If you’re planning on seeing the world someday – what are you waiting for? There’s no better time to fulfill your wanderlust than now. Read More...

Every single time I look at my phone or laptop, I’m amazed by the feeling that the world is at my fingertips. Social media influencers are always sharing stories about dirt bike riding in Moab, wandering the streets of Paris, and backpacking through Morocco. It almost feels like you’re being taunted continuously about all of the amazing experiences you could be having.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The moment that you become excited about travel and exploring the world outside of your town is the moment that you should travel. And, let’s face it, now is an incredible time to see the world. “Your ‘now’ is whoever is reading (this post) at whatever point in time you’re in, in your life.” Mark Zmarzly.

And, if you decide now is the time for you to travel, you’ll be joining record numbers of Americans stepping outside our country’s borders.

7 reasons why now is the best time to travel the world.

1. Americans Are (Finally) Getting Passports – Due to the recent enactment of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, Americans who would like to leave the U.S. (even to go to Canada) must have a passport. As a result, more Americans than ever have requested and have been issued a passport. Having a passport increases the potential for travelers to embrace overseas travel.

2. Social media influencers share great tips, tricks, and ideas for traveling to different locales around the world. Travel guides are created to make new countries accessible and easy to explore, and even amateur travel videos are designed with the novice traveler in mind. Influencers have made travel to foreign countries feel approachable to people who may have been concerned about overseas travel.

3. Specialized travel communities – If you’re nervous about traveling as a POC (person of color) as a single woman, or a person with physical challenges, there are communities that have been created to help you travel safely in the country that you’ve been dreaming about.

  • Travel Noire – A community created to encourage, inspire, and organize African-American travelers. Their photos on Instagram are drool-worthy.
  • She Roams Solo – A community created for female travelers who would like to connect with other travelers exploring the world on their own or looking for like-minded people to join in the journey.
  • AccessAnything.net – Is a resource to help connect travelers with disabilities with resources related to travel around the world.

4. Travel is More Affordable-You don’t have to be a millionaire to travel around the world. You need a strategy, a budget, and the strength of your imagination. The average traveler can now fly on budget airlines that offer affordable and safe flights overseas. You do have to be careful of the amenities add-ons that can increase the price of your tickets. But, it’s not unusual to pay $500-$800 round-trip to fly to Europe depending on where you live in the country.

5. The Sharing Economy – Travelers no longer have to stay in expensive hotels once they arrive in their new town. They can stay in an Airbnb and other variations of home sharing that keep their trip expenses low.

6. Food Familiarity – It seems like a small thing, but, travel is a lot easier for us because we have a passing understanding of what other countries eat. We may enjoy an Americanized version of the country’s food, but we typically can find something new to eat in the place that we’re visiting.

7. You’re Excited About Travel Now – If you’re reading this post filled with travel tips and other travelers’ experiences, it’s highly likely that you’re excited about traveling NOW. If that the case, it’s the time to optimize your enthusiasm and begin planning your trip.

Bonus Reason – Technology makes it easier for your nervous loved ones to get in touch with you while you’re having an incredible time in a new country. You’re just a Facebook, Instagram, SKYPE, Text, or What’s App message away.

If those seven reasons above aren’t enough to inspire and motivate you to plan your next (or, first trip) maybe the following reason will: life changes fast. You may end up in a relationship with a partner who hates travel, political situations may change, and the once open country you loved may become a scary place to visit Or your student loans are now due, and you have to focus on paying off debt. Life changes faster than you expect and often you have to grab opportunities when they present themselves because they might not present themselves again.

In fact, when I was in high school, I fell in love with the French language. I studied it, belonged to the French club, and even remember going to see Les Miserables at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

It would be safe to say that I fell in love with the romance of the idea of France and Paris in particular. But, at the time I was too young to truly imagine the possibility of being able to visit Paris. Instead, I followed a time-honored tradition and headed to university thousands of miles across the country to begin my first foray into adult life.

I loved it.

As I adjusted to attending a school that I’d never visited before I was exposed to how the other half lived. Let’s face it, I was a hick from Colorado and found myself meeting people who were traveling abroad during school breaks. My classmates would return with tales of adventures in Europe, ski trips, ironically in Colorado, and quick getaways to Asia.

What next?

As I struggled to survive my college experience, working in food services so that I always had food to eat, the urge to travel was forever at the back of my mind – but it wasn’t the right time. Nearing the end of my college career, I found myself completely confused about “what next.”

While I wasn’t the first person in my family to graduate college, I was one of the first to attend in the traditional sense, right out of high school. Upon graduation, I returned home and floated around like many kids who still had no clue what was next. And, it was at that moment that I decided to travel to Europe for the first time.

There was a sense of urgency because I understood that life happens and as a single woman with no kids, the best time to travel the world was ‘now’.

So I did.

I spent months agonizing over what my itinerary would be, how much I would have to pay, what visas I might need and more. I picked up extra work shifts at the retail store where I was working and zeroed in on my goal with laser-like focus. Here are a few ways I stayed focused and excited about my trip:

  • I watched television shows about the places that I wanted to travel to.
  • Believe in Vision Boards? Mine played a massive role in keeping me focused and excited about my upcoming trip.
  • Do you have a journal? I wrote in mine often to work through any doubts that I may have had about my trip.

By staying focused I was able to meet my goal of traveling to Europe, and it was glorious! I lounged on the beaches of Barcelona in the moonlight, explored Amsterdam by foot, and reconnected with European friends.

These tips are helpful to anyone planning their first trip. Especially if you’re surrounded by people who don’t get why anyone would want to travel to a foreign country.

What if you’re kind of broke?

Don’t let being a little short of cash keep you from traveling the world. I spoke with some non-traditional Millennial and GenX travelers about how they strategized their foreign travel with (gasp) kids.

Mark Zmarzly never really traveled. In fact, he never really traveled outside of his home state of Nebraska. He had an opportunity to travel to France for a few weeks in high school and was planning to go until he changed his mind. When I spoke to him, he still seemed a bit puzzled by that decision. Then, his life continued, like lives do. He got married, had a few kids. And, then, one day he and his wife decided to visit Colorado for a week with the kids. Because let’s face it, each state is like its own country.

Then one day, he and his family decided to visit Wisconsin for eleven days. Each consecutive trip became longer as they became more confident about traveling around the world. Mark’s family then had the opportunity to visit Ireland for a month. When I interviewed him for this post, he shared how he and his family had recently returned from living in Australia for six months after he won a business grant for entrepreneurs.

I also spoke with Melissa, owner of the blog Traveling Wallet. She shared her desire to return to Ecuador and El Salvador, the two countries that her family is originally from. Her story is a little different from Mark’s as she visited those countries as a child and lived in one of them briefly as well.

But, life happened.

She went to university, got married, had kids. But, she kept thinking about visiting her family’s home countries. Then, she and her husband decided to move from California back to his home state of Michigan, and that’s when the opportunity presented itself for them to travel.

They decided to add a two month trip to Central America before settling down in Michigan permanently. Here are some things they had to figure out before going:

  • Budget – Their budget including factoring in how long her husband would need to find a new job in Michigan. It took a little longer than they originally anticipated for him to find a new job when they returned to the United States. Fortunately, they had factored that into their budget.
  • Accommodation – They opted to stay with relatives for the majority of their stay while they were in Central America. But, they still ended up covering some accommodation costs.
  • Flights – They were able to travel hack their airfare by opening two credit cards and strategically hitting the spending threshold to earn their mileage points.

Once they figured out their strategy, they began saving their money and enjoyed an incredible two months in Central America.

Lessons from these two families.

There are several lessons to be learned from these two couple’s stories. And, they apply to anyone (single or part of a family).

  • Start Small – Mark made the point that he and his family decided that they wanted to travel, but chose to start small. That small initial trip to Colorado helped them work through the following: figuring out their travel logistics, how to save for a trip, finding accommodation, and building confidence to travel to an unknown locale.
  • What About Work? If you travel for work, make a point of asking if the mileage points accrued can be added to your mileage account. You can then use that mileage when purchasing tickets for your next trip.
  • Business Travel – Add vacation days (if able) to the end of business-related travel trips. Since you’re already out of the office, see if it’s possible to add some vacation days to your trip and explore the town that you’re in.
  • Travel Hack – This strategy to earn mileage points is not for everyone. But, if you pay your credit cards in full every month, this may be a way for you to accumulate miles towards your next trip abroad. Travel hackers spend time looking for credit cards that offer excellent airline mileage sign-up bonuses for new members. Once you’ve added up your points book your trips and go! There are a number of communities and resources that help people with how to travel hack, spend some time doing research to make sure you find a reputable and honest resource.

If now is the time you would like to travel, begin working on your plan. And, if you’re still not convinced that now is the best time to travel the world, here a few more actions that you can take to make your trip around the world happen.

5 more actions to take.

You can take to make your dreams of international travel happen before it’s too late.

  • Join a program! When I was 27 years old, I joined an international cultural program called “Up With People.” It was a multicultural program where we traveled around the world, stayed with host families, performed a musical, and participated in community service around the world. The best thing about joining a program aligned with my interests was that I didn’t have to do any of the trip logistics. All I had to do was pay for the program and show up the first day. They took care of creating my travel experience, my flight details, accommodation, and facilitating my experiences when I arrived in each country.

During that year I traveled to 21 states, Norway and Japan. I’m still in touch with the people that I traveled the world with during that year, and it was an incredible experience for me. No, I wasn’t building my career in a traditional sense, but I was developing my cultural competency which is an area where a lot of business people struggle.

  • Work Abroad – The younger you are the easier it is to find a program to work abroad. There are certain countries constantly looking for English language instructors, and if you’re open to working while you travel, this is a fantastic way to afford your travels. Almost every non-English speaking country has businesses that focus on teaching students to speak English. Be aware that they may prefer British English to American accented English, but, there are plenty of jobs out there.
  • Look for Grants and Scholarships – Don’t leave money on the table. Spend time searching for grants and scholarships created with you in mind. Mark Zmarzly has researched and found three business grants with the most recent one enabling him and his family to live in Australia for six months. There are unclaimed scholarships and grant money waiting for you to find them.
  • Build an Online Business – 2018 and beyond is a fantastic time to build a digitally based business. It’s a pain to grow any business, but online business is great because you can work from anywhere as long as you have decent internet access. Love to write? Become a freelance writer, enjoy being a part of a team? Virtual Assistant work may be where you should lend other entrepreneurs a hand.

There is a ton of money out there waiting for you to find, earn, or claim it. If now is the time for you to travel the world, don’t let lack of money be the reason why you decide not to travel.

Every person’s “now” is subjective.

Traveling the world doesn’t mean that you have to go to 17 countries in 17 days. You could visit one country for a week, and that would count. Or, you could use your typical vacation time and go somewhere new.

You get to decide what your world travel looks like. There are no hard and fast rules. Don’t believe me? I thought I would share some of my past travels and how they were perfect for the moment that I was traveling in.

My first trip to Europe I worked like a dog at a retail store for months and saved up so that I could experience Europe in all of its glory. My trip to Europe was the only thing on my mind. I still made time to live in the moment, but I was focused on one thing and one thing only – getting the hell out of dodge and doing something that felt so beyond my reach.

Traveling to Europe felt like something that only “rich people” did. Not, regular people like myself. I had to prove that I could do this one thing and ended up traveling during different seasons of my life and discovering that each time had its own unique set of challenges.

Each trip was a reflection of a different point in time and a different “now” moment. Here are examples of other trips that I’ve taken, and I noticed that my experiences were similar to Mark and Melissa’s experiences.

  • Three Weeks in Argentina – I used to work at a university and had accumulated a lot of vacation time. As a result, I decided to study Spanish for three weeks in Argentina. That trip was a wonderful break from my regular work life. I partied, ate a ton of Argentine beef at different asados (BBQs) met terrific people, traveled to Iguazu Falls, and lived my “best life” for three weeks in a foreign country. That was the time that I had that year, and I would never change that experience.
  • Three Weeks Studying in France – When the opportunity presented itself I decided to take a French course in Amiens, France. Again, it was the right time for that trip. Again, I increased my cultural competency, met amazing people, and even got to explore Jules Vern’s house (he wrote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) and crept around in the hidden room that he had installed in his house.
  • Two Months in Australia and Hawaii – Similar to Melissa and her husband, a job change gave me the opportunity to go “Down Under.” I’d always wanted to visit Australia and Hawaii, but there was no way in hell that I was going to go for just two weeks. My career change presented the chance to visit for as long as I wanted to, and I decided to go for two months. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m glad that I recognized that was my “now” moment to travel to Australia.
  • Six Months in Paris – If you’re a Francophile then you must watch the movie “Sabrina” specifically the version starring Audrey Hepburn. There is a moment in the movie when she reflects that “I went for long walks and I met myself in Paris.” I, too, met myself in Paris and I took a lot of long walks around the city. Incredibly, I was about to spend six months in Paris spending a measly $4,000 for everything including studying at the Sorbonne. I even found a job with housing and am amazed at how I was able to make that trip happen in the way that it did.

For each one of these trips, I would have an inexplicable urge to travel. In fact, it felt like I was consumed by the idea. Each time I decide that “now” was the time for me to travel and explore the world that urge became my #1 focus until I was able to complete my mission.

If you’ve been on the fence about traveling abroad because of money, age, or family hopefully the examples shared gave you some encouragement and inspiration on how to travel the world. If you keep daydreaming at work about going somewhere new, meeting interesting people, and experiencing different cultures, stop dreaming. Take action, create a plan, and embrace the world that awaits you.

“Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted.” Unknown

Now is the best time to travel the world. There is never a perfect moment to explore the unknown. Travelers embrace that risk and let the chips fall where they may. Remember that the world begins right at your doorstep.

Start small.

If you’re American, you live in an enormous country made up of 50 very different states. And, each state has its own energy, regional foods, weather, and people. You could spend the rest of your life just exploring the United States, and you don’t need a passport to do it. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few suggestions:

  • Go sand boarding in Southern Colorado at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Home of the largest dunes in the United States.
  • Visit Yellowstone National Park one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Just make sure that you avoid falling into one of the park’s boiling hot springs-you’ll die. Instead, enjoy watching the buffalo run across the prairie and watching Old Faithful shoot into the sky.
  • Wander around the French Quarter in New Orleans stepping into dark jazz clubs filled with the energy of years gone by.
  • Dance the night away in Miami after a day relaxing at the beach sipping on a refreshing drink.
  • Drive down the Pacific Coast Highway in California and experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Pacific Ocean as the sunsets.
  • Sample wines in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Yes, New York does have a wine region and it’s beautiful.
  • Eat your way through Portland, Oregon. Home of some of the best food in the United States.
  • Gaze silently at columns hanging in the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and meditate on the tragedy that this memorial commemorates.

Now is the time to travel the world and you can begin seeking out new places one low-cost airfare at a time. So I ask, what are you waiting for? The world is out there. Visit your relatives if they’re not crazy, take a road trip with your best friends, or take the train across the United States.

Couch surf your way to savings, become a house sitter or pet sit someone’s fur baby in exchange for free room and board. Pick up extra shifts at work, find a side-hustle, and ask around to see if someone has mileage points that they won’t be using that you could use. My mom had a fight benefit that I was able to use to fly to London for a $100 round trip. She didn’t work for the airline that long, but it was long enough for me to get a cheap ticket to London.

Eat, Pray, Love your way to self-realization in New York’s Little Italy. Become better connected with your “Wild” self as you hike the Pacific Crest Trail or a trail similar to it that happens to be in your state. Instead of being dreaming about your secret life like Walter Mitty, go out and live your life in technicolor.

Go before it’s too late.

Don’t let your dreams fade as you deal with the boring daily tasks of living your adult life. Now is the time to go because crazy stuff always happens. Countries change leaders, your family has a financial emergency, and then the possibility of travel may slip away.

Don’t let that happen.

Paying bills, going to work, and focusing on your responsibilities will never end. Fortunately, you can be an adult and live your best life. Remember, you’ll only be as young as you are today…today. Dream big, save your money, sell your shit, save your money, and go.

Have some good travel tips? What interesting places have you visited? Let us know in the adultingHALP Facebook community

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Ready for a break? January might be the best time for you to book your next flight. Read More...

Already tired of the cold? Feeling like the holidays didn’t give you a real vacation?

Well, there’s a remedy for that. Plan your next vacation. Even better, actually travel during the month of January. According to research from different sources, January 2018 is supposed to offer the cheapest flights of 2018.

Cheapest flights in January.

According to travel search engine Skyscanner, January is expected to be your best bet if you want to book the cheapest flights for 2018. According to the website, you can find domestic flights for 16% cheaper than the yearly average. International flights can cost up to 36% less. (Planning to travel overseas? Check out our guide to Global Entry.)

By the time we get to March, though, there’s a good chance that the savings will evaporate. So, even if you aren’t planning to go anywhere in the next few weeks, now is still probably a good time to book your travel for later in the year. I already know that I’ll be flying a little later, and I’ve found some pretty good deals already.

So, if you hope to land a good deal, what can you do?

National Shop For Travel Day.

The Travel Tech Association is pushing for a National Shop for Travel Day, which will fall on January 9, 2018. Going forward, the Association hopes to hold this day on the second Tuesday of January.

The idea is that many outlets will be offering killer deals on travel. So, you might be able to find amazing trip deals on your next vacation. I assume the powers that be picked a Tuesday because, according to research, that day of the week (and Wednesday) is one of the least expensive when it comes to finding the cheapest flights.

Buy 54 days before the scheduled flight.

Now, it is possible to find last-minute deals on flights — if you aren’t too picky about the times involved. According to a study by CheapAir.com last year, you can save money by purchasing your flight 54 days ahead of its scheduled departure. Of course, this is just an average, and the situation tends to fluctuate based on time of year.

However, if you are looking to travel in early March, it might be just the thing to book your travel in January to find the cheapest flights. I’m getting ready to do a little spring break travel with my son, and I’m deciding between driving and flying. If I can find a great deal in the next couple of weeks, it might be worth it to fly and then rent a car.

CheapAir.com did provide a handy guide to figuring out your best chance for cheap flights, depending on the time of year:

If you buy anytime between 21 and 105 days in advance, you have a pretty decent chance of finding good prices. I found it interesting that booking more than six months out means higher prices. “First dibs” apparently doesn’t provide you with the best deals.

Of course, there is no magic formula that will get you the best deal every time. When you book, the days you travel, and whether you go off-peak all matter. So you need to employ strategies that allow you the best chance of finding the cheapest flights.

Set airfare alerts.

You don’t have to keep going back to search for airfare day after day. It’s possible to set airfare alerts. Many travel aggregators allow you to set airfare alerts when prices drop. You can figure out a route (or if you’re flexible, a few) and then receive notifications right to your email inbox.

Another way to use alerts is to follow the #airfare hashtag on Twitter. A lot of the time you see sales and super cheap rates that exist for a few hours before disappearing.

You can also bookmark a few of your favorite websites and check regularly to find deals.

It’s important to be flexible since many of the best deals are between specific locations. I almost never get access to amazing deals from my hometown of Idaho Falls. However, if I’m willing to drive to Salt Lake City, I can usually find some pretty decent savings on my airfare.

Fly when nobody wants to.

This was touched on a little bit earlier, but it’s worth repeating. If you want the cheapest flights, you need to fly when no one else wants to. I was able to get one-way tickets to Philadelphia during the holidays at a discount of $200 apiece by taking an overnight flight. It wasn’t super fun, but it did save me $400.

On the return trip (from Albany, NY), my son and I left on a 6:10 a.m. flight. On New Year’s Eve. Also not a lot of fun. However, flights for New Year’s Day at a more reasonable time cost $300 more per ticket. That’s a big swing in price. Overall, by flying at shitty times no one else wanted, I managed to save $1,000 on air travel for my son and me.

Use your rewards and loyalty programs.

Join a frequent flyer program connected to a major credit card rewards program and watch the miles add up. I was able to get some decent discounts on my holiday travel, so I didn’t use my rewards points.

Earlier in the year, though, when my son and I traveled during the summer, I used airline miles to get free flights. It was the perfect way to save money on airfare without the need to alter my regularly budgeted spending.

I like to boost my total rewards by shopping for airfare online using Swagbucks in concert with other programs.

For example, I am part of the Delta SkyMiles program, and I have a branded credit card for that program from American Express. I also get Orbitz rewards and Swagbucks gives me extra back when I shop through Orbitz, thanks to the browser plugin I have. By booking a Delta flight on Orbitz using my AmEx credit card, I get extra points for my flight cost, plus I get rewards with Swagbucks and Orbitz. It’s like quadrupling up.

Later, I can use the rewards to book free flights. (I use a similar strategy when I book a hotel.)

Saving once you get to your destination.

Of course, the cheapest flights can save you money so you can spend more when you get to your destination. But if you want to save, you can look for ways to spend less.

Websites like Airbnb (interestingly, Airbnb is a Delta partner, so that helps me when I’m stacking rewards) and VBRO allow you to get great prices on lodging — especially if you are looking for a more long-term stay.

If you stay long-term, it can be a good idea to do some grocery shopping. When my son and I were traveling across Canada a couple summers ago, we often went to a local grocery store to buy items to do our own cooking. It was healthier and it saved us money since we weren’t always eating out.

You can also find good deals on rental cars with companies like Enterprise and Hertz.

I also find it helpful to look up Groupons for the destination city so that I can get discounts on activities. Often, I find two-for-one deals that are perfect for my son and me. CityPass is another great way to see the sites for one low price.

As you figure out little tips to save money on the cheapest flights and on things to do when you get to your destination, you might discover that you can travel much cheaper than you thought — whether you plan your trip in January or wait until another month.

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Get out of town. Have a great time. And do it without breaking the bank. Read More...

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

You know you want to travel. But you also need to be on a budget. Today, we talk to Whitney Hansen about how she does the travel while budgeting thing. We look at tips you can use to save money on travel. We even take a look at how you can do it with kids.

Just because you don’t have a ton of money doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy seeing new things. Here’s how to get out of town no matter how much (or little) you have.



Watch the video above or listen to the audio podcast below.

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

Like what you’ve heard?

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

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:


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.

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 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. For some airlines, though, you might need to re-enter your known traveler number when you check-in for your flight if you want that Pre-Check symbol.

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. Read More...

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.


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.


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.



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. Read More...

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.

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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.


  • 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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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. Read More...

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. Read More...

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.


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.


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. Read More...

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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