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Airport

Airports, Passport, Travel

Why I Got Global Entry

October 7, 2015

Why I Got Global Entry

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Before I moved abroad, it would have never occurred to me to get Global Entry. I couldn’t afford to travel and the $100 fee was too much for me to consider, since I had only traveled outside the country three times in the last five years (all to the same place!) So it didn’t occur to me at first to get it. It was at the urging of my Mom that I decided to get it.

The appeal wasn’t just the promise of short lines a U.S. Immigration and Customs, but also the ability to save passport pages. You may not think this is a big deal if you only travel overseas once a year, but when you live in another country, the entry and visa stamps add up fast. Every time I was coming back to the U.S., I was getting two stamps. Fortunately, Qatar has a similar system called e-gate and I wasn’t getting stamps in Qatar. Since I have moved to Qatar, I have been on 12 trips to other countries and I have been back to the U.S. four times. Plus, my residence permit takes up a whole page in my passport. My passport was rapidly filling up. This alone was reason enough for me to get Global Entry. I am saving pages in my passport! Of course, now I have the passport with extra pages already built it.

Of course, the faster entry into the U.S. is also helpful. The line in Dallas, where I normally fly into, isn’t too bad because they have installed electronic immigration stations for U.S. citizens. Where it is nice, is waiting to clear customs as you have your own line. I haven’t gotten to test the TSA Pre-Check feature because your airline has to participate and Qatar Airways does not. The TSA Pre-Check security gate is also nowhere near the Qatar Airways check-in counters at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and I am not walking down to another line for it since I am Gold with Qatar Airways and usually get to go through the First/Business security line.

Should you get Global Entry? If you travel internationally at least once a year, every year for the five years the membership is good for, I say yes. Some other travel experts disagree saying that if you check a bag then you are stuck waiting for the bag but do still have to go through customs. Having Global Entry could save you time there. As I mentioned, you still save all those U.S. stamps in your passport and that is worth a lot if your passport is low on pages and not expiring any time soon. Ultimately, you have to weigh the costs and benefits for yourself. The application is long and you will have to wait a few months to get an appointment, but then it is very easy to use.

Do you have Global Entry? What do you think?

Airports, India, Travel

5 Things About the Goa Airport You Should Know

October 5, 2015

Five things about the Goa Airport1. No photos – As I was landing, they made several announcements, and one was not to take photos of the Goa International Airport. This is because the India military also operates out of the airport and am I sure they don’t want you selling photos of the airport to anyone!

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2.You get doused with insecticide – Ok, so they don’t just do this in Goa, but I have been told they do it in all India airports. Along with the same announcement they made about the photos, I had about 30 seconds to cover my mouth and nose in order to prevent myself from inhaling tons of insecticide. While many of us probably don’t want to go through this, you don’t have a choice when going to India. I was concerned it would bother my asthma, but it didn’t. Oh, and they spray you again when you leave!

3. Print your booking confirmation or have your tickets before you get to the Goa Airport – They were checking everyone’s booking and tickets before they let you enter the airport, which, of course, I didn’t have. They did have the Qatar Airways’ manifest, but it would have been faster (at 2 am) to have it on hand. I am assuming this is due to it being a military airport.

4. No ATM! – I quickly discovered that there is no ATM in the arrivals area. While the hotel was picking me up, I had no rupees at all and felt uneasy about not having any money.

5. Stamps, Stamps and More Stamps – As I was leaving, I realized they like to stamp everything. There was the normal stamping of your passport, but the agent at check-in kept telling me to make sure to get my carry-on baggage tags stamped. I had no idea what that was all about, but I soon learned. After your bags clear security, they stamp the baggage tags and your boarding pass. You need have your boarding pass and passport while going through security and not in your carry on, like me. They then stamp your boarding pass. At some other point, they stamped my boarding pass again, but I was so tired I can’t remember when or where.

Travel

Qatar or bust!

August 6, 2013

20130806-140048.jpg All my bags!

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I am now sitting in the Admirals Club at DFW waiting for my flight. I was able to get all my stuff in 5 checked bags and one carry-on. It’s a small miracle. None of my suitcases were anywhere the weight limit so I added books to the bags this morning! As soon as I get internet in Qatar, I will post pictures of my apartment.