OPEN LETTER TO OUR CUSTOMERS ABOUT RIVERDALE ACQUISITION

Dear Valued Customer,

With Schilling Travel’s 100th anniversary just a few short years away, today marks the beginning of yet another exciting new chapter not only for us, but also for you, our customers.

Schilling Travel is acquiring Coon Rapids-based Riverdale Travel, which has made a name for itself as one of the Twin Cities’ top leisure travel agencies. Schilling Travel and Riverdale Travel share a vision that we can better assist you and other Minnesotans to “travel right” by coming together. With over $20 million in annual sales volume, our two agencies have a combined total of 128 years of serving Minnesota’s leisure and corporate travelers.

Our success is thanks in large part to your patronage, along with the expertise of our agents you have known and trusted. Words cannot adequately convey just how grateful we have been to serve you.

In fact, after Schilling’s 94 incredible years in business, I have never been more bullish on the future of our business, which is founded on our ability to help you to “travel right” by enhancing each travel experience through our insider knowledge and expertise. Because of our ongoing desire to further increase the value proposition and personalized service we offer you, I recognized the best path forward is to join hands with one of the area’s most respected, visionary travel agencies that is also seeking growth. We have found exactly the right partner in Riverdale Travel, Sandy Anderson and her exceptional team.

At this point, nothing is materially changing. Each agency will continue operating under their distinct names. Yet, our experienced travel professionals will have access to greater resources to better serve your needs. Additionally, Sandy Anderson will serve as the President of the combined operations and Brenda Nobbe will become Vice President. As for me, I will serve as Managing Partner for Allied Continental Holdings, which will serve as our umbrella organization to ultimately acquire other agencies to make us even stronger and a true force in travel. I have also signed a partnership agreement with Amy Ferreira, which makes her a non-operating partner in Allied Continental Holdings.

While travelers today are availing themselves of countless sources of information, from online travel and review sites to social media, you are among the savviest of travelers in recognizing the enormous value we offer by knowing the ins and outs of travel.  You recognize that our agents are the ultimate social influencers who can show you how to “travel right” based upon their own personal experiences.

As we progress toward Schilling Travel’s 100th anniversary, this new chapter will help to build momentum for our celebration. With that in mind, my hope is that you are as thrilled by this exciting direction we are taking and the increased travel opportunities that will come your way. Thank you once again for being among our most prized customers. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Best regards,

Robert Herman

 

Distinctive Voyages — From Schilling Travel

Schilling Travel has been delivering unique experiences to our leisure clients for more than 90 years. We try to list some of the standard ones here, however we can put together any independent travel that you might want to do. All of the trips we have preplanned can be modified to meet your needs, or you can use these trips as a starting point for planning your own trip. If you do not have the time to plan, these preplanned trips might be just the ticket you need to get out of town and experience a wonderful vacation.

One of the programs we offer is called “Distinctive Voyages.” These preplanned trips offer added value you will not find from the online travel vendors.  We have listed some of them in the standard section of our leisure travel web site. In this blog article, we are offering a bit more information and more destinations. *See below for additonal information. These trips offer a knowledgeable expert as a cruise guide, a private cocktail reception, and an exclusive land event, not offered to other travelers.

Regent Seven Seas

Regent is a cruise line with mid size ships and top level service. Unlike many cruise lines, you will find that almost everything is included in the price you pay, leaving sticker shock on departure day behind. Regent offers dozens of 7-46 night trips with a host, cocktail party, and shore event in all areas of the world.

Cunard

Cunard has been offering exceptional service for 175 years. Cunard offers  ten 13-14 night sailings with a host, party, and land event, or car and private driver.

Holland America

Holland America asks you to Savor the Journey with exceptional service, food and wine.Holland America  offers  a dozen 7 to 113 nights with a host, party, and land event, or car and private driver. The longer cruises are world cruises.

Crystal

Crystal has two of the highest rated individual ships in the world. Crystal has many 7-24 night sailings with a host, party, and land event in the Caribbean, Alaska, Asia, South America and Europe.

Azamara

Azamara combines warmth and sophistication with authentic experiences of local life on shore. Azamara has cruises from 7-14 days in Europe, Caribbean and Central America.

Ask us to send you our current brochure with all of these offers. Call us at 612-332-1100 or email us at info@schillingtravel.com .

Celebrity

My wife and I have hosted 3 cruises on Celebrity. Celebrity has impeccable service, wonderful shows and great food. Coming in 2019 is the Celebrity Edge which has a moving “Magic Carpet” lounge that can serve as the tender dock in the morning, mid ship restaurant at noon, and a topside lounge and restaurant at night.

Check out our website for some of the upcoming distinctive voyages. We only publish a few of them and there are hundreds of them each year.

Why Should You Use a Travel Agent?

As a travel agency owner, I can understand that you may think of me as biased, but I truly believe that using a travel agency for your travel makes a lot of sense. Let me tell you why.

The top reasons are we can save you time and money. Anyone who has researched a vacation online can tell you it takes a lot of time and there is always some conflicting information. Take Travel Advisors website, for example: You find a hotel. There are glowing reviews from some. And others tell you it was the worst experience of their lives. Or perhaps you think you are on a website, and give out your credit card information to a spoofed website only looking like one you trust. Or you book with one of the online travel agencies only to find that they have little to no customer service upon your check in when you encounter problems.

We are here to match you to the perfect vacation. One that truly renews your spirit. It is not all one size fits all. We love to talk travel and we have extensive knowledge of the spots that most travelers want to visit. We know the times to visit, when the prices might likely be lower, what promotions are taking place, and even things like fitting you into the most appropriate room in a resort or cabin on a ship. It’s not just about the destination, resort, or cruise ship. That low price you found on a cruise? Perhaps that was an inside room in a very old ship. That $99 per person vacation for a week at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica? Its likely a scam or a bait and switch situation or perhaps you have to endure a high pressure sales presentation on timeshares.

No one likes to talk about this, but things do go wrong with travel. It might be a snowstorm, hurricane, plane delay, baggage theft, or whatever. If you purchase on your own through a website, you usually have no one to fall back on to assist you, other than some web pages and a horribly long calling tree. Before I owned a travel agency, I used one of the large online agencies. On arrival at Kennedy airport, there was no limo. Our plane was late by several hours and my wife and I spent more than an hour on hold, she with the limo company, and I with the online travel agency. Your travel agent will go the extra mile for you and change plane reservations. Contact the general manager at the resort and rectify a room problem, or alert you to a rerouting on an airline that was delayed because of weather somewhere. That is part of the service we do.

Travel agents spend time trying the same travel products that you are considering. Yes, I know it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! Recently, I traveled to the Caribbean leading a group. But I also checked out the hurricane devastation on the island of St. Maarten and Antigua. This is the fourth time I have done that for hurricane damage over the more recent years. I have been in the TSA lines during a holiday, and traveled to places like Morocco and Turkey recently. An individual agent cannot be everywhere, but we seek out comments from our clients and with our other fellow agents, we can cover much of the traveling world.

Do you know the best place on a cruise ship for your cabin? The cabin position we would recommend is based on your individual needs. Do you know how best to handle purchases in a foreign country? Whether your laptop can be taken on a flight? Can your cell phone be used in the country? What customs will allow in purchases for travelers returning to the US? What are some of the best locations for golf, SCUBA, or tennis? Your travel agent knows or will work to get you the answer.

All of us look forward to serving you and helping you get the most for your travel dollar. Call us a 612-332-1100 or email us at inquiry@schillingtravel.com

Hurricane damaged Caribbean Update – Spring 2018

Sailing out of Phillipsburg, St. Maarten March 2018

My wife and I led a group of 150 travelers to the Caribbean in March on the Celebrity Reflection. We stopped in Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia and St. Maarten. We wanted to give you a short update on what we found. There is always confusion about the Caribbean and hurricanes. The media will tell you when they hit and will show the damage, but sometimes the viewer is left with the impression that everything is destroyed. This is never the case with the Caribbean. First of all the region is very large and while hurricanes are large as well, they never cover the whole Caribbean. Secondly, the damage inflicted varies by the strength of the storm  and the water damage. So for our 4 ports, the islands of Barbados and St. Lucia were spared the severe wrath of both hurricane Irma and Maria. Even though Barbados has not had a hurricane since 1955, the tourism fell off for this season because people thought there was damage here. I can personally report that all of the tours, restaurants and shops on both St. Lucia and Barbados are running normally as they would during the tourist season.

Antigua was hit with fairly high winds from Irma but the resilient people were able to put their island back in shape in a very short time. Their sister island Barbuda was not so lucky. The full brunt of Irma hit Barbuda, and it devastated that island. The people have been temporarily relocated to Antigua until Barbuda is habitable again. For the cruise tourists, the activities on Antigua as well as the shops and restaurants for the most part are completely open.

Of the four ports, the island of St. Maarten/Ste. Martin is the one that sustained the most damage and is still working on recovery of the island’s infrastructure, buildings and tourist offerings. One of my favorite tours, the America’s Cup sailing race has had to be relocated to Cozumel for the season. Other tours were working. We took a wonderful tour of the western side of the island on a catamaran. It was missing its mast, but the boat could still navigate under engine power and we were able to visit Maho Beach and view the planes coming in for a landing. And we motored past Maho village and beach to the French side.

In Phillipsburg, we were able to find many restaurants and shops that were open. Based on our estimate, about 50% of the buildings were occupied and running. Some of those had damaged roofs but were still able to run as businesses. We had a wonderful lunch at the Holland House Hotel, right on the beach. We could see that many rooms were still under renovation, but both the Horizon and Holland House were accepting reservations. Most of the larger resorts were closed still and undergoing major renovations.

The people of the Caribbean are resilient. This is not their first hurricane season!. It will not be their last. But they have a strong spirit and will rebuild when needed so that they can continue to operate in their island paradise. We were thanked time and time again for coming back so soon after the hurricanes. They desperately need the money as tourism is the number one source of foreign funds for these countries. So, as cruisers, do come back, and spend some money! For the landlubbers who wish to stay at resorts, check with your travel agent for the condition of your hotel you wish to stay at.

After the Wedding … Picking the Ultimate Honeymoon

After the wedding activities and all of the events leading up to the big day, it’s now time for the two of you to relax and spend time together as you begin your new life. Picking the ultimate Honeymoon is more art than science. And it is important that the two of you understand the wants and needs of each as individuals. So the first thing to do is talk about what you want to do on your honeymoon. Do you want to relax on the beach? Spend time in the room getting to know each other? Go sightseeing? Take on extreme adventures? You both may want to do different things. It is our job as travel agents to ask these questions and come up with a honeymoon plan that will meet the needs of both of you.

When we begin discussions, we also ask what is the budget?, how many nights?, and preferences for the type of honeymoon. And the options are as varied as the couples who come to us. You can go on a cruise, stay at an all-inclusive resort, go camping in the wilderness, take a driving vacation, stay in low priced hotels or go all out and stay in five star or even six star properties. Its all about the both of you and what you can afford in time and money.

Some couples take a short honeymoon in Vegas. Others go for a three week trip to Southeast Asia and stay at high end properties. Our most popular destinations are Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Here are some ideas for the Ultimate Honeymoon, based on the input we have had from couples who we have created honeymoons for…

  • Stay at the increasingly popular island of Antigua at an adults only all-inclusive resort like Galley Bay, or a boutique hotel like Blue Waters.
  • Visit the legendary Raffles Hotel in Singapore where the service is legendary, and is where the Singapore Sling cocktail started. And sample the amazing cuisine from this region.
  • Visit the romantic island of St. Lucia and stay at the spectacular Ladera or the Capella Marigot Bay. And don’t miss the world’s only volcano you can drive through.
  • Stay at Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the Caribbean. It will cost a lot to rent the whole island for the two of you, but if you do, you will have a one of a kind ultimate honeymoon. Necker was heavily damaged by hurricane and is being rebuilt to accommodate guests by October 2018.
  • Visit the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. These islands are just a stones throw from Venezuela and are perfect for active honeymooners and those who would go during the peak hurricane season of July to November as they lie below the path of hurricanes. Colorful Curacao is my favorite place of these three.
  • Take in a safari in South Africa’s Sabi Sands at Dulini River Lodge, or Richard Branson’s Ulusaba resort. Both offer luxury accommodations with your own private pool. There are other lodges in Sabi, and other private reserves adjacent to the Kruger Park. And other countries like Tanzania and Botswana to see the big five. Perhaps adding gorilla trekking in Uganda.
  • Visit Phuket Island in Thailand and stay at the Banyan Tree Phuket in one of their suites with a private pool. They even have one that has TWO private pools. Ride an elephant here.
  • One more recommendation with a private pool is The Plein Soliel in Martinique in the Caribbean. So very French. So very romantic.C’est magnifique.
  • Visit Caribbean’s St. Kitts. Not easy to get to, but worth the travel to one of the most unique romantic Caribbean Islands.The new Park Hyatt is a great place to stay.
  • It will cost you, but romantic St. Barth’s is the place where the worlds movers and shakers go to relax and get away from everything. There are not a lot of resorts here on this French Caribbean island, but they are some of the best you can find anywhere.  We suggest Le Village and Les Ilets de la Plage.
  • Rent a villa with a private pool, and cook in Jamaica, Italy, Greece, or any one of a hundred other locations in the world. Most villas will only rent Saturday to Saturday for weekly blocks, but if off season and no reservation within 3 months, most villas will be flexible on dates. It is best to book these 12-18 months ahead of time.
  • Go for an eco-adventure and explore Costa Rica’s diverse landscapes in the rainforest, volcano region, or the Guanacaste beach region. Stay at the Laguna Lodge in Tortuguero and Hotel Magic Mountain in the Arenal district. The rooms are spartan by world standards, but the experiences are incredible.
  • Take a big island vacation to Jamaica, sample rum, Blue Mountain coffee, climb a waterfall and stay at legendary places like Half Moon, Sandals or Round Hill.
  • Take one of the small ship cruises to locations that the large ships cannot go. Examples include Windstar, and Star Clippers.

Think this is a long list? We have only gotten started! We could go on and on, but we’d rather spend the time focusing on your specific needs.

We have tons of ideas on a honeymoon location. Put us to work finding the right place for you. You will build a memory with your loved one that will last a lifetime.

The Villa Vacation — Is it Right for You?

Jamaican Villa

Many times people come into our offices in downtown Minneapolis and say, “What do you have for a one week stay in Hawaii?” or perhaps it is the Caribbean, Mexico, or some other place. As providers of travel, we know one size does not fit all, and sometimes the client “knows” exactly what they want. If they let us, we dig deeper. Why do you want to go to Hawaii? What kind of vacation are you looking for? Do you just want to relax on the beach or are you interested in hiking around a volcano? Do you want to de stress or do you want to pack as much adventure into your vacation? With these questions we might say that Hawaii is a great destination but there is even a better destination.

It is the same with accommodations. You can stay at a mega resort with more than a dozen restaurants, or you can stay at a small bed and breakfast. Or a small boutique hotel with impeccable service, or a private villa, with a staff.

This blog is all about the private villa. What is it? How to rent one, and how they compare to other accommodations.

First, a bit of a self disclosure. My parents built a villa in Jamaica in the 1970’s for their retirement home. They lived in it for 22 years. As they aged, they made their trips shorter and the villa was unoccupied longer.. They then began to rent it out. They contracted with a local property management company to handle the staff and rentals. Many of the other owners we’ve met over the years rented out their villas as well. And Schilling can obtain a villa for you to rent. I used to take groups to the villa and sometimes the groups were large enough to rent two villas. So I know the business from both sides.

Villas come in all shapes and sizes with different costs and amenities. Some villas come with a staff, others do not. Most in the Caribbean come with pools and staff and range from one to 10 bedrooms. If you have a big family reunion, you might find one of these villas to suit you better than a large resort, as you can all be together in your own private space. If there is a staff, they will handle the cleaning and the cooking. Villas may be part of a resort complex, or standing on their own. When traveling with a large group, the price of a villa vacation can be less than the price at a resort.

When renting a villa, one person should be designated the liaison with the agency. That person should gather the specific type of activities that each of the travelers want. Do they want to just relax on the beach or by the pool, or are they interested in activities such as golf, SCUBA diving, etc. Then one needs to know how many people and what the sleeping room makeup needs to be. Yes, people can have their own bedroom, but as in resorts, single occupancy of bedrooms will cost you more. You should also know what the budget is for the travelers. And of course, what dates your group will travel.

After you know the number of people, dates, sleeping accommodations, activities and budget, it’s time to contact an agent (hopefully us) who will help you find the right property for you. It helps to be flexible on the dates. Unlike resorts, there is only ONE booking (usually) per villa for a set of dates. If you have your heart set on a particular villa, and it is already rented for the week you want, you are out of luck. Fortunately, there are plenty of villas located throughout the vacation world, so you will find something suitable. However, in peak times, its best to reserve 9 months to a year ahead of time. Most villas rent Saturday to Saturday. If you are looking for less than a week, most villas will not rent months in advance on that schedule, but if they have an open week close to arrival, they may relent and rent for less than a week. Bu that is risky to do because if the villa rents the week you were planning, you have very little time to locate another property on the same dates.

Select a few options and go back to your travelers with pictures of the villas, their amenities and nearby activities. Be sure you check specifically on the “musts” on your list, as not all villas have the same amenities. If you want to be steps from the beach, or require high speed internet access, ask about these ahead of time. After you have made your selection, and placed a deposit, you have your reservation set and make your air travel and ground travel plans with the agent.

If you have a villa with a cook, you will want to communicate in advance with the villa rental management on specific food allergies, and preferred food and beverages. The villa will open up an account for your food and other items, which you will be responsible for paying. They will purchase the items in advance for you, so that you will have initial supplies. In most cases, you will be able to return those items you do not want for credit.  If you have other activities that you wish to do such as golf or tours, your agent or the villa staff can arrange for you. At peak times, we would recommend booking tours in advance of the trip so that you can get the tour you want on the day you want.

You will also want to consider transportation, depending upon where the villa is located. You can arrange for a rental car in most places or your can arrange a taxi or other transportation.

If you want to have a great relaxing vacation, away from the beach parties, and dance classes, you might just want to consider a villa as a travel destination.

Destination information:

This will depend upon where the villa is located, and we can assist you in getting from your home to the villa. We have access to some wonderful villas. We suggest that you keep your dates flexible as there is limited inventory. And most villas will not rent for less than one week.

Is it Safe to Travel to … ?

With the ongoing terrorist events each year, some of our clients are always asking, “Is it safe for me to travel to (insert destination here)? The broad answer is no place on earth is completely safe, including your own home. Terrorism and has been with us for centuries and will not be going away. My feeling is that if we stop doing the things we planned to do in our ordinary lives, then the terrorists win. This blog was written on December 8, 2015 and revised in late 2017. There will be other terrorist events in the future. That is a given. But let me give you a little perspective. Did you know that there are between 8000 and 13000 airplanes in the air on this day right now? They are all landing safely, or you would hear about the one that did not. Perhaps a few times in the year a plane crashes somewhere in the world, rarely but sometimes due to terrorism, so your chances of a safe flight are nearly 100% every time you fly. And your odds of being involved in any terrorism event are less than those who travel by air today.

In Paris, if you had been at the Bataclan when the shooting happened, there were more people who survived than were killed or wounded. And if you were in Paris at the time of all the attacks, there were 10.5 million people in Paris and the surrounding suburbs who were not attacked. If you asked me today, would I go to Las Vegas, Orlando, London, Paris or San Bernardino, I would say yes without hesitation and I would bring my family. I’d do it even if I were going there a day after the terrible event.

You might think those words coming from the owner of a travel agency are self serving. So let me give you one more piece of evidence that my views are not just because I am in travel. Before I owned a travel agency, and after the 9/11 event, I had to make a decision. Our family had purchased air and hotel in the summer for a trip to NYC for 2001 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. We had purchased tickets to the Rockettes Christmas show and Lion King. So we had to make a decision. Do we go to NYC on that trip? You might not recall this now, but there was talk of the terrorists doing something in NYC over Thanksgiving. We decided to go and I took the whole family with me, just 7 weeks after 9/11. Yes it was somber to see the damage and the memorials. But we still had a marvelous time and we were there supporting the businesses that were hurting due to the lack of travelers. As a traveler to NYC for decades, I saw a kinder, gentler NY. I am really glad we went. I took the family back to NYC in 2016 and the 9/11 memorial visit was more meaningful, due to our trip in 2001.

I have been traveling for more than 50 years. I had nearly 2 million miles on Northwest, and I have more than a million on Delta. My wife and I were in Greece and Turkey in 2015 during the financial and refugee crisis. Although we had taken extra money as a precaution, I never saw a line at an ATM the entire time I was there. I never saw a crowd of refugees, though I know they were there on islands we did not plan to visit. I will continue to travel but I will always be prepared with advance knowledge from the US State department. And I use common sense because besides the terrorists, you might encounter a scam artist or petty thief, and they are more likely to be your encounter than with a terrorist.

We recommend that anyone who wants to travel internationally, should review the travel comments on the US Department of State website for safety and security information. Being informed is the best defense. Go to this link for safety information by destination.

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html

We also recommend you enroll in the STEP program. See the details on the web link above.

As travel agency staff, we cannot fully answer the question of “Is it safe for you to travel?” All we can do is provide the most accurate, up to date information, and it is up to you to make an informed decision. And I hope you continue to travel.

TSA Precheck and Global Entry Programs

Travelers going through metal detection screening
Airport Security Screening

This is an update to the registration for TSA Precheck and Global Entry I originally published in 2014. Lines at the TSA security checkpoints can be long, especially at peak times. Although security protocols change from time to time, such as the ban on hover-boards and the Galaxy Note7, and more screening of laptops and tablets, as of this writing, you must still keep gels and  liquids in a 1 quart bag and no more than 3 oz (100ml) in each container in that bag. You must remove all jewelry, coats, belts and shoes and anything in your pockets before you go through the screening. This is a delay and hassle that frequent trusted travelers now have a way to avoid most of the time. “Most” means you still may get picked at random to be fully screened. If you are an international traveler, the Global Entry program allows you to scan your passport at a kiosk and bypass the manual immigration line.

There are two trusted traveler programs for air travel in the US. One is TSA Precheck and the other is Global Entry. Both are ways to reduce the hassle of traveling and both are described here. (There are surface travel programs for Canada and Mexico only, not described here.)

TSA Precheck operates at all major US airports and screening does not require you to take out your quart bag of liquids, or your laptop. You do not need to  remove belts, shoes, and light jackets. In the past, frequent fliers have been nominated by their airline for TSA Precheck, but as more enroll in the official program, some elite flyers are now being sent through normal screening and even more will be sent to normal screening if they do not register soon. For TSA Precheck registration, travelers need to apply online using this link: www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck and then pre-enroll. Then setup an appointment to visit one of the centers for an in person interview. As of this writing, there are five centers in Minnesota: MSP Airport, Bloomington, Mankato, Brooklyn Center, and St. Cloud. For an up to date listing and the hours, visit the link above. You must bring an original copy of a government issued identity and proof of US citizenship. An unexpired passport will fulfill this requirement as will an unexpired US drivers license and a certified copy of your birth certificate. There are other options listed at the TSA web site. Cost to enroll, at present time is $85 for a 5 year period.

Global Entry will allow international travelers to speed through the customs and immigration process. For Global Entry, travelers need to apply online starting with this link: www.cbp.gov/global-entry/how-to-apply and read the process and then enroll. After enrollment, you would make an appointment to visit one of the centers for an in person interview. The interview center in Minnesota is at the MSP Airport. The link above will give you all of the locations and specific addresses. Cost to enroll in the Global Entry program is $100 for five years. One advantage of Global Entry is that if you apply and are accepted for this program, you are automatically part of the TSA Precheck program. So if you plan to travel internationally, this is the program for you. You will receive a Global Entry card that can be used instead of a drivers license to board a domestic US plane. (You will still need your US passport to board a plane traveling internationally.)

Once you have been accepted and get your known traveler number, be sure that you give it to your travel agent when making reservations so that your boarding pass will indicate you are a trusted traveler. Like your frequent flier numbers, this can be put in your profile at your travel agency so you don’t have to give it out each time. One final note: Random checks are still performed on the trusted travelers. This means you might still be randomly selected to undergo the normal screening process even if enrolled in one of these programs.This has happened to me several times, so it is not rare.

These programs serve two benefits. One is less hassle for you when traveling. The second is it costs the government less to screen you. Unfortunately, this does not translate into a savings on your ticket, but it should help to keep costs down in general. As of December, 2017 we learned that the government may merge TSA Precheck and Global Entry. We will update this blog if that happens.

If you do get your Global Entry, you may apply for the U.K. Registered Traveler program which will give you similar screening benefits when traveling to the U.K. The details of this program can be found at www.gov.uk/registered-traveller .
The cost of this program is GBP 70, but it is only good for one year.

There are other programs, such as the CLEAR program which is currently limited to many of the larger US Airports, and not all of the terminals at an airport. For example, at MSP airport, only in Terminal 1. Cost is $179 per year although some elite flyers receive discounts. I might blog about this in the future.

Bottom line is I highly recommend that anyone doing multiple trips by air each year should consider getting TSA Precheck or Global Entry. This will save you time and hassle. If traveling domestically on a Minnesota drivers license for ID, please see my blog about Real ID.