"You are the one that possesses the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your own happiness." ― Diane von Furstenberg
Last weekend I got an email from the Trusted Traveler Program of DHS to remind me my Global Entry membership is expiring in two months. The irony is I'd planned to write this week about the HUGE need for you to check the expiration dates of your travel documents! Of course I know my passport isn't expiring for a few years, but I overlooked my own Global Entry card because 2021 just snuck up on me while I was busy doing All The Things. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you!
While filling out my Global Entry renewal application online, it asked if I was planning on traveling internationally in the next few months. The good news is once you apply for renewal, you can use your Global Entry benefits up to 24 months after the expiration date. Normally that grace period is 18 months, but due to significant increase in application volume, they extended it. You become eligible to renew your Global Entry membership ONE YEAR prior to the expiration date on your card. So go ahead and check your expiration date now, view your account at https://ttp.dhs.gov/ or create a new one, then renew or apply for membership to one of the Trusted Traveler Programs. Global Entry is $100 for five years and includes TSA Pre-Check. A five year Pre-Check only membership is $85.
True story: Recently a lovely couple approved a fantastic itinerary to France, but when one of them informed me he needed to apply for a passport, not just renew, those upcoming plans were all put on hold. (They're going to have a fabulous time in Hawaii instead and save Europe for next year.) The wait time for new and renewal passport applications is taking much longer than usual due to pent up travel demand and reduced staffing levels available to process the paperwork. If you need a new passport for travel, the online recommendation is to apply 18 weeks in advance, but definitely apply even sooner. Do not count on getting an in-person appointment for an emergency passport application 72 hours before a ticketed trip. There is zero guarantee you'd get an appointment, and they're next to impossible right now. Let's save those appointments for people truly in an emergency situation, rather than those who just didn't plan their travel appropriately. You know, the ones without a travel advisor. Should you need to expedite a visa or passport renewal, contact G3 Global Services for swift help.
There are more reasons to check your passport. It needs to be valid for at least six months after your trip's return date, but don't test how close you can come to that six month mark; just renew it. Some countries require more than one empty page (no stamps), and you always need to watch for rips or tears on any passport page. Travelers can (and do) have their passports not accepted simply because of a page with a tiny tear on it! CLICK HERE for a passport holder from the Nine Muses Travel Store.
I also HIGHLY recommend applying for your CLEAR membership! If you're not familiar, CLEAR allows you to use the staffed CLEAR biometric kiosks at airport security (usually next to TSA Pre-Check), and then you get to go to the front of all the lines (even ahead of Pre-Check!) to show your passport to the TSA agent. Breeze through security in 10 minutes and on to your gate. You'll be so grateful for that CLEAR membership each time you use it, and you'll wonder why you didn't get it sooner!
Speaking of Hawaii, the state just partnered with CLEAR to make entry even simpler. Now travelers over 18 years old flying to Hawaii from U.S. mainland airports can use CLEAR's Health Pass technology as part of the Hawaii Safe Travels testing and vaccine requirements. You can use the free CLEAR mobile app and add your negative test result or vaccine verification, and Hawaii's Safe Travels website can link to your CLEAR Health Pass. It's so convenient, and I'll bet more partnerships with CLEAR are to come, so you can keep your fragile vaccine card safe at home when you travel. For more info about CLEAR, click here.
Now please go and check all your travel documents!
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Nine Muses Travel offers a premium experience with flights, guides, drivers, rental vehicles, and the best accommodations to maximize your time, with expert advice on how to get the most out of any destination. We INCLUDE amenities for you at the world's finest hotels, the BEST OF THE BEST!
Complimentary room upgrades at check-in, subject to availability
Complimentary daily breakfast
Early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability
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Arrangements for PCR testing internationally before your return to the U.S.
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Danielle Dybiec | Founder & President