Should I Get TSA Precheck or Global Entry?

Our family travels by air a lot. My husband isn't a big fan of driving anywhere so we generally fly. About three years ago, after long security lines at the airport and a few frustrating travel experiences, we decided to look into TSA Precheck. There are several different trusted traveler programs that include TSA Precheck, we ended up settling on the one we felt like gave us the most bang for our buck and we haven't looked back since. I have already told you if I think TSA Precheck is worth the money in this post. Long story short, I think it is, but you should read the post and see for yourself.
The next question I get once people decide on TSA Precheck is, should I look into a program that offers TSA Precheck or should I get Global Entry? I'm sharing how we decided to get the trusted traveler program that we did. Ask every single person in our family and they would agree it's one of the best things we've done. Hopefully, you can make the decision that is right for you after reading this.
travel in airport

Should You Get TSA Precheck or Global Entry?

kid running through the airport

If you travel by plane at least a few times a year, I absolutely think that getting into a trusted traveler program like TSA Precheck is worth it. If you travel internationally at least once every other year, hands down, I think that a program that includes Global Entry is worth it. Read on.

What is the difference between TSA Precheck and Global Entry?

TSA Precheck allows you to have an expedited security screening since you already are, prechecked, hence the name. TSA precheck only offers flight benefits when departing from U.S. airports. With TSA precheck you don't have to remove your shoes through security. You can also keep your liquids and laptop in your carry on bag and you can usually keep on light jackets and your belt.

Global Entry provides the TSA precheck benefit as well as expedited customs screening for international travelers entering the United States. You don't have to complete any paper declaration forms when using Global Entry and you have a kiosk that allows you to quickly proceed through immigration, customs and agricultural processing. 

How long does TSA Precheck and Global Entry Membership last?

Both TSA precheck and global entry have a 5-year membership. 
TSA Precheck costs $85 and Global Entry costs $100

Why we chose NEXUS instead

NEXUS is a joint Canada Border and U.S. Customs Border program.  Like with all trusted traveler programs it's for low-risk, pre-approved travelers. The application process is similar to the other programs but NEXUS is free for children under 18, and at the time, we had three of them. 

What does NEXUS include?

NEXUS includes TSA PreCheck as well as Global Entry

The fee for NEXUS is $50 and did I mention that children under 18 are free for enrollment? You do have to have both parents present during their interview. 

trusted traveler program to avoid long lines at the airport.

Should I get NEXUS?

No. Not everyone should get NEXUS. We happen to live close enough to the Canadian border so we had NEXUS offices nearby. If you live near the northern border, look to see if there are enrollment offices near you. 

For us, NEXUS was more cost-effective, especially for the whole family. Our whole family got TSA Precheck AND Global Entry as part of the NEXUS program for 5 years for $100. If our family of five had gotten TSA PreCheck only, it would have cost us $425. If our family of five got Global Entry, it would have set us back $500. With NEXUS we get all the benefits for a fraction of the cost.

Would we get NEXUS again?

The NEXUS enrollment center that we signed up at a few years ago was only a 25-minute drive away from our home. It's since closed and the closest enrollment office is a few hours away now. When our NEXUS expires in a few years, the renewal process requires an online application and no in-office interview like it did when we signed up.

I would absolutely get NEXUS again. I'd even drive hours and plan an overnight visit to my local enrollment office for the interview since it saved our family so much money to be a part of this program versus another program. 

However, if you aren't close to a state that offers an enrollment center, I'd consider getting Global Entry. For only $15 more than the TSA Precheck program, even one International flight in those five years would make it worth it for me.

Until you get TSA Precheck, here are some tips to help you get through the TSA lines more quickly.

Customs lines can be long and if you have a connecting flight the peace of mind is worth it. What do you think? Do you have a trusted traveler program you love? Why? I'd love to hear about it.

disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!

1 comment

24/7 MOMS said...

Sentri is similar to Nexus for the Mexican border. We had that first before returning to Washington. Also if you are planning to cross with vehicles. Sentry requires your cars to be approved and ONLY those with Sentri can cross in that car at a Sentri crossing

Powered by Blogger.