Notes On Getting My TSA Known Traveler Number + Chitchat About Where I’ve Been

Let’s heAR it for Ms. Bean

This summer, after yabbling about doing this for years, I finally enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program.

The online application was easy.  The total cost was $85.00 for five years.  But it did require an interview with a real person at a TSA-approved IdentoGO office that happened to be nowhere close to where I live.

My interview appointment time, the soonest I could get, was 4 weeks from when I sent in my enrollment– and then it was 10 days after that before I got my official TSA Known Traveler Number [KTN].

For me this was not a fast process

Do I need this TSA PreCheck status?  I dunno.  But after some of my air travel experiences, most notably standing in the Las Vegas TSA line for 1 hour 45 minutes, I’ll do anything that *might* make the process less painful.

[Click HERE to read an article that helped me to better understand the program.]

And on that note, having talked about the practical side of travel, I’ll share the following fun and pretty stuff.

I created these images using the Visited Countries Project on Douwe Osinga’s website. You may already know about this because it’s been around for a long time.

Nonetheless here is where I’ve been
I’ve been to 9 countries which amounts to 4% of the world.

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I’ve been to 34 US states which amounts to 68% of the country.

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I’ve been to 3 Canadian provinces which amounts to 23% of the country.

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you in the TSA PreCheck program? If so, how has that worked out for you?

Where did you go for your favorite vacation ever? Where did you go for your worst vacation ever?  

Got any travel plans for the rest of this year?

• • •

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

157 thoughts on “Notes On Getting My TSA Known Traveler Number + Chitchat About Where I’ve Been”

  1. Answering my own questions here…

    1) Haven’t used my KTN so: yes + dunno

    2) Best vacations ever: Big Island, Hawaii, USA &/or Banff, Alberta, Canada
    Worst vacation ever: Phoenix, Arizona

    3) No plans for a vacation in 2019

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Z-D, it’s an oldie by goodie website. I remembered it after I got writing about getting my KTN. I’ll bet you’ve been to more states than I have, but fewer countries!

      Like

  2. I don’t think we have a program like this in Canada.
    Favourite vacation destinations: Amsterdam and Barbados. Worst vacation: can’t think of one – they’ve all been good! Guess that makes me pretty lucky. Probably more due to the fact that I tend to just go with the flow whenever I travel/vacation. 😉
    Upcoming travel plans: Dallas (for work) in a couple of weeks. Vancouver Island in October, to visit my daughter. Barbados in February 2020.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Deb, I wouldn’t be surprised if Canada didn’t have [or need] a program like PreCheck, but for me it might make things go more smoothly. I’ve never been to Amsterdam or Barbados, but I’d be willing to give them a whirl. I’ve been to Dallas a few times and liked it– lots of history and beautiful people. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We’ve been meaning to do this as well but never seem to get around to it. Our military id’s sometimes allow us to go through faster, but not always. So what in the world do they ask at the interview? Is your MIL a terrorist… or do plan on traveling to Kabul?
    😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rivergirl, the interview was easy. A few questions confirming how I spell my name. A few questions about birthdate/place and travel plans. The only wrinkle in the process was my passport photo that is the worst photo of me ever taken. The guy asked about the photo, telling me it didn’t look like me [it doesn’t] and that the photo looked more like my mother than me [which it does]. I explained why I looked so lousy in the photo and that was that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not on TSA pre check, but have luckily been randomly chosen several times. It’s so much faster! Favorite vacation was Scotland in 2017 and can’t think of a least favorite. Been to many states, but would like to go to more, like Utah and the Dakotas. Heading to France in February. Fun to think about!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth, I’ve been randomly chosen to go through the PreCheck line, too. It’s almost heavenly. I liked visiting Scotland years ago. Felt right at home there, I did. France was interesting, too– but in February? Why?

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    1. Oops hit enter before I was finished! Think Nexus only applies to Canay/U.S. travel. Hard for me to pick best vacation, so many incredible destinations! South Africa is up there, a trip I did with my daughter. On the radar this year – a visit to Portugal & hopefully a kayak trip in B.C. next summer😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lynn, I don’t know about Nexus but will file that away for future travel. Thanks for the info. I’ve been to Morocco but would like to visit South Africa as well. A roommate was crazy about Portugal. She enjoyed it. Hope you do, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t go anywhere except up to Northern California to visit my family. I don’t have money! But even if I did, I wouldn’t want to leave my kitty for more than a couple days. 😻❤️

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  6. This was fun 🙂. I’ve been to 26 countries, 42% of the US, and 69% of Canada.

    I can’t really say I’ve had a favourite vacation, although there have been some that were very memorable for different reasons. If I had to pick just one, it would be France. No matter how many times I may go there, I still have a yearning to return.

    Although there are a handful of places I would like a do-over, I can’t say I’ve ever had a completely miserable vacation, in spite of having been sick a few times. That’s never fun when you’re living in a hotel room. There was one memorable experience of having a doctor make a house call to my hotel in Italy and trying to communicate via an English/Italian dictionary and our mutually rough grasp of French.

    I think I’m pretty adaptable though and can find joy just about anywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joanne, you get around, don’t you darling! You’ve seen lots of the world. I’ve been to Paris once about a million years ago and was taken with the architecture more than the food. I’m older now, so I’d probably be more taken with the food [& drink] than the architecture. Maybe someday I’ll get back. Never say never, eh?

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      1. I would happily go back to Paris every year if I could. I wonder if then I would ever get bored with it?

        I can’t really say food is a major part of any vacation for me … unless it is truly awful. My budget is usually in the baguette and cheese category 😏

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m always aware of what food I might be eating when I travel. And the older I get the fussier I’ve gotten about it. I’m not in the gourmet category, but need to be careful about all things edible. Digestive issues, you know.

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      1. Deb, we’ve done enough things together now that I can wholeheartedly agree on both points 😁

        Hopefully even after you move to the other side of the country we will still be able to carve out an annual shenanigans trip together. We owe it to ourselves … and the world 😆

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I don’t know exactly what you two got up to on your last adventure, but I’m all about you two doing more of it. When you report back from your vacations, I get a chuckle out of it all. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Didn’t do TSA cause I don’t think I travel enough to warrant it. We went to Greece this year which was amazing!! My top three trips were Greece, Hawaii, and Bora Bora. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had a bad vacation, except for the spring break trip where returning to us we were hit with massive plane delays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LA, I don’t know that I need PreCheck either, but I got it now. I’m cool. I’ve seen lots of photos of Greece which looks amazing. One of our best vacations was in Hawaii, but as for Bora Bora I’ve never been there. What a long flight that’d be.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We’ve been going back and forth on getting TSA Pre-Check. Especially after waiting over an hour to get through the line at a small airport like Pittsburgh recently. Favorite vacation spot was probably New Zealand or Japan. Worst vacation–definitely West Virginia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of the Icebox, I dithered about doing the PreCheck enrollment, too. But like you said one lousy wait in the TSA line– and you start to say to yourself “maybe I need PreCheck” to make my life easier. I’d love to visit New Zealand. I’ve been to West Virginia for a long weekend getaway. Not much there as I remember.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad you got through the process. I waited until they opened an office in our airport (about 10 minutes away). I have enjoyed having it except for one time in Florida when the PreCheck line was way longer but they woudn’t let me not use it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dan, I think there’s an office in the airport, but it’s an even longer drive than getting to the IdentoGo office– which was an adventure in modern office building complexes that lack signage. I didn’t know about the downside to PreCheck. Thanks for the heads up.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I try to avoid plane travel so I’m not sure it would be worth it for me. Most of my disasters were with delayed flights. I remember spending an overnight on benches at JFK. Then there was a 4 hour delay (which you didn’t know at the time because there weren’t updates and you weren’t allowed to leave the terminal for fear of missing the plane) at Chicago. That experience and the incredibly rude staff put O’Hare on the “do not fly” list. I love flying out of our local airport. It’s small and security is quick but there are very few direct flights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, I can understand why you don’t need TSA PreCheck. Not sure if I do, but I gots it now. I’ve spent nights in airports and it’s not a fun thing. I’ve also had some very rude Delta employees hassle me so I’m wary of that airline. Oddly enough most of my travel woes have been because of weather problems more than people so my PreCheck KTN may not really change much for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Are you in the TSA PreCheck program? No. I don’t fly anymore. Last two flights were in 2003 and 2007.

    Where did you go for your favorite vacation ever? St. Thomas. Spring Break. Solo.
    Where did you go for your worst vacation ever? The Bahamas. Every meal = ACK!

    Got any travel plans for the rest of this year? Maybe the Keys. Maybe St. Augustine. Maybe not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nancy, I fly infrequently so I’m hoping that when I do it’ll be a better experience now that I have a KTN. I’ve heard many people talk positively about St. Thomas which looks charming in the photos I’ve seen. Never been to the Bahamas, nor the Keys, nor St. Augustine.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. We seem to get picked for pre-check most of the time. Since there isn’t an office anywhere near us, we haven’t applied. Also, our home airport is so small we don’t generally need it on the outward leg.

    It would be really tough to pick a favorite vacation. Back in the 80s I spent two weeks on a windjammer in the British Virgin Islands (went by myself) that was awesome. All our Europe trips and Ecuador have been amazing with only one or two serious glitches. Hubby and I had a falling out on our Alaska trip which really kinda ruined that one for me. Plus it rained nearly the entire time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eilene, I sometimes get picked for PreCheck which showed me how much nicer that line can be. Small kindnesses mean a lot to me when I’m traveling.

      The British Virgin Islands sound exotic and wonderful to me. I’ve been to Bermuda so I envision the British Virgin Islands as a more relaxed version of island culture.

      Rain & marital discord in Alaska sounds difficult to me. From what I’ve heard the roads there aren’t that great to begin with, let alone travelling them when you’re angry with your significant other.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. That’s a fun little tool, sort of a digital pin board, although I think if I traveled a lot an actual map with cute little flag pins sticking all over might be fun!
    I vaguely remember, when I had young kids, we were allowed to go through some sort of pre-check line unofficially, which was nice. Flying is not high on my list though so unless I clear up this phobia I see no point of getting through airport lines faster. I like to dawdle as long as possible 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, that’s exactly what that website is: a digital pin board. If you don’t like flying then the $85.00 I spent on my enrollment would be a waste. I don’t travel often, but when I do I like things to go smoothly. They rarely do, but that’s what I like!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean R, the maps are fun and yours could never be boring. Plus the statistical information is interesting. I’ve never thought about my travels like that.

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  14. I don’t think we have a program like this in Canada but considering these days I only fly once or twice a year it would probably be more hassle than it’s worth for me.
    I’ve visited all 10 provinces (still need to get to the territories), 26 states, and 7 countries. Can’t put a finger on any faves; we’re pretty easy-going, easy-to-please travelers and there’s only a few places I wouldn’t return to. I can see why Hawaii or Banff would make your top picks, I’d go back to either one in a heartbeat.
    And if we’re talking National Parks I’d throw Yosemite in there too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norm, I’m not sure how much value I’m going to get out of my PreCheck KTN but I’m in the system now so when I need it, it’ll be there.

      You’ve seen quite a bit of North America. Once Z-D retires we hope to see some parts of the USA we’ve not visited, Yosemite being one of those places. I like parks.

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  15. I’ve been a member of the TSA precheck for about 3 years or so. It has spoiled me for lines, although they’re getting longer, even in precheck. However, I still like not taking stuff out of my bag or taking off my shoes! Best vacation? Too many to name, but Hawaii is up there. Worst trip: Texas. Not my style.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, I’m all about getting myself spoiled in the PreCheck lane. Bring it on, TSA! 🙂

      Hawaii seems to be a favorite among everyone I know. If you don’t like going there, do you even have a soul? I like Texas, but I can understand how it might not appeal to someone. Of course there’s so much of it, I reckon it’d depend on what parts you visited as to whether you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. John, I like being home, too. I don’t know how often I’ll use my KTN but when I do I know I’ll appreciate it. I’m a patient person about lines, but if I can avoid them, why not?

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    1. marian, you make me smile. The TSA can be friendly or frightful depending on where you travel. Am hoping with my new KTN I’ll be breezing along in all airports.

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  16. I’ve been to roughly the same number of places as you (only in the US – I’ve been to more of the northern states than the southern). While I love Montreal, I’d have to say Italy was the hardest place to leave.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jan, someday I’d like to see more of the NW parts of the country. I’ve never been to Italy but would like to go there. It has an interesting history and seems like an endlessly fascinating country.

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  17. I love your questions, Ally – and we do have some plans for the fall – and I look forward to these events – but all three are in state and one is in PA
    and have been thinking about this recheck so I am going to read the article you linked.
    but it sounds to me as if this is a very worthy endeavor – even if a bit of hassle – seems like it will pay off big time even if it is just once of saving you an hour and 45 minutes of waiting – because that waiting in line also comes while we are traveling and so some folks might just say- hey – we need to wait at times – but that adds up when on a trip and when other things take time –
    and so I hope it pays off for you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yvette, if you decide to enroll in the PreCheck program allow adequate time for the process to unfold. Around here, at least, it was easy to do but not fast.

      I don’t mind waiting per se, but that time in Vegas was memorable. I’d allotted extra time before my flight so I was good, but my feet got tired of shuffling and standing. You know the drill…

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  18. Hi,

    I am in the TSA ore-check program and it does make a difference. But of course, the secret is out and more and more people are doing it creating as long of lines at TSA pre check as there is in the regular check-in line.

    Fortunately, I lived near a big city that had a TSA office that was easy to get to. The office visit was a breeze, no long lines and I was in and out in 5 minutes believe it or not. I can’t remember how long it took for me to finally get my number but someone who applied after me told me that one can access their number before it comes in the mail. 🤷‍♀️

    Anyway now you are in this not so elite club, so enjoy! 😂

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, I plan to enjoy this *luxury* even if the lines in PreCheck are as long as the regular lines. At least I can take solace in the fact that I made the effort to make my travels go more smoothly. And in the end, as with all things, one can only do their best, then accept whatever happens after that. Being philosophical here…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’d rather have TSA pre check than not. During my recent trip to Alaska and Canada, I got through lines pretty quickly whereas my daughter had to suffer humiliation of extra checks, long waits, third degree, and she is a law-enforcement officer! She gets no breaks. I have been after her and her husband to get the pre-check Program. He is in law-enforcement too and gets no breaks .

        However, one time I was going through pre-check and they took my six-year-old granddaughter aside to rub some solution on her hands to check for explosives. I did not know they were doing that until after the fact. One might think that as her guardian I would have been advised ahead of time as to what was going to happen to her. Somehow she got ahead of me through the line and got pulled aside. no one, no supervisor or employee, came up to me to advise me what they were going to do to a minor. when I found out later what happened, I was livid but if we make any waves, we will probably be put on a no-fly list and that is the world we are living in where 6-year-old children have to go through extra security measures to check for explosive materials on their hands. Don’t get me started! If it were up to me, I would drive to my destinations! 😆

        Thanks for giving me a chance to share that story. I wanted to write my elected representatives and I probably should have. I don’t think what happened is right. Traveling these days is not so much fun so I pick and choose carefully, and keep my head down!

        Susan Grace

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, that is just wrong on so many levels. I wouldn’t think that what the TSA agent did was legal, let alone moral. And frankly why would any adult think a 6 y.o. was packing explosives in their luggage? The rationale that led to the situation is about as worrying as the rest of the story.

          I’m with you about driving versus flying. As a child flying was so exciting and stylish and fun. Now it’s a hassle so emotionally draining that I’d rather take to the road, but you can’t always do that.

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  19. Are you in the TSA PreCheck program? If so, how has that worked out for you? No, but I wish I was. I have friends who are. The friends I know who are in it love it. I was given the PreCheck status a few times when I traveled to Vermont for grad school. Nice.

    Where did you go for your favorite vacation ever? I had a great time in Jamaica. I traveled all over the island and did all the touristy things (limbo contest, rafting, waterfall climbing)

    Where did you go for your worst vacation ever? I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad vacation. The closest I came to one that was challenging was when I went to Disney World one year. I had the usual warm weather clothing, only to be greeted by temps in the 30s at night and barely in the 50s during the day.

    Got any travel plans for the rest of this year? I might visit my parents in Houston.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. L. Marie, I’ve never been to Jamaica, but I know many people talk about how great it was/is. Another destination to add to my list.

      I’ve been to Disney World in the winter and you’re right– it can get darned cold there. Of course they sell all sorts of [over-priced] hoodies guaranteed to keep you warm! So considerate. 😉

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  20. I do have the KTN. Long story — if you’re bored with it, you can skip it. I was looking to book a trip for next February and was having trouble finding flights that arrived and departed at times compatible with the times of my friend’s flights. The only one was a nonstop (bonus) for more than I wanted to pay – BUT I saw an ad that said if I applied for the airlines credit card I would get a $250 statement credit when I booked my first flight. Worth it, that was, so I applied, got it, booked the flight, got the credit, then learned that they also credited back if you applied for the TSA precheck. Well, why not? So I did, after which I learned that it would be a 2-1/2 hour drive to the nearest IdentoGo facility. Oh well. Day out. There will be a kiosk are my nearest airport in November, but I also have a October trip planned, so that was too late. Two and one-half hour drive for a maybe ten minute interview – that was on Thursday. Monday I visited the website she told me to go to to learn that I was approved, and about five days after that I got the letter.
    Planned trips: to see a friend in Santa Fe, NM in October. To meet aa friend of over 50 years from New York in Galveston in February – kind of a centrally located southern therefore warmer location for both of us.
    Best vacations – don’t think I’ve had a bad one, really. Loved my trips in the states, to Poland to visit friends many years ago, to Seoul and Beijing with my kids, to Vietnam with my kids, To Thailand to visit my daughter when she was teaching there, To Canada – I think we drove through most of the provinces, but I’ll have to go to the site you mentioned to check this out. Have had a couple of weekend trips many years ago that were not great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carol, I love your story of how you came by your KTN. I’d do it that way if I had the chance. Why not? I’ve been to Santa Fe a few times and it was mesmerizing and unique with kind people. I’ve never been to Galveston, but I sure do know the song by that name. You’ve seen a lot of SE Asia, more than most people I know. I’m almost jealous of you– but won’t be because that’d be wrong!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Trying to get those maps into a blog post – just not working for me and I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. I’ve seen SE Asia because my kids both taught in South Korea and Thailand for a few years. The Vietnam trip was our Christmas trip one year and Beijing was on my son’s spring break when my daughter and I visited him in Seoul.

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        1. All your reasons for going to the various countries make perfect sense. What a fun & adventurous family you have.

          I got my map images in this blog post by doing a screen save of them, not be using the code provided on that website. I don’t know a thing about how that code works, so I can’t help you with it. Sorry.

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  21. My husband and I have Global Entry, which includes PreCheck. On our recent trip, we flew in and out of Seattle. The PreCheck line was just as long as the regular line… that is the first time I’ve seen that. Our line might have moved a bit quicker since we didn’t have to remove as much stuff. I’ve visited 48 states (only North Dakota and Rhode Island left to go). Hopefully I’ll be able to add to my European country list over the next several years. Best trip? So many great ones, but probably Cuba since I had wanted to go there for so many years. Worst trip? Not sure that I’ve ever had a bad one. Next trip? Back to Oaxaca.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, I’ve no need for Global Entry but it’s good to know what it includes. I realize that the PreCheck line may not be short, but if I don’t have to fuss around taking off my shoes I’ll be happy.

      So far you’re the commenter who has visited the most states in the USA. Congratulations on this honor. I’ve never been to ND or RI either. I’m sure they’re lovely states, but so far away from anywhere I want to be. I’ve friends who’ve been to Cuba. They’ve come back with stories to tell!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Um, I don’t have this number. I’ve never heard of this number. My list of places I want to see is small. BUT! Spain is on this list so I can walk the Camino de Santiago in 2022, so I think I need this number?

    My vacation is an ETERNITY away, also known as 9 days. It will NEVER get here. *whines ad nauseam*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara, I just learned that if you get into the Global Entry program you’ll also get the KTN as well. [See comment from Janis.] Whether you need a Global Entry pass when you go and return from Spain is beyond me. I was in Spain once. Didn’t walk the Camino de Santiago but I enjoyed the country. Good food, interesting history, pleasant people.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Global Entry is great to have when you return to the US (it isn’t needed when you leave). It will get you through customs much quicker. It’s more expensive than just PreCheck (and you might have to jump through a few extra hoops) but PC is included, so you don’t have to apply for both.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ay dios mio! I shall worry about all these numbers closer to said travel to Spain.

        Thanks for the info about enjoying the country. I’ve heard good things from others. It shall be an adventure, for sure!

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  23. Are you in the TSA PreCheck program? No, but I would like to be. The problem is that I only begin to think about this when waiting in a (very long) airport line!

    Where did you go for your favourite vacation ever? Definitely one of our Caminos.

    Where did you go for your worst vacation ever? Manila.

    Got any travel plans for the rest of this year? Does the Seattle Mariner’s Game count?

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    1. Donna, it was when I was waiting for 1 hour and 45 minutes in the TSA line in Vegas that I decided I’d look into the PreCheck program. I’m not overly impatient is such situations, but enough already, you know?

      I’m pleased to know that your Camino walks were your favorite. I can understand that. Had a neighbor who lived in Manila for a while and she wasn’t impressed with it, so I’m not surprised that you didn’t care for it either.

      And yes, I’m sure a Seattle Mariner’s game qualifies as travel. How could it not?

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  24. Congrats on obtaining that certification, Ally. I say any “edge” one can get in navigating airports these days is worth the effort. My wife hates to travel, though has also never really experienced the horrendous delays and drama-filled airport moments that I have. This would probably be good to have in our arsenal.

    Maui is still my favorite destination of all time, but it’s been nearly 15 years since I’ve been there. I’d love to go back. My worst vacation ever was a Caribbean cruise, but that was all due to people who were in our party. I learned to think twice about who I travel with after that (i.e. usually never any siblings). – Marty

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    1. Marty, I’ve suffered through enough [shall we say?] airport debacles in my lifetime that I’m all about anything that might make my travel run smoothly. Hoping KTN is one of those things.

      We’ve been to Maui and unlike everyone else on planet Earth, we didn’t like it. Long, long story about what went wrong but if it’s your jam, go for it. Aloha.

      I’ve never been on a cruise and have gracefully bowed out of all offers to do one. I can understand how the wrong people can make a vacay hell… on the high seas in your case.

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  25. That countries visited website is cool. I filled it out and I have been to four countries in the Americas, and 10 in Europe. I have been to 10 Canadian provinces and territories (all but PEI, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut). I have been to 18 States in the USA plus DC.

    Jude

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    1. Dr Sock, you’ve seen a good part of the world. I want to see more of Canada, having had some great vacations there. I agree that the website is cool. I know it’s been around forever, but since I was last there I’ve travelled some more so my map changed.

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    1. teacherturnedmommy, I didn’t know that families could benefit from the PreCheck, but it sounds good to me. I don’t travel often but when I do I’m hoping my KTN will make things better.

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  26. That’s cool. I’m sure you’ll find it to have been totally worth it to have gone through the trouble. My worst TSA experience was when I had to fly preggo. Twice. So many full body pat-downs on those trips. I wonder if having the pre-screened thing you got would’ve saved me from all that.

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  27. Ally, I don’t even know what the TSA program is – some kind of pre-approved boarding privilege? Is it international or within the US? I’m assuming you are pre-screened as low risk, like the Nexus cards which get you into faster lanes crossing the bridge from Canada to the US. I’m impressed that you have been to 34 US states – that’s a lot of travelling!

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    1. Joni, the TSA PreCheck program is only good within the USA and it is for low risk people such as moi. It allows you to go through a reduced security checkpoint between checking in with the airline and walking to your gate. I just learned about the Nexus cards today. I’d never heard of them before.

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  28. PS. I’ve read the article and answered my own questions! I don’t travel anymore so am not up on things, probably couldn’t make my way around an airport now.

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    1. Well, if there’s one good thing about air travel anymore it’s that the signs in the airports are much better than the used to be. You’d do fine getting around as long as you were patient.

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  29. I haven’t signed up for the TSA Precheck program. So far, I haven’t been stuck in any particularly long lines.

    I think my best vacation was to Bali. It was in the early ’70s when Bali was just trying to get into the tourism business. My friend and I got an unbelievable deal from Manila for 5 days in Bali. It was fantastic.

    My worst trip was actually a great trip with my family to St. John Virgin Islands. The trouble was the return trip. I got stuck in Philadelphia in the middle of a huge snow storm. I couldn’t get out for four days.

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    1. Nicole, I’m hoping that being part of this TSA program will reduce my wait time, but we’ll find out one way or the other.

      I’ve never been to Bali and have to admit that it looks perfect in photos. I could do with some island r&r. I’ve been stuck in the Philly airport, however– sitting on uncomfortable chairs for most of the night all because of a huge snowstorm. That I’ve done. 😑

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, that could work out great– or not. Who knows? Having lived in the midwest for a long time I can say that some years there’s hardly any snow, other years there are snow emergencies starting around Thanksgiving and go through Easter. With weather & travel plans, it’s always something.

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  30. Never been in any program… my best vacation was Tuscany, but that think had to do with that we had already traveled so much, so we knew what to expect. My worst vacation was going to Yosemite Nat. park for 4 days instead of 7, because I just began to be in the vacation mood, and it was cut short!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Junieper2, Tuscany sounds lovely as does the mere idea of going to Italy. If you didn’t get the opportunity to unwind, I can see how a too short vacay would be a bummer. Someday I hope to get to Yosemite and will make a point to be there long enough to thoroughly enjoy myself.

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      1. Tuscany, because we were already in Europe for my 3 artworkshops in Holland. The flights within Europe are much cheaper than coming from the usA, so we just tacked on another week. Tuscany because it’s also close to France, and I could see the Chagall museum in Nice, a high point of our vacay. Yosemite is definitely worth it, hope you’ll have the means at some point!

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  31. The last time I flew, I don’t even think there was a TSA yet. You walked through the metal detector, and if it didn’t go off, you were good to go!

    I have been to 20 states and 1 country (although I saw Canada from across Lake Huron in Detroit). Do I get a participation medal for that?

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    1. evilsquirrel13, air travel is more complex now than when you last flew. Lines everywhere, chaos abounds, and the TSA either helping or hindering the process– depending which airport you’re in.

      While I’d like to give you credit for seeing Canada, in this exercise one has to set foot in the country &/or state to qualify for a prize. So sorry, you only get to count one country visited.

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  32. We don’t have a TSA equivalent here in the UK, but european travel is about to get a whole lot more tedious for us once we leave the European Union which seems a dead cert to happen on Halloween. And yes, I do consider it a rather telling date.

    My family lived overseas so we didn’t really do vacations, instead we visited family wherever they were based. My favourite holidays were in Tuscany, Italy – staying in beautiful old buildings, alternating between doing the sights & staying home reading while enjoying the views. There have been a vast number of awful travel experiences but flying from the UK to Bangladesh when I was 16 with my younger siblings ended up with us stranded in Delhi airport with no money, no support and no onward flight. Not an experience I care to repeat.

    No holiday plans for this year as Himself has been off work with an injury for 6 months. But I’ve visited 17 countries so far (and 12 US states) so I’m pretty chilled about chilling out at home 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. deb, I hadn’t thought of the EU *event* from the point of view of travel, but I’m sure you’re right about how tedious things are going to get. Pity that. At least you’ve already been to 17 countries so you’ve seen some of the world before the confusion begins.

      Tuscany is one of those destinations that everyone likes– for a variety of reasons. I’d like to get there at some point.

      Your experience in Delhi sounds like a nightmare. How’d you finally get yourselves to Bangladesh with no way to get there? What a scary mess for kids and adults, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh do get to Tuscany if you can, even with the tourists, it is quite quite lovely.

        It was a mess – over 40 years later, I recall my fear vividly. My father’s company had organizers to handle our travel but, because our flight out of the UK had to change last minute, they didn’t get the message we were coming in & so weren’t there. Luckily, after a 6 hour wait, 3 people didn’t turn up for their flight, so we were given our luggage and told to run across the runway to our plane just prior to its take-off. I refused to spend our money on my mother’s shopping from that day forward & ensured we kids always had funds ‘just in case’. When my daughter went travelling as a teenager, I gave her an additional credit card on my account for the same reason. When her bank unexpectedly upgraded her card and withdrew the old one while she was out in Bali, we were both relieved to have had an easy fallback plan. It’s dull, but my ‘be prepared and hopefully you won’t need it’ practice works for me.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. What a story! I can see how it happened and I can see how you learned a life lesson from it. I’ve often wondered what would happen if my credit card failed while on vacation, and you’ve answered my query in a way. Make sure to have some cash on you and two active credit cards with you, as your daughter’s experience proves. Be prepared, indeed.

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  33. The maps are cool and appeal to my nature – the kind that likes to record and catalog and view the data in graphics. But I’m not much of a traveler – the last time I flew was in 1989, I think it was. Before that it was 1973.

    Crowds and lineups and heavy traffic just to get to the airport are enough to put me off. I am satisfied with vay-cay’s in my own back yard.

    Heck, I’ve been anxious about driving the 8 hours on 400 series highways to visit family next week. I should clarify – I’ve been anxious for A YEAR.

    But a question for you – are all your stops on your maps vacation related or was this for business, too?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maggie, I thought of you as I was posting these images. I kind of thought they might appeal to you.

      I totally understand your ongoing anxiety about driving somewhere for 8 hours and your distaste for crowds and lines and airport chaos. I don’t like any of that either. All travel is disruptive on some level. 🙄

      For me all the travel was being on vacation. However some places I’ve been to were only because my husband was there for work, and I decided to tag along, too.

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  34. If you do/plan to fly much the TSA program is probably worth the time and effort. Family/Relatives have it as they have a small child and waiting in lines is asking for trouble…the kid(s) had “interviews”, too…would like to have seen the toddlers’ HaHa Who says the government doesn’t have a sense of humor? (We have no doubt Molly’s would be chaos, so we’ll just drive instead.)
    All vacations are good! (having grown up with army surplus bottomless tent camping and skunks running under the cots – everything else tends to pale by comparison). You just have to be flexible and roll with it. (although lost luggage on the way to Spain for a couple of days was irritating – but it was Spain! There are stores everywhere with underwear haha). The worse has to be when we took a kid’s friend along who turned out to be a real pill – ready to throttle that one for being so horrible and ruining so much. Real close to buying that one airfare back home.

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    1. philmouse, I don’t know how much air travel I’ll be doing in the next 5 years, but if all goes well when I do I’ll be moving along in the Pre-Check line instead of dawdling in the regular line.

      Lost luggage is a definite problem but like you said there’s underwear for sale just about anywhere so I’ll not worry about the potential lost luggage problem. I wouldn’t like to be on vacation with an unruly kid, nor have I liked being on vacation with an insanely uptight “friend” who has to control it all. Either scenario is enough to keep me home.

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  35. You’ve been around Ally (and I mean that in a nice way). 🙂 You’ve been to more Canadian provinces than me and I am a Canadian. I have only been to Ontario. I don’t have a passport, having let it lapse years ago after my last trip in 1983 (five Scandinavian countries and the USSR). Since 1966 I have had a green card and it is a hassle every ten years getting it renewed. Since I’ve been typing for years and played accordion for a few years as well, my fingerprints are non-existent. The last time I renewed the card I had to be fingerprinted 2X (necessitating two trips to the immigration bureau and doing ink prints eventually) and then sent to the police station to verify I had lived here ten years and never been in trouble with the law. I am told a passport might help with my next renewal in 2025. I’ve not set foot in an airport since 1983 to be honest. My last trip in 1983 was great, but my favorite was a two-week land tour of Greece followed by a 7-day cruise to several Greek Islands, Israel, Cairo, Kusadasi in Turkey taken in 1981. My worse trip might have been the trip to Germany that I featured two weeks ago on my Woodstock post. Oh, there were nice moments and picturesque venues, however I spoke no German and my father’s relatives spoke no English, so to a 13-year old, that was no fun and a little boring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. linda, my interview/acceptance into the KTN program was expedited because I had my passport with me. I have one, just in case, even though I haven’t travelled outside the country in years. It took two attempts before the digital fingerprint scanner got my fingerprints, but eventually it did.

      It sounds like a lot of hassle to renew your green card, but presumably it is worth it. I’ve never been to any of the countries you mention [except Canada, obviously], but given the chance I’d like to visit Greece. Of course my newly acquired KTN won’t help with that travel. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I must get a passport before 2025 when I renew my green card again. It was a little insulting to be honest, since I’ve never been in trouble with the law, same address for years, all because of fingerprints.

        Likely your fingerprints are worn off as well from using a keyboard. I would think now that almost every person is using some type of digital device these days, so fingerprints are going to get worn down, not necessarily to a career spent on a keyboard or piano keys.

        I’d like to see the East Coast of the USA … domestic travel is nice too and there is plenty I’ve not seen. The Greek trip was through American Express and was really very memorable.

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  36. Are you in the TSA PreCheck program? No, don’t travel enough to make it worth it. The lines are part of the experience – going early enough to beat them seems to work.
    Where did you go for your favorite vacation ever? Jamaica Where did you go for your worst vacation ever? Florida – the return trip, the plane had a malfunction with the emergency slide – we had our 18-month-old with us, there was a sick and puking kid on the plane, and we had a layover that caused us to miss our ride home, we had to get a rental car in the middle of the night, hard to find one with a car seat at that time.
    Got any travel plans for the rest of this year? Staycation planned – all new windows for the house seem to have provided us with that opportunity. Happy travels to you – hope your TSA efforts paid off. It was fun to read how much of the world you’ve seen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelley, I enrolled in this program with no specific travel in mind, but I’m hoping that when I use it I’ll be moving through those lines with a spring in my step, so to speak.

      What a miserable travel experience you had there. I can understand why you don’t like FL. Air travel is wonderful when all goes well, but those other times… *meh*

      Funny you’d mention new windows. We have 10 coming next month and like you alluded to: they are giving us the opportunity to have a staycation. Talk about $$$ flying out the window. 😳

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      1. My youngest had somehow enrolled in the pre-approved status, it was awesome for her when she traveled back and forth from Chicago to our local little airport. Time saver for sure!
        Yeah – that was a trip for the notsohappy memory book.
        Yeah…it’s like buying a new house all over again. Will we ever see the cost savings in heating/cooling…I hope?!

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        1. Any time you can save while messing around in airports is a win. I’m sure your child would agree.

          Yes, I share your doubts about all this marvelous energy saving that’ll be coming our way. Will it offset the cost of new blinds that we’ll need on all our new windows with new frames? And if so, when? Uh huh.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, she most definitely agrees!
            So far, what we’ve heard is that the blinds will still fit. I’m positive I’ll have some thoughts about it if they don’t. Even if I secretly feel the desire to replace them just ‘cuz…they’re old and ready for it, but windows first!

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            1. I hope our blinds fit, but they are old and I can’t help worrying that when they come down they’re going to fall apart. I’m convinced it’s the dust on them that’s holding them together at this point. 😉

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  37. I don’t travel often enough to feel justified in having to do the program, esp. if it’s only good for 5 years. Maybe once the kids are on their own, Hubs and I will bee-bop around the planet more and then the program might make more sense!

    Even though I don’t travel a lot–I do have an all-time fave place, which is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Other memorable places are England, Austria, Williamsburg VA, Savannah GA, Grand Canyon, and St. Kitts. I don’t have a least favorite, really–I can always find something to adore about any place I go.

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    1. Kate, I get your point the program. I’m thinking that after my husband retires in a few years this KTN will come in handy, but we have no specific plans for travel at the moment.

      I’ve been to WDW Orlando a few times and it can be endlessly fun. I can see why you like it. We’ve been to Savannah GA twice and adored it both times. It’s one of those places with a vibe that appealed to both of us.

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  38. No TSA precheck for us. We tough it out with the other peons (while looking upon those of you in the special line with a mix of admiration and jealous hatred). Boy, I’ll never pass up a chance to talk about my upcoming travel plans:
    October- San Antonio 20th anniversary trip
    December- Laos/Cambodia
    Spring break – hiking in Sedona. Expect to be admiring some of the same red rocks that Rivergirl did when I first discovered her blog
    Next summer – Spain/Southern France
    Everything outside of those is just in the theoretical stage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Travel Architect, I only recently decided that enough was enough, so I went through the process to get my KTN. We’ll see how it works, won’t we?

      I love San Antonio. We’ve been there a couple of times, once in the spring and once in the fall. Both times were great fun.

      I’ve been through Sedona more than actually there. I look forward to reading your review and seeing your pics. Spain was cool, France was cool– but it was a long time ago when I was there. Probably changed by now, but for the better I hope.

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  39. Groovy. Glad you did it. Hope it helps.
    I’ve been to 47 states and would like to go to 48. I’ve been only to a few countries, all in our hemisphere. *checks map* Yes, that’s right. I endeavor to travel abroad and further northwest, Jasper and Banff particularly, but at no time foreseeable, and certainly not in the next three years, as it is doubtful we shall receive additional time and monies simultaneously.
    Best “vacation” was a three-day in Niagara, just the two of us. Spur of the moment, 2001, tent, hike, falls, gardens, hotel, fancy city day, home.
    Worst vacation… nope. Don’t have a bad vacation to report.

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    1. joey, you’ve seen a lot of the country which is a cool thing. I hope to take in more of the USA when we get older and have the time to drive around slowly instead of our usual zippity in and out approach to travel. I haven’t been to Niagara in years. All I remember from it is being wet. If you get to Banff you won’t be disappointed. It was one of the best places I’ve visited– the vistas, the ambiance, the hiking, the food, the beer… ❤️

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  40. Wow, you’ve been all over! I travel every week for work so I have to have TSA and Clear. Otherwise I’d go bonkers. We are heading to the UK in October. We’ve spent a lot of time in Colorado this bummer. It’s been nice. What happened in AZ?? Lol

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    1. pam, I’d like to visit the UK again. It’s a beautiful destination as I remember it. Sounds like a fun trip.

      As for AZ the weather was too hot [June] and the whole state smelled like a cat box. We were always on a highway driving, driving, driving somewhere– and when we got to our destinations there. were. people. everywhere. It was too much all the time for me to ever feel relaxed.

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