Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

January 16, 2020

3 Travel "Firsts" I'm Excited For in 2020.

     I feel so lucky to already have several fun trips on the calendar for 2020 that I know I'll love creating blog content for, but my 2020 travels actually don't begin until next month! For the second year in a row, I'm staying put here in Virginia for the whole month of January, which I actually don't really mind. I feel like the first month of the year is a great time to reflect and reset, and the cold weather that this month usually brings makes me want to stay in on weekends and be a homebody! But I'm super excited for traveling to pick up starting in February.

     I'll be heading to both domestic and international destinations- one of them being my fingers are crossed that my mom and I will be all good with rescheduling our Spain trip for late spring! Anyways, with travel arrangements already being made for upcoming plans, I thought for today's post it would be fun to share three travel "firsts" that I'll be experience in the first half of 2020!

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     1. Flying internationally with Global Entry - If you're unfamiliar with Global Entry, it's similar to TSA Precheck (and getting GE actually includes this too!), but takes in a step above in that it allows you to expedite US Customs at the airport when arriving back from international flights. I had a super long Customs experience a few years ago when returning from studying abroad in France- nothing was wrong with me or my luggage, the lines were just so long that I had to wait a couple hours! And let me tell you, doing that while jet lagged from Europe wasn't super fun.
      Anyways, when my mom and I were originally planning to go to Spain in November 2019, I knew that I wanted Global Entry for the trip. Those of you that follow me on Instagram Stories know that I made a mad dash through downtown DC in October to try to score a walk-in appointment at the Global Entry headquarters in the Ronald Reagan building. I amazingly was able to get the walk-in and I had everything approved... but then my mom and I's trip to Spain had to be cancelled/postponed, so I never ended up using it in 2019.
     So excited that in 2020 I should have at least two chances to use my Global Entry! My mom and I are trying to reschedule Spain for the spring, and before that either way I'll be headed on a different international trip with my dad to somewhere sunny. I'm so excited to see how much easier this will make the process of re-entering the US now that I have GE. I'm planning to do a full blog post on this and if it's worth it once I've had the chance to use it.

     2. Flying on Southwest - For the past several years, I've flown about 4-6 times a year. So not a ton of flights, but a decent amount! Amazingly though, I have never had the opportunity to fly on popular fan favorite airline Southwest. Southwest didn't start offering flights from my home airport in Maine until after I'd moved out-of-state, and the other airports that I've lived nearby in college and adulthood either have had limited Southwest routes or none at all. I have heard only wonderful things about this airline though from travel-loving friends! I am very intrigued by the fact that they are the only ones that still give you free checked bags... goodness, these days some of the other airlines don't even let you have free carry-ons!
     Anyways, I was able to find a direct Southwest flight into Richmond for the return leg of a spring weekend trip. I'm so interested to see what my thoughts will be on flying with them! If you're a big Southwest fan, share all your tips with me please! I have heard they do some things differently (like the boarding process).

     3. Staying in an AirBnb - Crazy to admit I'm a millennial who has never done this yet, right?! But it's true! For the past few years, a lot of my travels have been to visit and stay with friends, so naturally I would just stay at their place when it's the point of the trip. And for trips where I do have to find lodging, I generally prefer hotels so that I can accumulate rewards points for the stays! And in general I like a lot of the amenities that come standard with hotels. But after hearing friends rave about AirBnb for years, now I finally decided to try it out! I'll be using AirBnb for my lodging on the same trip this spring that I'll be flying Southwest for. I got an incredible deal, and it ended up being so much cheaper than a nearby hotel would've been.

     These are the three travel firsts that I have coming up in the first half of 2020! Do you have any new-to-you travel experiences on the way? I'd love to hear!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese


  1. I am a Southwest junkie-- it's the only airline I will fly if I can help it! Make sure to check in 24 hours in advance, literally the minute you can. They determine the boarding process based on your check-in time. Make sure to pack enough snacks/drinks, entertainment, and blankets for the flight because Southwest only provides small snacks. Also, download the Southwest app on your phone because they have some free entertainment options on it.

  2. You will love southwest! Just make sure to check in 24 hours before (to the minute) to make sure you get a good boarding position! :)

  3. This is so exciting! We have TSA pre-check and when it expires or if we go on another internal trip anytime soon will be getting global entry. Southwest is my FAVORITE airlines. They have really good customer service. Make sure to check in exactly 24 hours before your flight, so you can be closer to the front of check in.I literally set an alarm a few minutes before. Ahh love Airbnb too. We almost always do Airbnb’s now. Just read the reviews and it has worked out great for us.

  4. Your dress is gorgeous and also can't wait to see all your upcoming travels!
    Xo, Kelsey


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