Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm ALWAYS traveling. All those close to me will tell you that I'm as frugal as they come. But, my adulting advice to you is:
GET GLOBAL ENTRY!
Story Time: In August 2018, my friend, boyfriend and I traveled to Costa Rica. (I highly recommend and will blog about it later!). Our 6 day trip almost became a 7 day trip, against our will.
Our flight home from Costa Rica had an 90 min layover in Atlanta. I had Global Entry so I bid my friends adieu, and sashayed through US Customs in less than 10 minutes. My travel partners were not so lucky.
My travel partners did not have Global Entry. One of them had TSA pre-check but that means nothing when you're coming into the country. 88 minutes later my travel partners are running through security and all 3 of us are sprinting to the gate. We made our flight but burned a lot of calories in the process. Moral of the story: This all would have been avoided for $20/year.
Global Entry is only $100 for a 5 year membership. This membership includes TSA pre-check and expedited/priority for International Customs. Plus, you get a cute Global Entry ID card that makes me feel pretty official. TSA precheck is preferred by most who only travel domestically but let's look at the cost difference.
TSA Precheck - $85 - 5 year membership
Global Entry - $100 - 5 year membership
Splurge the extra $15 and travel with ease. I've minimized my time at the airport thanks to my pre-check and my time is worth more than $20/year. I promise you won't regret it!
Heads' up: You have to interview for Global Entry. Interview slots could be available as early as the day after you apply or as late as a year after you apply. So, if you're even on the fence, do it and do it now! But, have realistic timeline expectations. You probably won't be official the day after you click submit :)
Good luck "Adulting", happy travels, and you're welcome!