Want to breeze through the lines at the airport? Skip most of the wait at Customs? Travel in style with global entry.

I travel four to five times a year for work. My son and I travel two or three times a year otherwise. With all that travel, it’s crazy that I never bothered with Global Entry until this year.

In fact, getting Global Entry wasn’t bad at all. When I think of how much time I didn’t have to spend in line the last two years, it’s cringe-worthy. But I’ve got my pass now — and I’m ready to be your guide to Global Entry.

What is Global Entry?

Bascially, Global Entry is All The Things. If there’s a program that speeds you through an airport line (TSA Pre-Check) or lets you drive back from Mexico using a special lane (Sentri), or allows you to breeze through customs when returning from Canada (Nexus), it’s included with Global Entry.

When entering the U.S. after traveling internationally, you have the chance to skip the lines at customs. Plus, because it comes with TSA Pre-Check, you get benefits while traveling domestically. You get to use your special card to use that special line at the airport. You know — the line that moves faster and doesn’t require you to remove your shoes.

How much does Global Entry cost?

Of course, no guide to Global Entry is complete without a look at the cost. It’ll set you back $100. But that gets you five years of use. Consider this: TSA Pre-Check costs $85 for five years. For $15 more (just $3 per year), you can get the benefits of expedited entry back into the U.S.

If you think that you might travel outside the U.S. in the next five years, it’s worth the extra money to just go whole hog and get Global Entry.

Besides, you might not even have to pay for it after all. Check your credit card perks. My Delta Sky Miles card issued me a statement credit as a reimbursement for the cost of Global Entry. Other travel cards like, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, also include a Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check benefit.

Before you apply for Global Entry, make sure you check your credit card benefits. In order to get the statement credit, you have to pay with the card in question. So you need to make sure you choose the right card for your purchase if you want your Global Entry to be essentially free.

How to apply for Global Entry.

You start your application for Global Entry online. You go to the Trusted Traveler Programs page from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It’s part of the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES). Emails you receive will come from GOES.

Once on the page, you need to select the “Get Started” button. You’ll see a security notification to accept before you can move forward. After accepting the terms, you are on your way. There are three that serve as a guide to Global Entry and the process of applying:

Account

Before you can move forward, you create an account with Login.gov. If you already have a Login.gov account, you won’t need to take this step. Login.gov is designed to streamline public access to different federal services. It’s an authentication that you can use for different government sites for ease.

You need an email address to create this account. Use an email address that you check fairly often so you don’t end up missing important information about your application.

Once that’s done, and you fill out your profile, you will be directed back to your application. It happens fairly seamlessly. It was pretty straightforward and simple when I went through the process.

Global Entry application

Next, you fill out the actual Global Entry application. This takes about half an hour — if you are ready with the documentation and information you need to complete the form. It’s probably one of the longest forms I’ve ever filled out. Not really surprising, though, considering that this is something that allows you easier entrance to the country.

Things will go better for you on the application if you collect what you need to get through the application.

When applying for Global Entry, you must have a passport. If you don’t have a passport, you need to get that squared away first. Because applying for a passport is such a rigorous process, your passport pretty much serves as your identification for Global Entry, and you don’t need other documents to complete the application.

Having your driver’s license on hand can also speed up the application process. If you want Global Entry as a Lawful Permanent Resident, you will need the appropriate card, and it must be machine-readable.

Information that you need to provide on your Global Entry application includes:

  • Phone number
  • Address history for the past five years (so dig up those old addresses —all of them)
  • Travel history for the past five years
  • Employment history for the past five years
  • Court documents if you’ve been convicted of any crime other than a traffic violation

Also, if you plan to drive across the border from Mexico and into the U.S., you will need detailed information about your vehicle. So get your registration out of the glove box. It should have everything you need to know.

Finally, if you have citizenships in other countries (like dual citizenship), you need to have that documentation handy.

After you finish the application, you pay your fee. You’ll receive conditional approval (or be rejected).

It’s important to note that this is conditional approval only. You’ll be given a conditional approval letter via email. Print this out. Later, you’ll bring it with your to your Global Entry interview.

Schedule your Global Entry interview

When you receive your conditional approval, you’ll be directed to schedule an in-person interview. My conditional approval only took a couple days. However, it’s possible that yours could take longer. This can get a little bit

Scheduling the interview can get a little bit tricky. In my case, the closest place to have an interview with a TSA official was three hours away. Additionally, the earliest available time was clear into next year — six months from the time I originally applied!

The next closest place to my home was four hours away, and had an even longer wait time for an interview. In the end, I looked at my scheduled, realized I’d be in Philadelphia before I got anywhere near the end of the year, and scheduled an interview during my time in Philly.

Other than finding a convenient time to schedule an interview, the process was simple. You choose a city, and a list of potential dates and times appears. Once you schedule your interview, it’s just a matter of sitting tight until the day arrives.

The Global Entry in-person interview.

Bring your conditional approval letter and your passport. In addition to these items, you also need proof of your current address. Your driver’s license can provide this. But you also might need to bring a utility bill, bank statement, or rental payment statement. I brought a couple pieces of acceptable mail along, just to make sure I had plenty of documentation.

It makes sense to try to be on time to your in-person Global Entry interview. I arrived about half an hour early because I knew I could run into traffic along my route and planned for extra time. Turns out traffic wasn’t bad at all that morning. But better safe than sorry.

You should receive instructions about how to get to the appropriate office. The Philadelphia airport also had helpful signs directing you to the TSA offices. Pay attention because every airport is different.

However, no matter where you go, there’s a good chance that you can’t just stroll into the TSA offices. I was confronted by a door buzzer with a camera. Before I could come in, I had to give my name and why I was there. Only after they verified that I had an appointment did they send someone to escort me.

I was taken to a waiting room and sat with other people waiting for their own in-person interview. When it was my turn, an agent escorted me back into an office. There was one other desk in the office, and someone else was having an interview with another agent.

The line of questioning seemed more about personal things, rather than a checklist. It was more like the agent was trying to get a feel for me as a person, rather than seeing if I could answer rote questions. My agent was interested in the fact that I live in Idaho, but was completing my in-person interview in Pennsylvania. So I had to explain that whole situation.

He also asked me about some of my travel experiences, whether I travel alone, and what my work is. It only took about 10 minutes.

At the end of the interview, they take your picture and your fingerprints. You have to be fingerprinted if you want global entry. They use a scanner to capture the images.

Activating your Global Entry card

This guide to Global Entry isn’t quite done. Once you finish your interview, the TSA does another review of the situation and decides whether or not to grant full approval. In my case, my full approval was waiting in my email inbox by the time I made the 45-minute drive from the Philadelphia airport to my ex’s apartment. However, it can take a few days in some cases.

Your approval letter will include your known traveler number. This is the number you use when booking flights so you can get the TSA Pre-Check on your ticket. Once you have that approval, you can use the known traveler number when booking. Most frequent flyer programs and third-party booking sites allow you to save

Most frequent flyer programs and third-party booking sites allow you to save your number as part of your profile. This way, you don’t have to enter it every time you book a flight. Instead, it’s taken care of automatically. This makes the whole process a little easier.

Next, a couple weeks later, you will receive your Global Entry card in the mail. You need to activate it. Luckily, you can do this by logging into your Login.gov account on the Known Traveler page and choosing the right option.

You can use your Known Traveler card at the airport, and as a form of ID. And, of course, you can use it when re-entering the country at Customs to expedite your arrival.

What about my kids? Do they need Global Entry?

Your Pre-Check status ensures that minors traveling with you can breeze through the line with you. However, if you want them to get through Customs with you, they need their own separate Global Entry card.

While you don’t need to worry about the residency documentation (you vouch for them), your kids do need a passport to get Global Entry. You need guardian permission to get a passport (and Global Entry) for your minor children. My ex had to sign off on my son’s passport along with my signature being involved.

Keep your documents updated.

Finally, you need to keep your documents updated in the Known Traveler system. If you have a new driver’s license or passport, you need to change the information.

After logging into your account, look for the “Update Documents” section in the navigation. You can use that to change the expiration dates, numbers, and other information so that it’s accurate.

Additionally, you have one year after your Global Entry expires to renew with minimum fuss. At the end of five years, you pay another fee and renew your status for an additional five years.

Is Global Entry right for you?

In most cases, Global Entry is worth having. It’s not much more expensive than Pre-Check, and it comes with many benefits. The TSA offers the following chart to help you compare its different traveler programs:

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Thinking about a road trip is fun! The memories of road trips past – awesome! What’s not so great? All the boring, crappy stuff that can actually happen while on the journey. You’ve gotta be prepared.

The road trip is a tradition as American as baseball. With miles and miles of highway stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction, we grow up dreaming about the day we can hop in a car and explore it all.

But the reality of a road trip can be much less glamorous. If you’ve ever been crammed in the backseat of an old sedan with no air conditioning for hours at a time, you know what I mean. To actually enjoy the trip, you need to plan ahead.

Here’s a checklist to ensure your next road trip goes off without a hitch – from the necessities to the fun stuff.

Essentials.

Jumper Cables

Having your battery die in the middle of a road trip is no fun, especially if you don’t have any jumper cables with you. I’ve been stranded on the side of the road with no cables before, and eventually gave up and called AAA when none of the good Samaritans who stopped to give me a jump had cables either.

A new set of jumper cables only costs around $20 for a decent set – trust me, it’s worth it.

External Phone Battery Charger

Anytime I start out a road trip with a fully charged cell phone, I’m almost guaranteed to drain it before I’ve arrived at my destination. If you have multiple people in the car all trying to charge their phones, you’re going to have times where your phone is dead and you can’t charge it.

That’s why I always bring my external battery charger with me. You can find a decent portable charger for $30-$40, and they typically carry enough energy to charge your phone five times over. That’s a lot of extra time to play late 90s R&B and settle petty arguments with Google.

Pillows

I can’t be in a car for an extended period of time without falling asleep, but I hate contorting myself into a semi-comfortable position just to wake up with a neck cramp.

Now, I try to bring a pillow from home or a travel pillow on every road trip. It makes my car naps much more enjoyable, so I can actually rest before it’s my turn to take the wheel.

Bottled Water and Snacks

During my last significant road trip, my friends and I loaded up our car with all kinds of snacks: veggie chips, bananas, PB&J sandwiches, candy and string cheese. We had a whole cooler in the backseat with food and bottled water, which saved us so much money and kept us from stopping for fast food. Every time I was tempted to buy a candy bar at a convenience store, I remembered that I had plenty of food in the car.

Not only is bringing your own snacks less expensive, but you can also bring goodies that are healthier and tastier than what you’d find at a gas station.

Entertainment.

Podcasts

If you’re traveling by yourself, I highly recommend finding some podcast episodes to download before you head out. Listening to music or calling old friends is fun, but a podcast is the best way to pass the time on a long drive.

Most episodes are between 40 and 90 minutes, so listening to a couple episodes can make several hours fly by. I’ll never forget the Thanksgiving I spent driving to my grandma’s house and listening to “Serial” along the way. I was so engrossed in the story, I sat in my car after arriving to finish the last episode.

I used to drive six hours every weekend to see my boyfriend, and I would always load up my iPod with that week’s episodes of “Fresh Air.” Nowadays, I also enjoy comedy podcasts like “Comedy Bang Bang” and “Doughboys” to keep my spirits up when traffic is a slog.

If you’re going to be driving through an area with low cell reception, I recommend downloading the episodes before you head out so you’re not relying on your data plan.

Apps and Games

Last month, I went on an eight-hour road trip with my old college friends to Asheville, North Carolina. We wanted to play some road games on the way down, but couldn’t think of anything we could all participate in.

Eventually we found a knock-off version of “Beat Shazam.” The app would play 10 seconds of a song, and we’d have to guess what it was. It was a blast trying to test each other and see who was better at picking out old Britney Spears’ hits.

Before you head out on your road trip, find some fun apps and games you can play. You can even go old-school and play classic road games like “I Spy” and “20 Questions.” Nothing spices up a long drive like a little competition.

Are there any other essentials you take on a road trip? What can’t you do without? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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When you live in an RV, home is anywhere you want it to be.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Today we don’t have a video, but we do have a great conversation with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner about how to live in an RV full-time.

We talk about what you need to do in order to prepare for life as a permanent RVer. Michelle also has interesting stories about meeting a billionaire RV enthusiast and other encounters with interesting people.

And, if you decide it’s not for you, we also talk about how to enjoy RVing as a weekender. You don’t have to live in an RV to enjoy one. Plus, weekending can give you a chance to try it out.

Michelle is a well-known blogger sharing tips about living the lifestyle you want. You can find her at Making Sense of Cents.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Step off the beaten path. See the world.

The best way to support Adulting.tv is to subscribe and leave us an honest review. Thank you!

International travel is expected to increase by 35% in the next 10 years. If you are ready to go overseas and experience a different culture, there are a few things you need to be aware of.

Travel can be an amazing experience — if you’re prepared. In this episode, we look at what you need to do in order to get ready for international travel.

Concepts

  • Reasons you should consider international travel at some point.
  • The value of experiencing new cultures and viewpoints.
  • Opportunities when you take the time to get to know others of different cultures.
  • An over view of the need for a passport and (maybe) visas for international travel.
  • The advantages of having a credit card when you travel.
  • Learn about the culture and norms ahead of time so you know what to expect.
  • Look up immunization requirements. You might need shots.
  • Be ready for phone service issues. Check with your provider ahead of time.
  • Consider a tour or cruise for your first experience if you are unsure of how to proceed.
  • Safety tips and procedures to consider when you take children on international travel.

Ready for international travel? This week’s DO NOWs are all about getting ready to plan your next trip. Pick one country you would like to visit. Learn about it, and what you need to know if you want to go there. Start planning your trip. If you don’t have one, start the application process for a passport.

Our listener question this week tackles what happens if your partner doesn’t want to travel. We have some ideas you can try if you want to encourage them to join you in international travel.

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Resources

High-risk travel training is a thing now.

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Lose yourself in another country. Take the road less traveled. Learn and grow.

Sometimes we invite guests on our show to talk about interesting topics. We love learning from our guests and gaining fresh insight that can help us all be better adults.

Show Notes

Join us as we talk to Teresa Mears from Living on the Cheap.She talks about the great experience of traveling the world when she was younger. Learn about how you can go around the world without spending an arm and a leg. Plus, we talk about the benefits of world travel and learning about other cultures.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Ready to just get out of town? If you have a long weekend, you can scratch your travel itch without spending a ton of money.

There is nothing better than getting away for the weekend.

Maybe you’ve decided to hoard your vacation time for an epic trip, but need to get away before taking your future bucket list trip. Fortunately, the United States offers a mind-blowing selection of great places to visit without breaking the bank.

These weekend getaways are fast, fun, and provide you with just the right scratch for your travel itch.

Denver

Ok, this writer may be a little biased because I’m from Colorado and have a website and podcast about…all things Colorado!

Denver is currently experiencing “a moment.” Years of hard work developing the city, a little notoriety (legal weed anyone), and a sick view of the Rocky Mountains creates one of the best weekend getaways. I guarantee you’ll come back for more.

Fly into Denver International Airport (DIA) via Denver-based Frontier, or travel favorite, Southwest. Hop on the train from DIA to downtown Denver’s Union Station, then catch a LYFT or UBER to your hotel or hostel. Dump your luggage and get ready to explore.

There’s really no bad time to visit Denver, but summer is a time when Denver truly throws down the welcome mat for citizens and visitors alike.

Enjoy free festivals such as the Denver Day of Rock held downtown and the amazing Chalk Art Festival that brings in talented artists from all over the world. Artists create insane 3D creative pieces using Colorado chalk and the street as their canvas.

Check out the ever-changing murals in the River North (RINO) district and catch a beer at one of the city’s numerous breweries. Denverites have more than a casual obsession with all things beer.

Love art? Check out the Museum of Contemporary Art designed by David Adjaye, recently voted the world’s best architect.

Denver has also become a foodie mecca with a ridiculous number of local restaurants pushing how Denverites experience their food. Check out: Bacon Social Club, Avanti, and Cholon to get started on exploring the culinary diversity of the city.

Chicago

The Windy City is literally tethered between land and Lake Michigan. The city takes one’s breath away as your plan circles around the lip of the lake and then heads towards O’Hare for landing.

While you might think Chicago is one of the more expensive weekend getaways, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of inexpensive ways to have a great time in Chi-town.

Once you land, hop on Chicago’s L (the train) to downtown. You will feel like you’re on the train for a while, but the ride is worth it. If possible try to stay near the Magnificent Mile, a shopping and food destination.

Catch a water taxi and pay $9 for a day pass. The water taxi ended up being one of my favorite ways to explore Chicago.

Need to get a workout in? Check out Blazin Cycle to see where their next stationary bike workout will be held.

Make sure you head to Millennium Park. It’s where you will find the famed Chicago Bean. They say it’s called Cloud Gate, but everyone knows it’s the Bean. Plus, Crown Fountain, also located in Millennium Park, is a fountain that every tourist should experience when visiting the city.

No trip to Chicago would be complete without eating some of the best food in the world. From local favorites like deep dish pizza, pierogies, shakshuka, and Rick Bayless’s nod to authentic Mexican food at Frontera Grill.

Huntsville, Alabama

Yep, this one is random in terms of weekend getaways. But, trust me, it’s a great town.

Think of it as the Austin of Alabama.

Huntsville is a quick 30-minute flight from Atlanta and apparently has “the largest per capita concentration of engineers in the U.S.” according to the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to being a beautiful little town with a lovely downtown. Huntsville is the epicenter of the Alabama craft beer scene. If you enjoy riding a bike and having a beer, hang out with the Bikes and Brews Huntsville crew and explore the town while sampling beer around town.

As one would expect, there is great food to be had everywhere. But, my favorite foodie experiences were eating boiled peanuts and having fried pickles.

If you’re looking for a relaxing time, walk around the lovely Big Spring Park and feed the ridiculously hungry koi that live in the ponds. Bring quarters so that you can purchase fish food to feed them.  

No trip to Huntsville would be complete without visiting the U.S. Space and Rocket Center which figuratively blew me away. See up close and personal one of the Space Shuttles and a Saturn V rocket.

Getting around town is pretty easy, just use UBER or LYFT to get picked up and taken to whichever area you would like to explore.

Wrap up your visit to Huntsville at A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard for some great music, beer, and a great time to be had in a truly unique space.

There is nothing better than taking three or four days to check out a new destination. Strategize your vacation hours and plan your trip the next time you have a three-day weekend. Take a day off of work and then you’ll have a nice four-day holiday that is fun, affordable, and relaxing.

What are your favorite weekend getaways? Let us know in the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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Travel doesn’t cost as much as you think. Especially if you use credit card rewards programs to reduce the cost.

When my husband and I got married, we didn’t exactly have a lot of money to throw around.

We weren’t poor by any means, but our idea of a honeymoon was leaning more towards a relaxing weekend at the family cabin than a transatlantic tour of Europe and the UK.

Thankfully, my then-fiance and I had been racking up points on a credit card with a travel rewards program.

Before I even started to come up with honeymoon ideas, we’d earned enough mileage to fly to London and Croatia for free.

Instead of heating up s’mores in the microwave and burning through a pile of DVDs, we were exploring ancient palaces and stuffing ourselves with Croatian seafood. It was perfect.

Travel rewards are a slam dunk, as long as you’re responsible enough to reap the benefits. If you’re looking to adventure on the cheap, here’s how to find the best credit card for you and use credit cards to travel.

Examine your credit.

If you want to start earning airline or hotel points, you have to see if your credit is good enough to qualify for the best credit card rewards programs.

The most lucrative cards often require credit scores of 750 or higher, although some will approve people with scores between 620 and 749.

You can get an idea of your credit score for free through sites like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.

Don’t like what you see? Look at your credit report to see what’s dragging you down. It might be a high debt-to-income ratio, frequent late payments, or large credit utilization. Work on improving your score before you apply.

If you already have a credit card, pay off the balance each month in full and on time. Doing so regularly for a few months will boost your credit score.

Choose the right card for you.

Almost every airline and hotel company has their own credit card, so it’s easy to find one that fits your needs.

Before you sign up for any cards, research which one makes the most sense for you. If your local airport is mainly a hub for Southwest, it doesn’t make sense to sign up for the United Airlines card.

Many consumers apply for cards based on their initial sign-up bonus. Often signing bonuses are worth at least one round-trip domestic flight.

These bonuses usually require users to spend a certain amount within three months to qualify. Some of these cards only ask that you spend $1,000 in three months, but others demand you spend closer to $3,000 or $4,000 in three months to receive the bonus.

A family of four could probably spend that amount easily, but it’s much harder for a single person. It’s a waste to sign up for a card when you won’t be able to earn the bonus.

Also, it’s not worthwhile to carry a balance on a card just to get the extra points. Travel cards often have higher interest rates, and it’s never worth the free trip if you wind up in credit card debt.

Do the research.

Credit card travel expert Brad Barrett of Richmond Savers said the best airline deals come with traditional frequent flyer miles, but they also sell out the fastest. The key to maximizing any credit card reward is to be adaptable in your plans.

“If they can’t be flexible with their dates, and that often means even plus or minus a few days, then it will be very difficult to use traditional frequent flyer miles,” he said.

Every card has its pros and cons, but some are better than others. One of the perennial favorites is the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers 50,000 bonus points that can be redeemed through almost any airline. Another popular option is the Southwest Rapid Rewards card, which has a

One of the perennial favorites is the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers 50,000 bonus points that can be redeemed through almost any airline. Another popular option is the Southwest Rapid Rewards card, which has a 40,000-mile bonus. Flights through Southwest can cost as little as 2,000 points, giving you great bang for your buck.

Barrett’s other favorite picks include the Capital One Venture and Barclaycard Arrival Plus, “which allow you to buy the travel with your credit card like normal and then log in after the fact to redeem your ‘miles’ to wipe the expense off your credit card statement.”

For hotels, Barrett loves the Starwood and Hyatt cards, “since they allow you to use your points to book any ‘Standard’ room they have available.”

“Most hotels aren’t at full occupancy, so you can almost always use your points, even on last-minute stays,” he said.

Read the fine print.

You have to pay taxes and fees when you travel, even if you book your flight for free. Taxes for domestic flights are usually less than $20. However, those taxes and fees can cost more than $100 for an international flight. Don’t forget to include this cost when budgeting for your trip.

Used to traveling at the last minute? Reward flights have to be booked months in advance or you’ll face staggering prices (like 40,000 points for a flight that usually costs 20,000).

Stay on top of your credit rewards.

When you use credit cards to travel, you can build up points for your next trip. Many cards give you double points on your travel, helping you earn rewards faster.

Pay attention to how you are earning points. Use your points to book free airfare, free hotel rooms, and get discounts on rental cars.

You might be surprised at how cheap travel becomes when you use your rewards credit cards.

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Broad perspectives enhance understanding of life. Live abroad at least once in your life and fine-tune your empathy.

When I was in high school I had a fascination with all things French.

I joined the French club. I learned to speak the language. I loved the show Les Misérables. There was something so romantic, so different about France, that I had to go there.

Sadly, I didn’t have any money.

Travel to another country.

It wouldn’t happen until several years later after college that I would travel overseas and live abroad.

It’s true that when I was a young girl I lived in Japan for two years. However, a small child doesn’t comprehend the experience of otherness that being in another country makes you feel. A small child doesn’t have the same response as an adult.

Being a young adult in a foreign country, a young American in a foreign country, was very exciting and humbling.

Living abroad is an experience that every young American should have because it helps develop an awareness of our place in the world.

Live abroad and see how the world sees us.

At the time that I write this post, we have just experienced a highly contentious Presidential election and a tough year. The U.S. has a new President and, as is the case with each new president, their vision of the world and the United State’s place in it will guide and shape their policy.

These new policies affect people. Young Americans, for the most part, live very wealthy lives compared to many people around the world. Our homes are bigger, we have electricity, and with the exception of Flint, Michigan, most of us have clean water.

We’ve experienced very little civil disruption, we have plenty of food, and most people have access to the internet.

It’s not like that everywhere.

We grow up with stories of how just and fair the U.S. is and when we step outside of our bubble we are presented with an alternative view of the history that we’ve been told our whole lives.

Leaving the U.S. to live abroad forces one to answer questions that we might not typically be asked.

We discover that some countries and citizens absolutely love the U.S. and other countries… not so much.

Travel puts us face-to-face with people who are affected by the decisions that our country makes (good or bad). When you’re faced with people who are affected by policies that we feel are in our best interest, we are compelled to defend or refute a policy with a depth of reflection that we may not normally tap into during our day to day lives in the U.S.

For many young travelers being presented with a negative or positive view of the U.S. may catch you off-guard. And you may find yourself wondering if everything that we’ve been told about our country is a lie.

Not necessarily, but how one group sees a geopolitical situation may be completely different from how another group perceives it.

When you live abroad, you see the way others see us. And that’s not a bad thing. We should have more understanding with other people from other countries.

Live abroad and become “the other.”

Living in a foreign country forces people into an experience of otherness. As a person of color, I’ve been the only black person in a class or a group (on many occasions). But there are many people who’ve never had the experience of being “the other.” It can be a shocking, disturbing and somewhat disorienting experience.

Young Americans need that experience so that they can develop empathy and develop a worldliness that can only be discovered through travel and a deeper curiosity about who and what is around us.

Young Americans need to travel abroad because not everything is about us. And to learn that life lesson, we have to venture beyond our borders. Those adventures foster a curiosity about the world that might fuel other adventures.

That curiosity about the world and willingness to explore it as a younger person will serve you well later in life if you go into international business or politics.

In recent election cycles, voters expressed concern about candidates lacking global awareness because they hadn’t traveled or lived abroad.  From a job perspective, international businesses look at global awareness through the lens of actual time spent living and exploring other places.

But, if developing a global awareness isn’t enough to entice you to live abroad, maybe the following reason will be enough: travel abroad because you can.

While you’re still single, have no kids, and basically have the least amount of responsibilities that you will ever have during your life. Of course, you can travel abroad at any age, but that first time when you have very little to lose and everything to gain, that first experience is everything.

For some people, that one experience will be enough. For others (like myself) that first trip will become addictive. And, each trip has grown my global awareness, my awareness of my role as an American citizen, and fed my lust for adventure.

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Traveling with your S.O. probably seems like a dream, but it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. Do this so you don’t regret your shared vacation.

Successful relationships require compromise. And nothing shows your ability to compromise like traveling with your S.O.

If you plan on marrying your S.O. someday — or even if you’re just planning on moving in together — you should first travel to a strange land, even if it’s Poughkeepsie NY.

Traveling with your S.O. is a good insight into what life together forever will be like.

You’ll be out of your comfort zones. You’ll spend more uninterrupted time together than you do at home. You’ll get insight into each other’s idiosyncrasies. You’ll have to manage a micro-budget. You’ll interact with strangers. You’ll disagree on directions. You’ll likely fight.

So, go away with your S.O.

But watch out. You might discover that you like different things when you travel. How do you prepare for this life-lesson when you want to holiday differently together? Here are 11 points to keep in mind:

Talk before you walk.

If you’re certain you want to travel together and certain you’ll want different things from traveling, have a talk before you head off on your big adventure.

Be open and honest about what you both want. Talk through your differences. You may relish lying on the beach with a good book. Your S.O. may want to hike every trail available.

It’s possible to do both and both be happy. It’s just easier if you talk first.

Talk money.

I did say talk before you walk, but money requires its own talk.

Traveling with your S.O. can bring your different money beliefs into sharper focus. Before leaving with your bae, be clear on your vacation budgets. Know how you’ll divide and conquer expenses.

Be okay if you’re not splitting it 50/50, but know that you’re not splitting it 50/50 before you go. Be clear with how you’ll spend your money and how long it must last. If you each have your own budgets, be okay with the idea that you won’t spend the same amount.

Go slow.

Traveling long distance for a long time may be the ideal vacation, but it’s only ideal if your S.O. is your ideal travel buddy.

Take it slow at first. Go away for the weekend, maybe just a short road trip. After you survive 24 hours, maybe shoot for 48 hours, and then 168 hours, and so on.

With each successful trip, move onto longer and farther trips. It sucks when your first trip is two weeks together on the other side of the world and you have no place to go to escape from what turned out to be a Bad Idea.

Spend time alone.

You’re an extrovert and your S.O.’s an introvert. You’re the drummer and your S.O.’s the lead singer. This is okay. It’s not often that couples are the exact same and that’s okay. It’d be kind of boring otherwise. Be okay with time alone. Get away from each other. Distance yourselves from yourselves and make your hearts grow fonder of each other.

Use each other’s strengths.

The Wonder Twins are wonderful because they’re not alike. They have different strengths and personalities. Leverage what you’ve got and let your boo leverage what they’ve got.

One of you may be directionally challenged while the other can’t itemize a dinner bill. One of you may be better at driving on the opposite side of the road while the other is better at speaking the local language.

Let go of what you’re not good at and relish the ways your other half makes life easier on the road.

Compromise.

Whether you have a short-term S.O. or a long-term S.O., the success of your relationship hinges on compromise.

Don’t lose yourself completely in the life of your other half, but also remember that you’re not the only one in the relationship. Give a little while you get a little. That leads to a lot. The reward is you both get a little of what you want and a lot of time and experiences together.

Set a low bar.

When you first travel together, set low expectations. Don’t wish for or expect the worst; just don’t expect a honeymoon. Sometimes it best to hope for the best and plan for not the best.

Practice patience.

Practice does make perfect. Patience isn’t just a Guns & Roses’ song.

You’ll both be out of your elements when traveling with your S.O. You won’t have the comforts of home. You won’t have your reliable resources. The environment may be unfamiliar. All of these variables, when different, add up and add pressure on both of you. Give each other the benefit of the doubt and forgive easily.

Chill.

Practicing patience is about your reaction to your S.O. Being chill is about being patient with the unfamiliar.

Everything may be new and different to your bae and one (or both) of you might go off the rails. You need to stifle the urge to freak out and try to be calm.

Realize that things rarely go exactly according to plan. You need to be chill when traveling with your S.O. Be okay with how everything flows — or doesn’t flow.

Live in the moment.

Lao Tzu said, “If you’re stressed about something you’re worried about the future. If you’re depressed, you’re worried about the past.” Neither the future nor the past is

Neither the future nor the past represent true reality. Only the here and now exists. Live in the moment. You both will have a much better experience.

Remember the point.

Don’t forget that the point of traveling with your S.O. is to spend time and create experiences.

Remember that you had enough interest in this person to make them your boo. You enough interest to go away together. Value the time you spend together because before you know it you’ll be back to your old routine.

A vacation should be fun, exciting, and relaxing. Focus on the fun and whether you and your S.O. want the same thing, you’ll have a good time.

Safe travels!

Do you have a story of traveling with your S.O.? Was it a nightmare or bliss? Let us know in the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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Do you want to work abroad and live your life from anywhere in the world? Sarah Li Cain shows how you can live this flexible lifestyle.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

On today’s episode of Adulting.tv LIVE!, Harlan and Miranda are joined by Sarah Li Cain from High Fiving Dollars. Today we’ll discuss what it takes to travel beyond your home, see the world, and enjoy living and working outside of the United States.

Sarah Li Cain is a financial storyteller who weaves practical tips and strategies into her work so that those trying to change their money mindset can see themselves in the starring role. You can find her over at High Fiving Dollars where she answers readers questions or spilling her guts out on her latest money experiment.

Watch the video above or listed to just the audio by using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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