I will tell you what I did as soon as I got my Green Card. I did not go several years on my H1-B, and I got it through EB1-A after spending about 1 year preparing my application (along with my lawyer) and 6 months of waiting for my actual green card.
Due to multiple status changes for F1-student to F1-OPT to H1-B, my wife (who had to change from F1-student to F1-OPT to F2 for a brief period and then H4 for another brief period) and I could not leave the USofA for about 2 years. We really like to travel, and had to restrict ourselves to traveling within the US (ok, there is a lot of travel within the US and there is no way we could be exhaustive) during this period. I was really really waiting to have my green card so that I could travel more, and travel I did when I got my green card.
Having a green card makes traveling and re-entry into the US very very easy. We got our Green Cards sometime in March of one particular year. We booked our tickets to India two days after receiving our cards. I could even surprise my parents in Chennai by knocking their door all of a sudden in the night when they were not expecting me. In May, stopped by Hong Kong on our way to the US.
Once back in the US, we applied for Shenghen Visa and went on 3-country Eurotrip for about 3 weeks in July.
Upon returning, we applied for a Peru Visa, did the Machu Pichu hike, stayed in the Peruvian Amazon forests for about a week, spending a total of over two weeks in Peru in October. The previous Hong Kong picture was just 5 months before the below Peru pic. I look so different, thanks to the Inca trail hike.
Then, I went on work-related trip to Spain in November; I would not have been able to go on this if I did not have a Green Card. Below is somewhere in Madrid I was instructed to go to, by the wifey – just because one of her favorite video songs was shot at this location.
Within 6 months of getting our Green Card, I visited over 6 countries. That’s how my wife and I celebrated getting our Green Cards. We spent quite a bit of money applying for the Green Cards on our own (independent of my employer) and then spent more on traveling. No regrets on such spending. Sure, many of these things would have been possible without a Green Card. But having a Green Card really makes traveling (and especially re-entry into the US) a breeze.
Even during the last four months of 2016, we have made two trips to Mexico!! Our trips to Mexico/Peru were in fact cheaper than where we could have gone to comparable destinations in the US – say to Hawaii.
Edit on 1/29/2017. The President of USA says that, if you belong to certain countries, you cannot enter the USA even if you a Green Card. I find it so ironical/crazy that this happens immediately after I write that the best part of having a green card is to travel and re-enter the US very easily.
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