre is the fee, which comes at $50 for a 5-year membership.
SENTRI is a program designed for travelers who visit Mexico on a regular basis. Whether you are a pedestrian, car driver or if you use air travel as your means of transport, getting into Canada and Mexico is a lot easier if you are a member of the club. Furthermore, there are special SENTRI lanes for cars at U.S.-Mexico border, which speeds up the crossing tremendously. Naturally, the price for this pleasure is a bit higher, standing at $122.50 for a 5-year term, but it’s an investment worth taking, if you are a frequent traveler.