You Can Get TSA Pre-Check at Staples—Here’s How

With the holidays rapidly approaching—along with long airport security lines—enrolling in TSA Pre-Check can save travelers time and headaches this holiday season. Staples TSA Pre-Check enrollment process offers an easy “lifehack” for travelers.


Here’s how Staples made your next trip through airport security a breeze.

What is TSA Pre-Check?

No one likes waiting in long security lines at the airport. It can be a hassle to take off shoes and layers and rummage through bags. That’s where TSA Pre-Check comes in.

TSA Pre-Check offers an accelerated security process for travelers. The option allows travelers to keep their “shoes, jacket and belt on… laptop in its case; 3-1-1 compliant liquids in your bag; and enjoy a better overall travel experience,” according to the Staples website.

For frequent travelers, those flying with kids or anyone who simply wants a stress-free travel experience, TSA Pre-Check can be a lifesaver for both domestic and international travel.

How can I enroll in TSA Pre-Check at Staples?

Typically, enrolling in TSA Pre-Check requires travelers to go to designated locations like the airport. But as Mackenzie says, “If you’re looking to get TSA and you’re like ‘I don’t want to go to the airport,’ all you have to do is sign up on Staples the night before and go to your local Staples.”

On the TSA Pre-Check enrollment process, Mackenzie says “they took our fingerprints, took a mug shot, we confirmed our address, typed in our social security number, and we were out of there” with the entire process taking around “three minutes.”

According to Staples website, it really is that simple. All travelers need is to follow these easy steps:

  • Search for the closest participating Staples to your location by typing in your zip code on the Staples TSA services website
  • Head to the government website to begin the enrollment process
  • Once on the government website, look for a “located inside Staples” option to confirm you are enrolling at the store that is closest and works best for you

With those three easy steps, you’re ready to head to Staples for a process that takes less than five minutes. Talk about our new favorite travel hack.

What are the benefits of TSA Pre-Check?

TSA Pre-Check costs $78 dollars to enroll in. However, the upgraded security screening lasts five years! Bonus: according to the TSA website, in October 2022, 91% of TSA Pre-Check travelers waited less than five minutes in line going through security. With lines like that, we’re planning our next trip already.

Article by Jessica Kaplan, the Assistant Editor of Trends, writing for Readers Digest©


October Is the Perfect Time to Visit the Grand Canyon

One of the Seven Wonders of The World, The Grand Canyon is on everyone’s list. Here is how you can make the most of it in October.

One of the world’s seven wonders, the Grand Canyon impresses with its sheer immensity. With its dramatic depths and panoramic view, this 101-year-old national park in a two billion-year-old landscape reflects the beauty of the American West.

The month of October for the Grand Canyon results in a less crowded destination, and accommodations will be cheaper in the fall as the summer season dies down. Here’s what to know about visiting the Grand Canyon in October, during its shoulder season.

The Grand Canyon of Arizona is deemed to be carved by the Colorado River about 6 million years ago and a cumulative effect of a smaller series of canyons.

It is 6000 feet deep and 18 miles at its widest beholding major ecosystems and great biological diversity (and amazing views).

Most importantly, the vast Grand Canyon has four rims: The South Rim, North Rim, Grand Canyon West, and the East.

First-time visitors often choose South Rim, which is more focused on family-oriented activities as well as open year-round whereas the north rim is open from mid-May To mid-October.

Also, North Rim is more focused on hiking, backpacking, and camping and its elevation is higher than the South Rim.

The West Rim is owned by the Hualapai tribe and its favorite activity includes the skywalk which is a glass bridge.

The East Rim is inside the South Rim National Park and should be explored while one is at South Rim. It comprises less conventional views of the Grand Canyon.

October is a relatively good month to visit the Grand Canyon when it isn’t on extreme sides of heat or cold. The beginning of October can still be relatively dry although the weather calms down to pleasant gradually.

The highest temperature during the day in October 2021 was 23-degree Celsius and the lowest temperature at night was 1-degree Celsius. The temperature also varies accordingly to different locations of the vast Grand Canyon.

Sometimes, the weather is also cloudy or partly cloudy. Yet, October is a decent month to head towards Grand Canyon and also the last month to enter the North Rim.

Visit The Visitors Center

This may sound less than exciting, but it’s quite imperative to be well versed in the weather conditions of the Grand Canyon.

One will be informed if any hiking trails and activities are closed due to sudden weather changes.

A 20 minutes movie acquaints the visitors with the park thoroughly along with the trails as well as its history.

An amazing point for viewing spectacular sunrise, Mathers Point is quite famous. It is located 1.4 km northwest of the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

Although, it is still crowded Yavapai Point can be considered over for a tranquil experience.

Hiking Through the Rim Trail

If one wishes to watch the beauty of the canyon without exerting much, the Rim Trail starting from the Visitors Centre to Village is a great hike.

It stretches from Bryce Point to Inspiration Point.

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Total Distance 5.5 miles
  • Average Duration : 3 to 4 Hours

For more hiking info, including the Desert View Drive, day hikes and the rim-to-rim trail, click below:

October Is The Perfect Time To Visit The Grand Canyon, Here’s Why (

Our Trip Thru the Rockies Pt. 3

We finish our trip with a 2-day visit to Salt Lake City before heading home to Chicago. SLC is a beautiful, clean city with an abundance of things to do, with one caveat. Seeing the sites on Sunday, as we did, might disappoint some of you. SLC, being a Mormon dominated city, is virtually closed at least in the downtown area. Even Macy’s was shuttered for the day. Finding an open restaurant, impossible.

Monday, however, the city comes to life with a 2 1/2-hour shuttle tour of the area in the offing. Photos are of the 2 days we enjoyed on our extended weekend trip in SLC.

One venue always open on Sunday is the Morman Tabernacle and its’ famous pipe organ.

It is open to the public on Sundays.

And this is the world-famous organ with a short recital (maybe tuning the pipes).

At 11:00, it’s time for mass down the street at the Cathedral of the Madeleine with its magnificent altar, stained glass windows and its own pipe organ.

We happened to attend a mass that featured a 20-voice choir accompanied by the organ.

This smaller organ rivaled the sound of the Mormon Tabernacle organ.


More sightseeing. We visit “The Place” or “This is the Place” Heritage Park. It is named in honor of Brigham Young’s famous statement in 1847 that the Latter-day Saint pioneers should settle in the Salt Lake Valley.

The monument that features Brigham Young and the pioneers who crossed the Rockies in a 4-month ordeal.

A typical wagon used by the pioneers on their journey.

Lastly, a tribute to the Pony Express riders (Sorry about the raindrops).

Thoroughly exhausted (who knew sitting for 4 days could be so tiring), we board our flight back to Chicago, just missing a violent thunderstorm that occurred just prior to arrival.

Not our plane!

It’s good to be home, but we are both ready for more adventures. Any suggestions?

Our Trip Thru the Rockies Pt. 2

Flying over the Rockies is an awesome, bumpy ride. My wife and I decided to take Amtrak thru the Rockies to get a close-up view of what we had been seeing from 30,000 feet. Here are some of the highlights.

Yes, our train: The California Zephyr rounding one of many bends.

And yes, that is snow on top of the Rocky Mountains in June.

The Zephyr stops to let passengers on/off and for a short stop for picture taking.

Rapids anyone? That’s a long way down!

These pictures don’t capture the majesty of the Rockies. Many, many times the train slows to a crawl because we are so close to the mountainside. There is a 3-wire barrier next to the track that protects the Zephyr from the mountain boulders that could come crashing down at any time because of the train’s movement.

Looks like fun. Maybe try that next time.

Leaving the spectacular Rockies behind, we ride into Utah and the Wasatch Mountain range as the sun sets.

We are scheduled for a 11:05 p.m. arrival time in Salt Lake City, however, freight still rules the rails, so we wait outside of SLC as the freight trains clear out. So, at 11:45, we detrain and head for our hotel, the itch having been scratched for now. I’m wondering how the Rockies would look under a pure white blanket of snow in winter.

Our adventure continues the next day, as we explore downtown Salt Lake City.

Our Trip Thru the Rockies Pt. 1

Chicago to Denver, Denver to Salt Lake City and back to Chicago…in an extended weekend. My wife and I, Whew! What a ride. Ride along with us, won’t you?

Welcome aboard. It all started at ORD, Chicago’s humongous airport on the furthest northwest reaches of the city. I was thinking our 2:30 flight to Denver should be a breeze, right? Wrong! It’s Friday afternoon and business travelers are scrambling to get a flight home, college students, ditto, or going off to party. Anyway, the TSA line… it’s like someone is giving away free food. I have never seen a line of people so long, so filled with bored, grumpy looking individuals. OMG. And so, we enter the line. Uh, do we need to pack a lunch? No, a beady-eyed TSA guy says. “No food allowed. No beverages allowed. Not in your hand, not in your carryon. Eat it now, drink it now, or toss it.” Welcome to today’s travel nightmare.

Lois, my ever-lovin, goes ahead of me in the line, then I go. I get thru it with no prob, but Lois gets a “random” pat-down from an agent. “Every time”, she explains to no one in particular. I begin to see why people are so grumpy.

After the TSA experience, it’s off to find the gate. Naturally, it involves walking to the other concourse which means walking about a 1/2-mile underground to get to Gate C-24. But we still have plenty of time to reach it and we do without stopping for lunch along the way.

Not surprised, we get to the gate to find our plane has been delayed due to lack of a crew. Our 2:30 is now 4:45 and counting. Not to worry, the plane arrives, passengers get off, the cleaners get on and get it done quickly. Soon we are seated and airborne, on our way to Denver.

(Not our plane)

Along the way, we catch a nice tailwind and end up only 1 hour late. No bags were checked, so it’s time to find our hotel which is located in downtown Denver. There is a handy, but pricey shuttle that takes us there and so we arrive in downtown Denver coincidently at Union Station, the site of our next adventure in the morning.

It’s now Saturday, 9:00 a.m. and we are on Amtrak train #5 to Salt Lake City, Utah only 15 hours away. Getting there at 11:05 p.m. so fingers are once again crossed that we are on time.

(Not our train)

I want you to check out some of the things we saw while on the train, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

12 Things That Could Be Getting Your Luggage Flagged by TSA

Get to your gate quicker by knowing what TSA looks for. To help, we rounded up the items, substances, and packing strategies (or lack thereof) that are getting your luggage flagged by the TSA, causing your things to be tossed at security checkpoints or simply adding time to this not-so-fun part of your travel experience

©EvgeniyShkolenko/Getty Images

Bringing too much liquid

Liquids, gels, and pastes (including toothpaste) can’t exceed one 3.4-ounce container each (aside from these 12 items), per the TSA. Consumables must also comply with the rule if you’re carrying your luggage on board, however they can be packed in any quantities in checked luggage. All of these must fit into a one-quart bag (again, this is only for carry-ons). Only one bag is allowed per traveler. Exceptions include baby formula, medications, and other items for special-needs travelers. 

Liquid medications

You’re allowed to bring clearly labeled prescriptions in your carry-on, per the TSA, which you should always do, just in case your other luggage gets lost or delayed. Additionally, you can bring medication in liquid form that’s more than 3.4 ounces—and you don’t even need to put it into a resealable bag, unlike other liquids. However, you must tell the TSA officer that you have these medically necessary liquids before your search, as they will likely require additional screening. 

Wrapped gifts

This is the worst: You spent hours perfectly wrapping presents, only for TSA officers to rip through them at security. To avoid this miserable situation, they recommend simply popping your gifts into gift bags or gift boxes so they can be easily checked, or keeping them unwrapped for now and bringing the wrapping paper with you.

To view the complete list, click the link below.

Source: 12 Things That Could Be Getting Your Luggage Flagged by TSA (

If Your Flight Gets Canceled, Do This Immediately

No matter how seasoned a traveler you are, there’s nothing worse than arriving at the airport and getting through security with your luggage in hand to find that your flight will no longer be taking off. Unfortunately, this has become all too common in recent months, with staffing issues and severe weather events stranding passengers as planes get grounded. But if you’re ever in a situation where your flight gets canceled, experts say there’s one thing you should do right away to better your chances of saving your travel plans. Read on to see the helpful tip that could keep you from being stuck at the airport.

You should be first in line to speak to an agent immediately if your flight gets canceled.

Whether you’re blindsided by the announcement or can sense it coming due to a weather issue, news that a flight has been canceled is likely going to spark a flurry of activity within the terminal. In this case, experts say getting in line to speak to an agent as quickly as possible should be your top priority if you want the best chance at getting on another flight. In some cases, this may mean finding a seat at the gate if you fear your flight is about to get axed.

“It’s going to make a difference who arrives first. It’s first-come, first-serve,” Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, tells CNN Travel. “Positioning yourself close to the desk can pay off.”

Multitask as you wait in line by calling the airline’s customer service line.

If you don’t manage to be first in line to speak to an agent in person, modern technology can still help make sure you’re in the best position to get help from the airline as quickly as possible. Adding that on top of calling customer service, you can also reach out to your travel insurance provider, rebook yourself through your airline’s app, or reach out to the airline for help through social media.

Afraid the lines might be just as long on the phone? Keyes suggests finding the number for your airline’s international call center to get a leg up. “Most US-based travelers aren’t thinking to call the Canadian helpline for Delta. You might get through to an agent much quicker. They can all handle your reservations just the same,” he tells CNN Travel.

Never lose your temper with an agent once it’s your turn to speak with them.

A suddenly canceled flight is bound to create plenty of stress for yourself and everyone else who realizes they may now be stranded. Still, Keyes suggests that remembering to stay calm and polite when speaking to the agent can significantly impact the outcome.

“If you’re an airline agent, especially with these hourlong holds, your entire day is spent dealing with irate, frustrated, impatient customers who are frankly not treating you nearly as well as you ought to be treated,” he told The New York Times. “If they have somebody who’s actually treating them in a humane way, I think they’re much more likely to actually go out of their way to try to help you.”

Make sure you’re asking the right questions when you finally speak to the agent.

In any cancelation situation, valuable seats on flights leaving later in the day can go from being a hot commodity to booked solid in a matter of minutes. If it’s looking unlikely you’ll make it out, ask the agent about getting your money back: the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all airlines must give a full refund to affected passengers—no matter why it was grounded.

If you’re still holding out hope of getting rebooked, it also helps to ask the agent if any other flights are heading to your destination at all. Airlines “have to accommodate on the next available flight—even with a competitor airline,” says Zach Griff. “But sometimes these options are only available in person at the airport with a customer service center or with a gate agent.”

Written for Travelicious© by Zachary Mack Photo Credit: iStock

(Note: Have your airlines customer service phone number in your phone.)

Florida Keys Road Trip Video

The Florida Keys are a string of islands stretching from Key Largo at the tip of the mainland, all the way into the Caribbean at Key West, which is the southernmost point of the 48 contiguous states of USA. The series of islands are connected by the Overseas Highway, which bridges each one to the very tip of Key West. It’s kinda begging for a road trip, isn’t it? Chad Crawford makes the trip on behalf of Visit Florida, taking in some local cuisine and heading out onto, and into, the water that surround the open road on either side.

Source: Visit Florida

By Cedric Pentonville for Travelmag©

Photo by

True or false: Charging an electric vehicle is cheaper than paying for gas

Like them or not, electric vehicles are gaining in popularity. Car manufacturers produce more electric versions of existing models and create new ones built from the ground up to run on batteries. Expect to see more EVs on the road with each passing year.

While battery range is going up and charging times are going down, the infrastructure is not there yet. You can install a charger at home so your EV can get you to work the next day, but what if you want to drive beyond its range? 

Here’s the backstory

Anderson Economic Group recently released a report about the costs of fueling EVs and ICE vehicles. The company has served as a consultant to numerous businesses and worked with automotive manufacturers and distributors, suppliers, trade associations and dealers.

“The cost to fuel a vehicle, ICE or electric, is a substantial part of the total cost of ownership,” the report reads. The group went beyond government data on fuel costs and economy to include consumer experiences and cost burdens.

Refueling stops were measured with stopwatches, customers were interviewed about their residential and commercial charging experience, forums were reviewed for more consumer reports and purchase prices were taken into account along with actual driving and fueling experiences in an EV.

The AEG study produced four key findings.

1. There are more costs to owning an EV beyond charging it

  • Commercial chargers include fees that can double or triple what you would spend at a residential charger.
  • In many states, an additional EV tax is imposed for road construction and maintenance.
  • You usually get a Level 1 charger with your EV purchase, which uses a standard outlet at home. If you want a Level 2 charger, you’ll have to purchase it separately and get it professionally installed.
  • You typically have to drive further to find a commercial charger.
  • Time is money and you’re going to spend more time finding a commercial charger and waiting for the process to complete.

2. EVs can cost more to fuel

Researchers at AEF gathered six categories of EV and ICE cars in the entry-level, mid-priced and luxury segments to compare refueling costs. This finding took the following into account:

  • Some EV drivers primarily use commercial chargers while others use residential chargers.
  • The retail price of gasoline inclusive of road taxes and cost of operating the pump and the cost of electricity at commercial and residential chargers inclusive of registration taxes.
  • The burden of deadhead miles for EVs.

Once these were factored in, the study concluded that EVs often cost more to fuel than similar ICE vehicles. In Michigan, for example, it costs between $8 and $12 to drive 100 miles in an ICE vehicle, and it costs between $12 and $15 to do the same in an EV.

3. EV fueling costs vary widely

The analysis took commercial and residential rates into account and showed that fueling costs for EVs vary more than they do for ICE vehicles.

  • Commercial charger rates are often double or triple residential rates. Residential rates can change 50% or more due to Time-of-Use rates. Gas prices vary by about 10% by comparison.
  • Charging speed changes depending on the type of charger and its working status, how much juice is in the battery and temperature.
  • Prices at commercial chargers can include an additional per session cost in addition to the standard per kWh cost.

4. The burden of time

Finding a commercial fast charger and waiting for your EV to charge puts a time investment on you under even the best circumstances.

  • The study found that it takes 20 minutes for a typical EV driver in a non-rural area to find a reliable DC fast charger. Add 20-30 minutes to this for the charging process. Slower L2 chargers are more common but can take hours.
  • EV drivers have to deal with chargers breaking down, software bugs, syncing issues between their mobile apps and charger and the charger itself being slower than advertised.

Researchers experienced these problems firsthand, which were compounded by the comments they found from frustrated EV owners in online forums.

So the verdict of the report is that EVs actually cost more to fuel right now because of added costs of equipment, varying charging fees and time involved. This will improve with time, but at the moment we’re not quite there yet.

Article by Albert Khoury Photo By

Classic California Road Trips

California is, hands down, one of the best places in the world for a road trip. It’s the third largest state in the nation, and its 164,000 square miles are absolutely packed with glorious, varied terrain highlighted by some 66 scenic byways. The 865 miles of coast are strewn with pockets of beach and stretches of sheer cliff. Rocky desert landscapes give way to rolling farmlands, and two-lane highways carve through quiet groves of towering sequoias before climbing into the high, rugged peaks of the 352 mountain ranges. With all that, it’s no wonder you simply cannot get to know the Golden State unless you hit the road. We’ve gathered together seven essential California road trips to get you started. 

1. California’s Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1)

Distance: 656 miles

Start: Dana Point (Orange County)

End: Leggett (Mendocino County)

Following the California coastline, iconic State Route 1—or Highway 1—is one of the best road trips in the world. It is sometimes referred to as the Pacific Coast Highway (or “PCH”), though technically, the PCH is only a southern part of the route; other sections of Highway 1 are known as Cabrillo Highway, Coast Highway, or Shoreline Highway. Think of Highway 1 as a collection of the state’s greatest hits. You could drive the route in about five days, but there’s so much to do and see, we’d recommend getting out of the fast lane and giving yourself a week and a half or two weeks to really enjoy it all.

Start off with your toes in the Pacific at Huntington Beach, or Laguna Beach, or any one of the other scenic beaches of sunny southern California, then head north. Catch Spanish colonial architecture and sip local Santa Ynez valley wines in Santa Barbara; as you pass San Simeon, keep an ear out for elephant seals and an eye out for zebras and Hearst Castle. Then follow the forested road through Big Sur, stopping often to marvel at mountains that end abruptly in sea cliffs.

Be sure to pay homage to John Steinbeck at Cannery Row in Monterey, then bundle up to cut through the fog in San Francisco. Don’t worry, it tends to clear just after you cross the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, the road gets narrower and feels more remote as it winds through the hills of Marin County. Grab some oysters in Tomales Bay and picnic along the Point Reyes National Seashore. 

Finish up your trip walking driftwood beaches and tree-lined trails in the sleepy coastal town of Mendocino, or if you’re feeling really intrepid, keep following the coast north. Highway 1 officially ends in Leggett, where it turns to Highway 101, but that route continues more or less along the Pacific all the way into Oregon.

Read more California Road trips, including Northern California, by clicking the link below.

10 Classic California Road Trips to Take – AFAR

Article by Maggie Fuller for Afar©

Photo by Chris LaBasco/Shutterstock

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