TSA Marijuana Rules Explained (Flying with Weed) [2023]

Laws regarding marijuana are quickly changing around the US. But what does this mean for flying and getting through TSA airport security?

There is a lot to consider on the topic but it’s not as complex as you might think if you break it all down the right way. In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about TSA’s rules on marijuana and how to fly sky high with weed.

What are TSA’s rules on marijuana?

TSA is not actively looking for marijuana when you go through airport security.

However, if they discover that you have marijuana they may refer you to local law-enforcement. Depending on the state and local laws, you could be subject to criminal prosecution, have your stash confiscated, or simply not face any consequences.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Marijuana in jar

TSA’s purpose

TSA stands for “Transportation Security Administration” and the purpose is to “strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems while ensuring the freedom of movement for people and commerce.”

TSA is concerned about dangerous threats such as explosives and not with enforcing laws and penal codes. This is why they do not check for arrest warrants.

So TSA agents are not actively going to search your carry-on bag or personal item for marijuana.

That should make you feel a little bit better if you were planning on bringing marijuana on a plane but you still need to understand that you can still get busted for marijuana even in states that have legalized it.

Keep reading below for more.

The federal status of marijuana

Marijuana with over 0.3% THC is a “Schedule I” drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and illegal to possess.

So trying to get it through airport security (which is controlled by federal employees) can still be very problematic.

The official TSA stance on marijuana (including medical marijuana) is this:

Marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law [. . .] TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities. 

“TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs. In the event a substance that appears to be marijuana is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.

So TSA officers are required to report violations of the law and it is explicitly stated that they will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer. What exactly happens when you get referred depends on the state laws and local laws/ordinances of the airport.

Related: Can You Bring CBD on a Plane?

Airport policies

Airports have different rules about carrying marijuana within the airport.

LAX provides a pretty good explanation of how things currently stand:

As of January 1, 2018, California law allows for individuals 21 years of age or older to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana for personal consumption….

APD officers, who are California Peace Officers, have no jurisdiction to arrest individuals if they are complying with state law. However, airport guests should be aware that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening stations are under federal jurisdiction. Also, passengers should be aware that marijuana laws vary state by state and they are encouraged to check the laws of the states in which they plan to travel.

This gives us some guidance to understand how things currently work.

Airport police

First, some airports such as LAX make it 100% legal to possess certain quantities of marijuana within the airport and state that airport police do not have jurisdiction to arrest travelers so long as they are complying with the laws on marijuana possession.

Airports in New York recently made it legal to possess weed at their airports as well.

So if you were just walking through the airport terminal with weed in your pocket you would not be breaking the law or subject to being arrested.

But note that some states where marijuana is legal still have airports that ban marijuana within the airport.

This is the case at Denver International Airport (DEN) and McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, which has an ordinance banning possession. In Minnesota, bringing marijuana to the airport could also be a bad idea.

At these airports you may find so-called “amnesty boxes” which are designed for you to drop your marijuana products into before heading through the airport.

If you are hyperventilating about getting arrested it might be a good idea to go ahead and drop your goods in such a box (or perhaps just drop them in the trash more discreetly).

However, it doesn’t seem that a lot of travelers actually use them.

TSA screening stations

The tricky part is that the TSA screening stations are under federal jurisdiction (or at least abide by federal laws). So when you are transporting marijuana through a TSA security station you are arguably in violation of federal law.

The policy mentioned above of referring you to law-enforcement comes into play here.

At airports like LAX in California, you would expect airport police to simply allow you to fly with your weed assuming you are within the limits allowed.

If you are above those limits you could be charged with drug trafficking so it is a line that you absolutely need to pay attention to so that you don’t cross it.

In places where marijuana is prohibited, getting referred to law-enforcement could mean getting ticketed or arrested.

Related: TSA Rules for Bringing Lighters on Planes

State laws

Finally, there is the consideration of state laws.

If you were flying from LAX to a state like Texas where marijuana is not legal the big consideration would be that once you land any possession of marijuana is illegal. So if for some reason your checked baggage was inspected in Texas and they found marijuana, you would be in violation of the law.

According to TSA reps, TSA agents do not factor in the legality of marijuana in the state you are in or the state you’re headed to. To them, it’s all the same. I doubt it plays out like that in practice, though.

Would an agent living in a state where marijuana is legal be as inclined to refer someone to law-enforcement as an agent living in a state where it is illegal?

I doubt it.

Related: Which states have legalized marijuana

The key questions to ask

Many admit that the current status of marijuana laws in air travel is a bit of a tangled mess.

States and airports have different policies and TSA agents have different inclinations in how they handle their “discovery” of marijuana. Therefore, it is really hard to guarantee how each case will play out.

But I would boil it down to answering the following three questions:

  • Has the state you are departing from legalized marijuana?
  • Are you within the state’s legal limits of personal possession of marijuana (quantity and age)?
  • Does the airport allow passengers to posses marijuana?

If the answer to all three of these questions is “yes,” you should not have to worry about getting arrested or your weed getting confiscated when going through airport security.

There still is the issue that when flying you are subject to federal jurisdiction so technically it is still illegal to bring marijuana on a plane but as long as you are not toking up during take-off (or in a lavatory) that should not be an issue.

If you answer “no” to any of those questions above there is always a risk you could be arrested.

Also, if the destination you are landing at has not legalized marijuana there could be a problem if you or your bag is searched there.

Related: Can You Smoke Weed in a Hotel Room?

thc gummies

What can happen when you get caught with marijuana at the airport

If you were bringing weed through airport security there are a number of different things that could happen (or not happen).

Nothing happens

A lot of people head through airport security every day and a lot of them have some type of marijuana with them. Yet, nothing at all happens. It’s entirely possible that you could get through airport security without any issues whatsoever.

Get referred to law enforcement and nothing happens

It’s possible that a TSA agent could discover that you have marijuana and report you to a law enforcement officer only for that officer to basically say that it is okay for you to fly with marijuana.

Marijuana gets disposed

If a TSA agent discovers that you have marijuana they could simply throw it out if they don’t feel like referring you to law enforcement.

You get fined or arrested

In some cases you could get referred to law enforcement and get fined, cited, or taken to the slammer. If you are a frequent flyer with Global Entry you could potentially lose your membership so that is a risk to consider.

How travelers get caught with marijuana

The people who typically get caught with marijuana in airport security are those who make things easily discoverable. There are two things to consider about getting caught with marijuana: 1) the type (or state) of the marijuana and 2) the location of your marijuana.

Type of marijuana

The type of marijuana that you are traveling with and the location you store it in will often dictate what happens.


TSA agents could easily discover marijuana when it is in its natural flower state. For one, it often carries a pretty pungent odor and has a pretty distinct look. It’s also often accompanied by jars or other cannabis items.

If you are bringing flower/bud with you and you have a grinder that will be visible on an x-ray that is pretty much asking to get caught and potentially arrested depending on where you are. Unless you are in a state and an airport where marijuana possession is legal, transporting marijuana in its flower state is pretty risky.


Edibles can be virtually indistinguishable from normal chocolates, gummies, and baked goods. Since you are allowed to bring food through TSA, edibles are one of the hardest types of MJ to detect in your luggage.

The packaging on edibles should display that there is THC and a lot of times the actual edibles will have a THC designation. So if a TSA agent did take a close look it wouldn’t be hard for them to know that you were transporting THC unless there was no packaging indicating that.


A lot of vape cartridges containing THC look identical to those containing CBD or other non-THC products. For this reason, it is very difficult for a TSA agent to know that your vape has illegal THC.

Be careful about bringing vapes because there are specific rules about batteries.

You never want to carry lithium-ion batteries in your checked baggage and you may be limited to just two vape batteries for your carry-on. If you go overboard with vapes or batteries you may be calling attention to yourself which could lead to a closer inspection of your items.

Related: TSA Rules for Vapes and e-Cigarettes

Creams & oils

Creams and oils are subject to the TSA liquids rule and so if you do not have TSA Pre-Check you will have to take your liquids out of your bag which may lead to a closer inspection.

If you have THC or CBD in powder form sometimes powders can force you to undergo extra scrutiny so be aware of that risk.

Marijuana edible


On your person

Putting cannabis or cannabis related products such as a pipe, joint papers, vape, etc. in your pocket when heading through something like a full-body scanner will almost always be detected.

Those scanners can pick up even the smallest items and TSA agents will see exactly where the item is located. You will then be searched until the item is found. At that point, you will be at the mercy of the TSA agent or the law enforcement officer you get referred to.


Your carry-on and personal item such as a backpack will have to go through the x-ray scanner at airport security. An attentive and experienced TSA agent could easily detect obvious cannabis items like grinders and pipes and probably a bag of bud as well.

But as mentioned above some items like edibles and vape cartridges are basically indistinguishable from legal items so it would require a TSA agent to be very curious (and basically out to hunt for THC items) in order for them to inspect them.

In some cases you could be subject to SSSS which is a more enhanced secondary screening. It is often used for people on certain watchlists but it can also be issued on a completely random basis.

If you are subject to SSSS screening it is possible that an agent will take a very close look at all of the items in your carry-on bag and could then discover that you have marijuana. It will be up to their discretion to decide what to do.

Checked baggage

There are a lot of crevices and pockets you could find in a checked baggage so TSA agents may struggle to find (or identify) your pot in checked baggage, especially if it is in edible or vape form. And even if they did find it, they may just throw it out without referring you to law enforcement.

Some TSA agents are on record stating that if an item is found in your checked baggage it would simply be thrown out and they would not bother with tracking you down for a potential arrest.

However, if you are trying to transport high quantities of marijuana in your checked baggage that might be more easily detected and depending on the amount, you could be charged with drug trafficking if caught.

Tip: Avoid trying to conceal marijuana and vapes inside of things like a jar of peanut butter. That looks very suspicious and could easily be detected as a threat.

Marijuana bag

What about the dogs at the airport?

If you see a dog sniffing around at the airport it is most likely sniffing out potential explosives and not drugs such as marijuana.

In other countries drug sniffing dogs are more common so just be aware that at some airports it is possible for a dog to be tracking down drugs.

International travel

International travel is a completely different ballgame when it comes to marijuana.

You are not allowed to transport marijuana to other countries per federal law and some countries have some very draconian laws when it comes to getting caught with drugs. For example, someone was sentenced to death in Singapore when they were found with two pounds of cannabis.

And of course, many of us know about the Brittney Griner situation in Russia, where she was sentenced to nine years in prison but released after the US made a controversial deal with Russia.

So bringing marijuana into other jurisdictions is not something you would want to test.

My advice would be to never attempt to fly internationally with marijuana because the penalties could be very severe.

Related: Can You Take Cigarettes on a Plane?

Final word

When it comes to TSA and marijuana laws we don’t have 100% clarity on how things will be handled in every case. But we do have a general idea of how things will play out.

If you transport marijuana discreetly (edible, vape, etc.) there is a low chance that it will be detected. And if you are in a state where it is legal and an airport where it is not banned, there is essentially no risk of you getting in trouble with the law despite it being illegal on the federal level.

A Taste of Mackinac Island: A History of Fudge on the Island

Mackinac Island is the self-proclaimed “fudge capital of the world” and for good reason.

With over a dozen fudge shops dotting the island, Mackinac boasts a rich tradition of fudge-making that spans over a century.

Our recent first-time visit to Mackinac Island offered us the chance to indulge in this delightful treat, and we were so deeply impressed by the exceptional fudge quality that couldn’t pass the opportunity to write an article about the experience.

Mackinac Island fudge, a brief history

Mackinac Island’s reputation for sweet treats goes back to the to the time when the island transitioned from being a hub for fur trading to a sought-after summer retreat during the Victorian era.

Native Americans like the Anishinaabeg had a long tradition of harvesting maple sugar on the island. And after wars were no longer being fought on the island and fur trading phased out, vacationers came here for the sweet delight of maple sugar.

During the 1880s, the Murdick family made their way to Mackinac Island and established the island’s inaugural candy store, Murdick’s Candy Kitchen.

Henry Murdick and his son, Jerome “Rome” Murdick, who were skilled sail makers, used the back of the candy store building to craft sails. Whenever sailors and other customers visited, Henry’s wife, Sara Murdick, astounded them with her remarkable confectionery creations.

In due course, she began to experiment with fudge-making, and her son Rome quickly learned the recipe, becoming skilled at crafting these delectable treats too.

Savoring sweets while vacationing soon became an integral aspect of the Mackinac Island tourist tradition as other fudge shops also opened up on the island.

Mackinac Island fudge making

Rome Murdick became the first on Mackinac Island to craft fudge using marble slabs, a technique that bestowed a distinctive creamy texture to the product while simultaneously serving as an entertaining spectacle for customers.

With the addition of music, these fudge-making performances became a bit of a show.

Onlookers were captivated as they witnessed the workers guide the fudge through its entire production process.

The process commenced with a blending of chocolate, sugar, cream, and butter in a copper kettle, skillfully maintained at the ideal temperature with the aid of an oak paddle.

Following this, the skilled artisans expertly molded and gently worked the cooling fudge into loaves before executing precise cuts to create individual, delectable pieces.

In an effort to attract more customers, Rome Murdick and his oldest son, Gould, utilized the cooling fans in their kitchen to disperse the irresistible aroma of freshly-made fudge out into the streets, effectively enticing passersby and helping to revitalize their business.

Mackinac Island fudge experienced both peaks and valleys throughout the first half of the 20th century, navigating the challenges posed by two world wars and the Great Depression.

As sugar became rationed and tourism dwindled, several fudge shops on the island were forced to shut their doors, including Gould who sold the business to Harold May in 1940. May would go on to create May’s, another beloved fudge shop on the island.

Meanwhile, Jerome Murdick, Gould’s half-brother, eventually opened Murdick’s Candy Kitchen, re-igniting the family’s fudge legacy on the island during the 1950s.

Mackinac Island fudge making

After World War II, the country’s economy took off and the expanding interstate highway system made it easier than ever for people to visit Mackinac Island.

Fudge shops proliferated, and by the 1960s the island’s visitors coming for the fudge were known as “fudgies.” Shops experimented with new flavors of fudge and worked to make Mackinac Island synonymous with the treat. 

Some shops in the area even attempted to branch out nationwide, which is how we encountered a random candy shop in Georgetown, Colorado, with past ties to Mackinac’s “fudge rush.” Others now have locations in places like Chicago and even Martha’s Vineyard.

Today, over a dozen fudge shops grace Main Street and surrounding area.

It’s said that the island imports 10 tons of sugar per week, handcrafts an average of ten thousand pounds of fudge daily, and that each shop can make up to five hundred pounds a day. The designation of the “fudge capital of the world” certainly appears well-deserved.

As you wander down Main Street, you’ll notice that certain brands have expanded to multiple locations (often within a short distance of each other), making them impossible to miss.

They run on different schedules so you’ll have to just poke around the shop to see fudge making in process but it’s not very difficult to find the workers in action.

Mackinac Island fudge

As far as the Murdick legacy goes, there are only a few stores that still have a direct lineage connection to the family but none of them are located on Mackinac Island.

That’s because Bob Benser, Sr. bought the Murdicks’ business in 1969 after opening an ice cream shop next to Murdick’s Candy Kitchen and learning how to make the delicious fudge.

So if you’re looking for fudge shops with the direct Murdick family tie, you’ll need to find them in other areas like Traverse City, Michigan.

On our visit to Mackinac Island, we ventured into several of the different fudge shops including Original Murdick’s Fudge, Joann’s Fudge, Ryba’s Fudge Shop, and a few others.

We picked up on some of the differences between the flavors and textures and enjoyed most of the different shops we tried but our ultimate favorite was Murdick’s.

It’s said that you don’t have to worry about the fudge melting which is a relief but you don’t want to refrigerate your fudge (apparently you can freeze it for a while without ruining it). Lots of the shops allow for online orders so you can always purchase gifts for people later on, after you’ve had your fair sampling.

Final word

While fudge making was not invented here (it likely was invented near Baltimore when someone accidentally “fudged” a batch of caramel) Mackinac Island certainly helped transform it into a cherished part of American culinary tradition, particularly when on vacation.

For someone like me, who is not a true fudge person, it says a lot that I could not get enough of the chocolate walnut fudge from Murdick’s. If you catch a fresh batch of that, it’s really hard to put down. By the way, if you’re headed to the airport after making your fudge purchase, be sure to read our guide so that you don’t trip off alarms!

9 Hocus Pocus Filming Sites to Visit in Salem That Will Put A Spell On You [2023]

Salem, Massachusetts was the primary filming location for one of the most popular Halloween movies from the 1990s: Hocus Pocus.

It’s been nearly three decades but Hocus Pocus fans can still run amok at a lot of the original filming spots located throughout the charming and fascinating city of Salem.

In this article, I will give you the most efficient way to visit these filming sites and also give you some tips into how to line up your photos with movie screen stills!

Map of Hocus Pocus Filming Sites

The best routes for exploring Hocus Pocus locations in Salem

The easiest way to see all of the Hocus Pocus filming locations in Salem is to lump them into three separate groups and then decide how you want to explore each group (walking, driving, etc.).

Group 1:

  • Ropes Mansion and Garden (318 Essex St)
  • Old Town Hall (161 Essex St)
  • Phillips Elementary School (next to 56 Washington Square)
  • Salem Common (next to 82 Washington Square)

Group 2:

  • Max and Dani’s House (4 Ocean Ave)
  • Pioneer Village (98 West Ave)

Group 3:

  • Old Burial Hill Cemetery
  • Crocker Park
  • 85 Washington St
Map of Hocus Pocus movie filming locations.

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Exploring Group 1 via walking could be done in as short as 15 to 20 minutes from point to point, so it’s a great way to hit some cool Hocus Pocus spots in a very short amount of time.

If you want to add on the sites from Group 2, the time needed for the full walking tour from the Ropes Mansion (318 Essex St) to Pioneer Village (98 West Ave) would be about one hour (one-way).

The Old Burial Hill Cemetery is not located in Salem and is a handful of miles away so if you plan on walking that will take you an additional couple of hours. Using a rental car or calling an Uber would be a better way to go for a lot of people.

We broke our Hocus Pocus tour into two days.

The first day we explored Group 1 sites and then took a short break before heading down to check out the Group 2 locations.

The next day, we chose to drive out to Old Burial Hill Cemetery at sunrise to avoid the crazy October traffic in Salem. After that visit we then took off to Danvers to check out some of the real witch trial memorial sites.

Tip: If you want to start from the very beginning, you can use my pre-set directions here.

I would also recommend to focus on Hocus Pocus locations separately from the Salem witch trial sites.

While it might be more efficient to check out both sites at the same time, visiting the Hocus Pocus filming sites is more about having fun while visiting the historic sites and memorials for the Salem witch trials is more about reflection and remembrance.

I think it is a better experience to explore them separately but that is just me.

Related: The Harry Potter London Tour Review at Warner Brothers Studio

Old Burial Hill Cemetery Hocus Pocus movie.
Old Burial Hill Cemetery at sunrise.

Ropes Mansion and Garden

  • Google Map address: 318 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
  • Website

Photo/visit notes

The Ropes Mansion is very easy to find and it is right next to the The Witch House at Salem.

To get your movie shot, simply stand in front of the Ropes Mansion and take your photo from the street or sidewalk. To align your photo with a screenshot from the film, make sure you are getting all four posts from the gate.

Movie scenes

  • 23:49

The Ropes Mansion is Allison’s house where they had the fancy Halloween party with Colonial ball costumes. It’s also the site of the infamous and cringe-worthy “yabbos” scene.

When we visited in October, we didn’t find any jack-o’-lanterns or haystacks outside but a day or two before Halloween they might decorate the house in Hocus Pocus fashion.

The actual filming of the party in the interior of the house took place in California at the Crank House, which interestingly enough was also used as the Omega Beta Zeta house from Scream 2 according to iamnotastalker.com.

Did you know? Dozens of black cats were used for Binx with each cat having special abilities that could be tapped into for the specific scene (e.g., jumping, staying still, etc.)

Allison's house Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

Built in 1727 and extensively remodeled in 1894, The Ropes Mansion is one of the most iconic buildings in Salem and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The mansion is now the property of the Peabody Essex Museum. You can walk onto the property and even head to the back where there is a pretty elaborate garden. If you want to explore the interior you can also book a tour. Just be warned, the mansion is apparently haunted!

Ropes Mansion and Garden Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

Old Town Hall

  • Google Map address: 161 Essex Street
  • Website

Photo/visit notes:

The Old Town Hall, a National Historic Site, is located right in the middle of town and is about an 8 minute walk from the Ropes Mansion. The side of the building used in the movie did not have stairs and it looks a little different on each side so in case you are in doubt about the correct side, take photos from both angles.

Movie scenes

  • 54:22

This is the building where Max’s parents attended their Halloween party and Bette Midler did her famous rendition of “Put a Spell on You.” The actual filming of the interior took place in California at the The MacArthur’s Elks Hall according to iamnotastalker.com.

Town Hall Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

You can go inside Old Town Hall today and it hosts several events.

The most notable of these events is the interactive play Cry Innocent (about to hit 30 years running…). This tells the story of Bridget Bishop’s trial and allows audience members to participate as members of the Puritan jury. Tickets are about $25. Read more about the play here.

Town Hall Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.
Town Hall Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

If you want to enjoy a nice buttery lobster roll, you can eat at the Lobster Shanty. Some tables set up for outdoor dining have a great view of Old Town Hall.

Related: Goldbelly Lobster Rolls (McLoons) Review (Order from anywhere in the US!)

Looking at Town Hall Hocus Pocus movie from Lobster Shanty in Salem MA.

Did you know? In South America, Hocus Pocus went under the title “Abracadabra.”

Phillips Elementary School

  • Google Map address: 56 Washington Square (next door)
  • Website: None

Photo/visit notes

The Phillips Elementary School is located on the perimeter of the Salem common. You could put in the address 86 Essex St but that will take you to the back of the building.

So I would just head to the Salem Common and then walk along S Washington Square. The old elementary school will be right next to 56 Washington Square. You can’t miss it.

Movie scenes

  • 1:01:28

Phillips Elementary School was used as “Jacob Bailey High School” and featured in the early scene where the students are leaving school. Somewhat accurately referred to as a “prison, for children” by the witches, it is also the place later on where Max and Allison trick the witches and melt them down into a green trail of smoke.

Max's High School Hocus Pocus movie.
  • 1:03:11
Max's High School Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

The elementary school reportedly shut down in 1992 which was just one year before Hocus Pocus was made. From everything I can tell, this building looks like it might serve residential purposes now.

Related: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Review

Max's High School Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

Salem Common

  • Google Map address: 82 Washington Square
  • Website

Photo/visit notes

The Phillips Elementary school and Salem Common film site are located in virtually the same spot so you should be able to knock out two birds with one stone.

Movie scenes

  • 14:13

The scene in the Salem Common looks like it was shot from outside the fenced area near 82 Washington Square.

You can try to line up your shot with the screen still from the movie by using the basketball court as a frame of reference.

However, this one is tough because it’s possible they framed the shot with a nice zoom lens and I’m pretty sure the color change trees were fake, which kind of throws off your alignment.

Salem Common Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

Established in 1667, the Common was initially a partial swamp where livestock roamed freely. Over time, it also became grounds for early militia drilling and may have even been the birthplace of the National Guard.

Eventually, efforts were made to beautify the area and the wrought iron fence around the Common was put up in 1850. Today, this is one of the popular places in Salem for strolling around and for local events.

You’ll likely encounter some food carts here serving up all sorts of different items like crepes, hot chocolate, and fried foods. The prices here were very expensive and the quality in my experience was not very great so keep that in mind.

Salem Common Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

Max and Dani’s House

  • Google Map address: 4 Ocean Ave
  • Website: None

Photo/visit notes

From Salem Common this would be about a 1.5 mile one-way walk so it will take you about 30 minutes to get there.

It’s a nice walk down Lafayette Street and a great opportunity to check out a lot of the local architecture. If you’re visiting in October, you’ll see a lot of houses going all out for Halloween. This is Salem, after all!

Max and Dani’s House is also located extremely close to Pioneer Village so you can knock those two out at the same time.

Movie scenes

  • 17:25

You’ll see their house several times in the movie including when they open the spell book and a bright beam of orange light is shot from the crow’s nest atop the house.

Max and Dani's house Hocus Pocus movie.
  • 1:09:53
Max and Dani's house Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

Max and Dani’s House is a private residence so you absolutely want to keep your distance and show respect. I’ve heard that the owner is really cool but your best bet is to stay in the street to take a couple of photos.

You might also want to take photographs in the opposite direction since this house has a pretty amazing view of the water, which was not depicted in the movie (but included in the deleted scenes).

Max and Dani's house Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

Pioneer Village 

  • Google Map address: 98 West Ave, Salem, MA 01970
  • Website

Photo/visit notes

The village is tucked away behind a baseball park and could be very easy to miss. It is only about a 7 minute walk from Max and Dani’s House. Check out the open hours and dates below if you want to visit.

Movie scenes

  • 2:16

The opening scenes of the film (before Thackery Binx made his feline transition) were filmed at Pioneer Village. Because it was closed when we visited, we were not able to explore this place closely. But even if it is closed when you arrive, you can still peak over the fence and check out a couple of the structures that were used in the movie.

Pioneer Village Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

Pioneer Village, built in the 1930s, is America’s first living history museum and still offers tours. As of October 2021, they were only open on weekends from 12 to 4pm with a $5 admission ticket. So be prepared for odd and limited hours.

Pioneer Village Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

Old Burial Hill Cemetery

  • Google Map address: Marblehead, MA 01945
  • Website

Photo/visit notes:

From Salem Common this would be about a 4.5 mile one-way walk, taking you about 1.5 hours. For that reason, you may want to drive or take an Uber.

There are a few areas to park along the street nearby and if you go early in the morning (we went around sunrise) you should be able to easily find a spot somewhere close.

When you get there, you will see Fountain Park on one side and then some steps taking you to the cemetery on the other side. It’s a short uphill walk and to find the specific spot that was used in the film.

Movie scenes

  • 15:45

This scene is where Max ends up shoeless after he has a run-in with the two bullies: Jay and Ernie (aka Ice). This spot is cool because you can get in the exact same location that was filmed in the movie by finding the specific tombstones.

Shortly after you enter the graveyard you will look to your left and you’ll be looking for two tombstones that are angled towards each other (pictured below in the bottom left). The name on the tombstone you are looking for is: Mary Doak.

I think that the tombstone pictured below on the right is either a fake or was removed for some reason because I did not see it in person.

There are also a couple of other tombstones you can find that were used in individual scenes, like when Max was riding his bike into the cemetery.

Old Burial Hill Cemetery in Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

In case you couldn’t tell this is a real graveyard (and in fact it is one of the oldest in New England dating back to 1638). It’s said that about 600 Revolutionary soldiers were buried here so be sure to be respectful.

Old Burial Hill Cemetery in Hocus Pocus movie Marblehead MA.

If you want to add an extra location to your stop check out nearby Crocker Park. There is where a quick scene was shot where Max is overlooking the city right after dealing with the bullies and you can check out that overlook.

  • 17:19
Old Burial Hill Cemetery in Hocus Pocus movie.

You can also head to a nearby intersection at 85 Washington St, Marblehead, MA 01945. This is where another very short clip of Max riding his bike back home after getting bullied was shot.

  • 15:22
Max riding bike Hocus Pocus movie.

Los Angeles, CA Locations

As mentioned above, some of the shots from the movie were also filmed in Los Angeles.

If you remember the scene where the Sanderson sisters find themselves in the home of their “master” aka Satan (and his not so happy wife), that house is located at 6536 Friends Ave, Whittier, CA 90601.

Another house was used was 6546 Friends Ave, located just two houses down from the house above. This house was only seen briefly in a scene where kids were trick-or-treating.

Interestingly, the shot where they are celebrating after melting the witches was actually shot at the Warner Bros. Ranch. It’s the same park and fountain used in the intro of Friends.

Also, in case you were wondering the graveyard where the Sanderson sisters turned to stone/died and their house where they brewed their potions were filmed on Stage 2 on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, CA.

Information found via iamnotastalker.com.

Hocus Pocus 2 filming location

Hocus Pocus 2 how now been released!

Filming began in the fall of 2021 and at least one filming site was open to the public at Chase Park in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

A large portion of the park was partitioned off but they still left a trail on the fringes that you could follow and get a good view of the set.

The set at Chase Park consisted of a small colonial village, which we were able to capture below.

Hocus Pocus 2 movie filming Lincoln RI.
The new Hocus Pocus 2 movie set getting built!

Final word

Salem Massachusetts already has a ton of interesting and fascinating places to see. But if you are a fan of Hocus Pocus, you’ve got the added pleasure of checking out these cool sites. If you follow this guide you should be able to efficiently visit all of these filming places and know exactly what to look for.

Can You Order DoorDash, UberEats, or GrubHub When at A Hotel? [2023]]

So you are staying at a hotel but you are not quite feeling the hotel restaurant or room service.

Or perhaps you are over the continental breakfast and looking for some local cuisine to enjoy but you don’t want to get out.

You may be wondering if you can get a food delivery service like DoorDash, UberEats, or GrubHub to deliver to your hotel.

Well, I have some good news for you but also some important tips that you need to know about. Keep reading below to find out everything you need to consider when ordering food delivery services at a hotel.

Can you order DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub when staying at a hotel?

Yes, you can usually order DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub, and many other food delivery services when staying at a hotel.

But it’s the hotel’s policy on food deliveries you need to be worried about — not the food delivery service.

Be aware that a minority of hotels may have a “no outside food policy” and may not allow for food deliveries.

In addition, getting the food delivered straight to your hotel room may be challenging in certain settings so it’s often a good idea to hang out in the lobby whenever your driver is arriving and receive your food there.

There are lots of tips that will help you avoid frustrating scenarios and keep reading below for more of them!

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Tips for ordering food delivery services at hotels

Check for promo codes

It’s super common to be able to find promo codes that can save you money on your food delivery orders. These are those little codes like “EATS20” that you input just before you select the final order button in the app.

Whether you are using DoorDash, Uber Eats, or GrubHub, these can often be found throughout the year. Many times they are targeted so you have to use some trial and error to find a code that works but when they do work you can save a good amount of money.

Check for bonuses

In addition to promo codes, you can also sometimes earn extra points when getting food delivery services at hotels.

For example, Marriott and UberEats have a special partnership that allows you to earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on Uber Eats deliveries to hotels operating under Marriott brands in the United States with a minimum $25 basket.

Ask about the hotel rules

Hotels may not allow delivery drivers to deliver food to the hotel if they have a “no outside food policy.”

For example, the Hotel Zaza, a famous luxury brand in Houston, has a policy that states no food is permitted from outside sources.

They even reserve the right to confiscate the food, turn away the deliveries, and cancel your reservation! Kind of crazy.

I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels over the past few years and I’ve never experienced this, so I believe this would only happen in a small minority of hotels that are over protective about their on-site restaurants.

A more common restriction is that some hotels will not allow food delivery drivers to deliver food directly to your room’s door.

Instead, they may have a special lane that the delivery drivers can temporarily park in or a policy that requires them to deliver the food to the lobby area.

For example, there may be a designated table near the check-in desk where food deliveries are dropped off.

It seems that “fancier” hotels or those found in places like Disney World or Universal Studios may be more likely to have policies like this.

But I’ve also seen it at lower end properties, too.

This is more of a security thing and the properties are just trying to be protective of their guests which is understandable.

So before you place your order you may want to call the front desk and inquire about any food delivery policies that they have to save yourself some potential trouble later on.

Uber eats food delivery area hotel lobby

Choose the right delivery method

If given the option, you want to choose the right delivery method for the particular hotel you’re staying in.

You want to consider the hotel rules for delivery but also other factors like what the parking situation is like.

If there is basically no parking outside the facility, and you’re asking the delivery driver to come to your room that could make things a little difficult.

A lot of delivery drivers can simply temporarily park in the portes-cochères (hotel driveway) and enter the hotel so this is not always a real issue.

But remember, some hotels get super busy during rush hour and there may not even be a place to pull in. I actually once experienced this firsthand in Washington DC.

Also, if the hotel requires some sort of key card to enter that will obviously make things very difficult for a food delivery driver.

That can be very common during after hours when ordering food at night.

Even though most hotels are easier to deliver to than apartments, most delivery drivers will probably prefer to meet you in the lobby or in the portes-cochères.

But since coronavirus, some of these delivery services are requiring contactless delivery.

This means that the ideal scenario might be for them to drop off the meal at the front desk and then alert you that the food has been delivered.

Waiting in the hotel lobby for your food to arrive is a best practice.

Leave notes/delivery instructions

Perhaps the most important thing to do when getting food delivered to your hotel is to provide clear notes or delivery instructions.

Here are some things you should try to always include:

Name of hotel

Don’t just rely on the map pin or default address.

Type out the name of the hotel so that the delivery driver has no doubt about the destination.

Some neighboring hotels may have similar names like “Holiday Inn” vs “Holiday Inn Express” so be sure to be specific as possible.

Watch out for dual-branded properties (hotels with two names) because those can be confusing to delivery drivers, too.


Putting your name in the notes can make things a little bit easier, especially if you were to mess up on the room number.

Room Number

If you are expecting the delivery driver to bring the food directly to your room then be sure to include your room number.

Additional Details

It helps to include additional details like the floor and if the hotel is a little confusing to navigate perhaps add some guidance about which way to turn assuming you can make that clear.

Extra helpful will be if you can include directions like, “take a right out of the elevator and I’m at the end of the hallway.”


If you plan on meeting the driver outside or in the lobby you can let them know something like “I’m wearing a red shirt.”

Text when arriving

Ask the driver to text you whenever they are arriving so that if issues are encountered they can be easily fixed.

You’ll find that each food delivery service has slightly different options so just try to work with what you can in terms of providing specifics.

For example, take a look at the Uber Eats address information below. You could easily provide the room number, name of hotel, delivery option, instructions, and even a label like “hotel.”

Instructions could be: “will meet you outside front lobby door.”

Uber eats delivery instructions

DoorDash also allows you to input your drop off preferences so you can choose for them to hand it to you or leave it at your door. You can also provide drop off instructions such as asking the driver to ring the doorbell after they drop off your food or call or text you.

DoorDash delivery instructions

GrubHub also provides you with plenty of options for choosing the type of delivery. You can provide detailed notes and also choose how you would like your delivery such as at your front door, outside the building, in the lobby, etc.

GrubHub delivery instructions

Something worth mentioning is that these delivery options tend to focus on houses, apartments, or businesses.

While hotel deliveries are certainly happening all the time it’s just worth noticing that the menu options don’t exactly cater directly to hotels.

Set the tip at check out

Sometimes you have the option to choose your tip at the time of checkout versus choosing your tip at a later stage. Delivery drivers for services like GrubHub may be able to see the tip at the time they accept the order.

If you are asking them to deliver to your hotel room and they see that you are offering a sweet tip, they may be less willing to push back on delivering the food to your door.

You could also mention that you are a good tipper in the notes of your order to send the same signal. 😉

Related: Should You Tip Uber Eats Drivers?

Track your delivery

If possible, keep a close eye on the status of your delivery. Make note of the time the delivery begins so that you can have your own ETA.

If you are in a big hotel and up on a high floor, head to the elevators early because sometimes those can get slowed down, especially if some are out of order.

When ordering something that could melt or get ruined by temperature be vigilant.

I’ve had a driver deliver something to my room before and not finalize the order or notify me that it had been delivered. So it just sat there for a good 15 to 20 minutes until it was basically ruined.

Simply report that there is a problem with your order if this ever happens and you may be able to get refunded.

Consider pick-up

Something else to think about is that a lot of times restaurants that are partnered with food delivery services are located just next door to your hotel.

Don’t get caught up in thinking you have to use a food delivery service when you could just walk or drive a few minutes over to a nearby restaurant and potentially save on delivery fees.

In concentrated urban cities like New York City and San Francisco this is usually pretty easy to do. But you can also do this in pretty much any downtown area of a major city like Houston, Chicago, etc.

Be prepared for lazy or concerned delivery drivers

Sometimes you put all the effort needed into creating the perfect delivery notes and instructions.

You will provide the hotel name, room number, and clear instructions that ask a delivery driver to place the food at your door and then text you to alert you that the food has been delivered.

You’ll be relaxing in your hotel bed, possibly in your underwear, only to get a call or text from the delivery driver to meet them outside….

This can be highly frustrating and you can handle it in one of two ways.

You can insist that they come and deliver to your room or you can go down and accommodate their request.

Sometimes reiterating a special need can incentivize the driver to come up to the room. For example, maybe you are traveling with a baby or a pet and you do not want to leave them in the hotel room alone.

Some delivery drivers can see your notes before they accept the order but others cannot.

If a driver can see your notes (to deliver to a hotel room) and knowingly disregards them then that is on them. They are the source of friction and they should have just declined the drop off.

In that case you may want to insist they deliver to the room or consider lowering the tip.

But if they don’t see your notes until they start to deliver your food that is more problematic.

In that situation, it is more understandable that some delivery drivers could unexpectedly fear for their safety.

For example, a female delivery driver may be fearful of heading to a hotel room at night to deliver something.

Be extra clean

There’s a tendency that many of us, including myself, are guilty of sometimes.

And that’s being a messy eater in a hotel room.

Some people may just be a little bit messy when they eat in normal settings.

But eating in a hotel room, especially a small hotel room, often makes things worse because it’s not always very practical.

You can resort to some “hacks” like using the iron board as a table and those can work sometimes.

But if you don’t have a table or desk or any other flat surface in your room, you might just eat in bed.

Try to avoid this or just be really careful because spilled food can potentially ruin bedding.

The same obviously applies to room service but a lot of times room service comes with trays or a little wheel-in table, so it’s not always an issue.

Final word

It is definitely possible to have a food delivery service deliver your food to your hotel and even to your hotel room.

The key for a successful delivery is to provide as much detail to the driver as you possibly can so that the delivery method is crystal clear. You also need to clear your request with the hotel first to make sure that you are not violating the hotel’s policy for food deliveries.

If you do all of that and can prepare yourself for a delivery driver who may still not follow the procedure, you’ll be prepared as you can for your hotel food delivery.

Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Policy Guide: (Fees & Rules) [2023]

The Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor policy is a bit different from some of the major airlines like Delta, American, etc.

For one, it’s cheaper to fly with children on Southwest than it is with those other big carriers but there are also differences with the age limits required and also with the routing allowed.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the unaccompanied minor policy for Southwest, including things like fees and all the rules. I’ll also walk you through the entire experience so you’ll know what to expect and then finally offer some tips to make your experience as smooth as possible.

What is the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor policy?

Southwest Airlines requires children ages five through 11 traveling without an accompanying passenger age 12 or older to travel as unaccompanied minors (UMs).

Children aged 12 or older cannot travel as unaccompanied minors and must travel independently though there is “young traveler” policy for kids aged 12 through 17 (more on that below). 

Note: This is different from some other major airlines that set the upper age unaccompanied minor limit at 14, such as Delta and American.

What are the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor fees?

Southwest Airlines charges $50 each way (or $100 roundtrip) for the unaccompanied minor fee. This is in addition to the airfare per child. So if the airfare costs $120 and you’re flying an unaccompanied minor roundtrip, the total cost would be $220. 

This fee is much lower than what the legacy carriers charge. Both Delta and American, for example, charge $150 each way, so you can save a couple of hundred dollars by going with Southwest on a roundtrip ticket. 

Diagram showing Southwest unaccompanied minor fees
Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor fees.

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How to book a Southwest unaccompanied minor reservation 

There are three different ways you can make a booking for an unaccompanied minor. 

  • Book online at southwest.com
  • Call Southwest at 1-800-435-9792
  • Make the reservation at the Southwest ticket counter at the airport

When you enter the child’s birth date online, you will need to indicate whether the child will be traveling with someone over the age of 12.  If not, then you will be required to fill out the unaccompanied minor travel document and pay the fee. 

If you are using Rapid Rewards (points) to make your booking, you can still book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor. 

When you’re ready to make your reservation, you’ll need the following information: 

  • The child’s full name
  • Your relationship to the child
  • The child’s address
  • Telephone number(s), including area code
  • The child’s date of birth
  • Information about both the parent/guardian dropping off and the one picking him/her up
  • Contact information for an alternate designee at the child’s destination
southwest plane on runway
Southwest Airlines has a generous unaccompanied minor policy.

Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor form (PDF)

Here is the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor form. As you can see, you’ll need the information for the parent/guardian dropping off the child as well as the parent/guardian picking up the child. In addition, you’ll need to name an alternate to pick up the child just in case something comes up. 

Dropping off at the airport 

Give yourself plenty of time 

One mistake that many people make when dealing with unaccompanied minors is that they don’t plan properly and allow enough time for them to make it through the airport. When you’re dealing with an unaccompanied minor, you’re going to need to find time to: 

  • Park the car
  • Obtain your escort pass
  • Get the child’s UM lanyard
  • Get through security
  • Check in at the gate
  • Arrive in time for pre-boarding

So be sure to arrive earlier than you usually would if it were just a normal flight. Your goal will be to arrive at the gate no less than 45 minutes prior to the flight’s scheduled departure time.

Once you arrive, you’ll need to stop at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter. This is where you’ll receive a UM lanyard for the child and you (the parent or guardian) will obtain an escort pass. You must get the escort pass to take them through security. 

At check-in, you will need to show the following documents: 

  • A copy of the child’s itinerary
  • Proof of the child’s age (birth certificate, etc.)
  • Your valid, government-issued ID (required to get an escort pass)

Once you have your escort pass and make your way to the gate, you’ll want to check in with a Southwest Airlines Employee at the gate and let them know that you are dropping off a UM. This will help them inform you about pre-boarding but it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure that you child boards the plane at the right time. Read more about how the Southwest boarding process works here. 

Must be accompanied until the plane departs

A parent or guardian must remain in the gate area until the flight is in the air. This is a key thing to remember because many people assume that they don’t need to stick around after escorting the minor to the gate.

The reason you need to stick around is that the plane could come back to the gate even after it has left the gate and the airlines want to make sure that someone will be around to look after the minor in that scenario. 

After the plane has departed be sure to call the parent/guardian picking up the child to let them know that the flight has departed.

In the air 

Flight attendants aren’t babysitters 

While a Southwest flight attendant will maintain general oversight of the child during the flight, it’s important to note that they won’t provide continuous monitoring throughout the journey.

It’s crucial to ensure that your child understands this aspect and to carefully assess their level of maturity before making the decision to allow them to fly alone.

The lanyard 

The child is required to wear the UM lanyard around their neck at all times during the flight so make sure that they are aware of this. 

It’s important that while the child is flying, there are parents or guardians who can be reached via phone in the event there is a change to the plane’s path due to unexpected circumstances. See below about downloading an app to keep you informed of the flight during the entire process (highly recommended).  

Once the flight is over, the child will be escorted to the gate where they can be picked up by the parent or guardian.


The person picking up the child will need to check in at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter to obtain an escort pass that will allow them to go through the security checkpoint and they must show a valid, government-issued ID. 

Parents and guardians picking up an Unaccompanied Minor should arrive at the gate 45 minutes prior to scheduled arrival. Many times planes can arrive very early which is why they want you to arrive so early. The parent or guardian will need to present a valid government-issued photo ID at the time of pick up. 

It’s important to note that Southwest will not release an Unaccompanied Minor to anyone other than the designated parent or guardian. If something comes up and you need to change who the designated parent or guardian is make sure that you talk to someone at the ticket counter before the child’s arrival.

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Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor rules

International destinations

Something that’s very important to note is that Southwest does not provide unaccompanied minor service to and from international destinations. Southwest serves a number of international destinations, so you’ll want to make sure to keep your unaccompanied minor requests to domestic routes. 

If traveling to Hawaii you’ll probably need to fill out the Plants and Animals Declaration Form at the departure gate prior to boarding the aircraft.

Routing restrictions 

Unaccompanied minors are only allowed to travel on nonstop or same-plane service flights. These are flights that might make a stop or two but they do not require passengers to change planes or flight number.

This is different from other legacy carriers that allow connections (depending on routes and age), so if you need more flexible routing you might want to look into other airlines like American or Delta.


Pack snacks 

Southwest does not offer a meal service though they do provide very light snacks on flights. If you think your minor will have an appetite, consider packing food with them to take through the airport (see what foods are allowed through TSA here) or you might just want to purchase something for them at a store within the airport once you get through security.  

Pack entertainment 

Southwest Airlines may not offer the most extensive in-flight entertainment (IFE) options, so it’s a good idea to come prepared with activities to keep your child engaged and entertained during the flight.

While tablets are often a popular choice, you might also consider bringing along items such as toys or coloring books to ensure your child has a variety of options to stay occupied and enjoy a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience.

Charge up those devices

It’s important to note that Southwest Airlines does not provide power outlets on their aircraft. Therefore, it is advisable to ensure that all your electronic devices are adequately charged before your departure to the airport.

This proactive approach ensures that you have sufficient battery life for your devices throughout the duration of your flight, allowing you to stay connected, entertained, or productive as needed during the journey.

Get an app to monitor the flight

I suggest that you download an app like FlightAware that allows you to monitor the progress of your child’s flight.

By using FlightAware or a similar tool, you can stay informed about the flight’s status, including its departure time, estimated arrival time, any delays, and even the plane’s current location during the journey. This added level of visibility can provide parents and guardians with peace of mind and help them stay well-informed throughout the travel process. 


Pets are not allowed to fly with unaccompanied minors. 

This restriction is in place to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers, as well as to avoid potential issues or disruptions that may arise from having animals in close proximity to unaccompanied minors who might require special attention and care during the flight.


It is possible to get refunded for the unaccompanied minor charges. If you cancel your reservation or if your flight is canceled you can get refunded for the charges. Also, if the child is joined by an accompanying passenger age 12 or older they would no longer be an unaccompanied minor and the charges could be refunded. In all cases, contact Southwest at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) or visit the airport ticket counter to process your refund.


Be aware of the liability language that you are agreeing to which states: 


In essence, if your child tends to exhibit unruly behavior, you may be legally responsible for any consequences resulting from their actions. This underscores the importance of ensuring that your child is sufficiently mature to travel independently. Additionally, it’s crucial to assess their ability to handle the responsibilities associated with solo travel.

If you are interested in finding out more tips check out the ultimate guide to unaccompanied minors here.

Young travelers 

Southwest Airlines has a “young traveler” policy for kids ages: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. This only applies for domestic flights. 

According to Southwest’s guidelines, a young traveler must demonstrate a sufficient level of maturity and competence to navigate the entire travel process independently. This entails responsibilities such as checking in, passing through security, boarding, deplaning, and retrieving luggage.

In essence, the child should possess a reasonable degree of self-sufficiency and should not feel overwhelmed by the prospect of navigating a bustling airport. By following the same procedures outlined earlier, you can obtain an escort pass, which allows you to accompany the child through the security checkpoint, all the way to the departure gate, and also to pick them up upon arrival at the gate.

Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor FAQ

What is the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor age limit?

All children ages five through 11 traveling without an accompanying passenger 12 or older must travel as unaccompanied minors.

How much are the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor fees?

You will have to pay $50 each way for the unaccompanied minor fees.

How can I avoid the fees?

You can avoid the unaccompanied minor fees by using a credit card with an airline credit such as the Amex Platinum Card.

Can an unaccompanied minor fly on international flights?

No, an unaccompanied minor cannot fly on Southwest international flights.

How can I book an unaccompanied minor reservation?

You can make an unaccompanied minor reservation online, at the ticket counter at the airport, or by calling Southwest at 1-800-435-9792.

What form do I have to fill out?

You will need to fill out the unaccompanied minor information form.

This is a simple form that just requires you to input contact information for the parent or guardian dropping off the child and the parent or guardian picking them up.

Keep in mind that all contact information must match to a government issued ID for the adults involved in picking up and dropping off the child.

Do I need to arrive early at the airport?

If you are dropping off an unaccompanied minor you will want to arrive early to make sure you have enough time to obtain your escort pass, get through security, and arrive in time for pre-boarding.

Do unaccompanied minors get priority boarding?

Yes, unaccompanied minor passengers may be board during pre-boarding. It’s a good idea to notify the agent at the gate that the unaccompanied minor will be pre-boarding.

Can an unaccompanied minor travel on a connecting flight?

Unaccompanied minors can only travel on nonstop or same plane service flights.

If a flight requires a connecting flight (where the passenger hops on board a different plane) that is not allowed for an unaccompanied minor.

Final word 

The Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor policy is a bit different from the major airlines. It’s not as expensive and it’s also not as strict on the age limits. But it’s also not as flexible when it comes to connecting flights and international travel.  

Cover photo by Tom Hart via Flickr.

Buc-ee’s Ultimate Guide (Locations & Facts) [2023]

If you’ve ever been on a road trip in Texas chances are you or someone in your car has wanted to stop at Buc-ee’s. Over the years, Buc-ee’s has established itself as a distinctly Texan establishment.

But what exactly does Buc-ee’s have to offer that makes it so special?

In this article, I’ll give you the ultimate guide to Buc-ee’s.

You’ll see what exactly is so special about this oversized convenient store and what you can expect when you visit different locations.

What is Buc-ee’s?

Buc-ee’s is a chain of travel centers (convenience stores) that can be found throughout Texas and the South.

The stores are known for their enormous gas station facilities, wide range of food and snack offerings, and most of all: ultra-clean bathrooms.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Things to know about Buc-ee’s

The store that never sleeps (open 24 hours)

All Buc-ee’s locations are open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. So even on major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas you can still experience a good ole Buc-ee’s visit.

What’s more, the stores are often well lit and with all of the security cameras (see below), they generally feel like pretty safe places to stop at.

Related: How Long Does It Take to Drive Across Texas?

Crowds can be an issue

Even though some Buc-ee’s locations are absolutely huge and can cater to throngs of customers, crowds and traffic can still be an issue.

If traveling on a weekend, especially around the holidays, you might have to wait or get aggressive to find an open gas pump.

And when venturing inside, you could run into a madhouse as soon as you pass that little buck-tooth beaver statue outside.

These stores are designed to cater to massive amounts of people so big crowds are not always a problem. Hordes of people seem to move in and out without a lot of issues.

But if you’re expecting a quiet and peaceful visit to a gas station bathroom, you won’t always get that at Buc-ee’s.

For some, the chaos just isn’t worth it.

40+ locations (not only in TX)

To the dismay of many Texans, Buc-ee’s is no longer an exclusively Texan establishment.

In 2019, Buc-ee’s opened their first convenience store/gas station outside of Texas in Alabama.

And now you can now find 40+ locations in states all over the south including Georgia.

More states are being added to the Buc-ee’s roster and you’ll soon be able to find locations in states like Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

Related: How Many Miles Do You Cover When Driving Across the US?

The eyes of Buc-ee’s are upon you

Some Buc-ee’s locations are known to have high levels of surveillance. For example, the Bastrop location has about 200 high-tech cameras.

These are those movie-like cameras that can zoom in and reveal fine details like the type of bill you used to pay for your purchase.

You could be tracked from the time you enter the parking lot to the time that you leave so you don’t want to test the beaver.

Hopefully you don’t ever have to worry about this but if something ever goes down you will need to file a police report and then request for the police to request the surveillance footage from the store.

There’s a Buc-ee’s credit card

The Buc-ee’s credit card, issued by TDECU (Texas Dow Employees Credit Union), will get you $.10 off every gallon and comes with no annual fee.

In terms of rewards, this is not the most rewarding travel credit card but for a true Buc-ee’s fan, it might be worth picking up. You can find out more details about the credit card here.

Not every one wants Buc-ee’s

Believe it or not, not every place on the globe is eager to add a Buc-ee’s.

 Efland, North Carolina did not want one.

Why not?

They worried it would “would worsen traffic congestion, pollute a protected watershed, and offend aesthetic sensitivities.” 

Those seem like some pretty legit concerns so you can’t knock the town but it all probably just comes down to the fact that not everyone outside of Texas will “get” Buc-ee’s.

Where the name came from

Buc-ee’s was founded in 1982 which means that it will turn 40 years old in 2022.

The owner and co-founder, a Texas A&M graduate (whoop!), went by the name of Arch “Beaver” Aplin III and he apparently always had a liking for the Ipana toothpaste mascot known as “Bucky the Beaver.”

One look at that logo and you can see where the inspiration came from for Buc-ee’s.

Not every Buc-ee’s is bigger in Texas

To give you a sense of how big the Buc-ee’s stores can be, consider that the New Braunfels, TX, location boasts:

  • 120 fueling positions
  • 1,000 parking spots
  • 64 ice freezers
  • 83 toilets
  • 31 cash registers
  • four Icee machines
  • and 80 fountain dispensers

The entire New Braunfels store is 66,335 square feet, which is more square feet than a football field.

Seriously, a gas station bigger than a football field.

Only in Texas.

But this may come as a surprise: not every Buc-ee’s location is the size of a small airport or shopping mall.

Several locations are actually quite compact and closer to the size of your regular convenience store.

Many of these smaller locations are in Texas so if you see an out-of-state Buc-ee’s, there’s a good chance that will be on the bigger side.

Bathrooms are NOT overrated

You’ve probably heard about the award-winning bathrooms at Buc-ee’s.

While some gas stations look like a scene from the movie Saw, Buc-ee’s stores are famous for being the cleanest bathrooms you’ll find on the road and in my experience it’s always true.

In fact, the pristine bathrooms found at Buc-ee’s are probably the number one reason why people stop at Buc-ee’s.

But they aren’t just spotless — the bathrooms also are usually huge and spacious.

I’ve never seen a wait for a urinal and only on a couple of occasions have I seen a real line for the stalls.

In the men’s room, you can find walls of urinals with deep floor to ceiling partitions that actually give you real privacy.

For people traveling with families, the consistently clean and private bathrooms are even more attractive.

Bottom line: if you ever need to go on the road, Buc-ee’s is definitely where you want to be.

And just in case you were wondering, you don’t actually have to buy anything to use the bathroom there.

Inside Buc-ee's

You’ll have plenty of food and drink options at Buc-ee’s

Buc-ee’s will have just about every type of snack item you could possibly be craving, including their famous “Beaver Nuggets” which are a sweet combination of caramel, sugar, and butter coated corn puffs.

Prices sometimes feel a little high but some popular items to pick up at the store include:

  • Jerky
  • Fudge
  • Kolaches
  • Dippin dots
  • Sandwiches
  • Tacos
  • Icees (lots of flavors)

If you’re looking for specific suggestions consider these:

  • Hill Country turkey jerky
  • Bohemian garlic jerky
  • Salted caramel covered pretzels
  • Rhino breakfast taco
  • Texas BLT
  • Mediterranean salad wrap

Some locations have a barbecue stand called the Texas Round Up where you can buy pre-made chopped brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, turkey, sausage, etc.

In my experience, the food is not always phenomenal but a solid notch or two above your standard gas station food.

It’s perfect when you’re looking for something quick and hearty on the road.

In terms of barbecue quality, you could certainly do better in Texas by hunting out a BBQ joint.

But the beauty of Buc-ee’s is that it’s highly convenient to pick up a hot BBQ sandwich while also filling up your tank and not having to gamble on the bathroom situation.

The shopping at Buc-ee’s goes well beyond food and drink, though.

You can find all kinds of apparel, souvenirs, and random items.

If your location is near a tourist hotspot with a particular type of attraction then you’ll find gear for your visit such as fishing rods, beach supplies, river tubes/shoes, hunting gear, etc.

Buc-ee's bbq

Buc-ee’s is NOT a truck stop

Buc-ee’s are not truck stops and so you are not going to find any showers or a lot of 18 wheelers hanging around.

In fact, you can often find “no 18 wheelers” signs posted at the entrances.

The reason for this is to keep Buc-ee’s like it is, a family friendly environment without some of the “hassles” that come with truckstops.

Many truckers are unhappy with being denied access to Buc-ee’s — after all, without massive shipments coming in from truckers how else could Buc-ee’s exist?

But one thing is clear, Buc-ee’s is serious about keeping out 18 wheelers and will even escort drivers out of the store who try to make their way in.

They pay great

Working at Buc-ee’s can be a lucrative job opportunity because their employees are well paid.

According to GlassDoor, “The average Bucee’s hourly pay ranges from approximately $16 per hour for a Cashier to $18 per hour for a Team Lead.”

That’s some really good money.

Meanwhile, the typical Circle K Cashier salary is earning $10 per hour and many convenient stores will be closer to $9 per hour.

These mega-convenience stores can get incredibly busy so it helps tremendously to have employees getting sufficiently compensated so that they can help keep things moving at a quick pace.

You may not have windshield cleaners

If there is one major weakness of some Buc-ee’s locations, it’s that they don’t have windshield cleaners or squeegees located at the pumps.

This means that your bug splattered windshield will have to remain dirty on your long journey to you next destination, unless you have some way to clean it yourself.

They have car washes

While you may not find windshield cleaners, some locations have car washes.

As you would expect some of these car washes are going to be quite large just like the one in Katy, Texas, which is the largest car wash in the world.

Gas may or may not be cheaper

I’ve seen gas at Bucee’s priced both a little bit lower and a little bit higher when compared to nearby gas stations.

Buc-ee’s locations



  • 2328 Lindsay Lane South, Athens, AL 35613


  • 2500 Buc-ee’s Blvd., Auburn, AL 36832


  • 6900 Buc-ee’s Blvd., Leeds, AL 35094


  • 20403 County Rd. 68, Robertsdale, AL 36567



  • Expected to be the largest convenience store (and largest Buc-ee’s) in America


Daytona Beach

  • 2330 Gateway North Drive, Daytona Beach, FL 32117

Saint Augustine

  • 200 World Commerce Pkwy, Saint Augustine, FL 32092



  • 601 Union Grove Rd. SE, Adairsville, GA 30103

Warner Robins

  • 7001 Russell Parkway, Fort Valley, GA 31030



  • 1013 Buc-ee’s Boulevard, Richmond, KY 40475

South Carolina


  • 3390 North Williston Road, Florence, SC 29506



  • 2045 Genesis Road, Crossville, TN 38555


  • 170 Buc-ee’s Blvd, Kodak, TN 37764



  • 780 Hwy-35 N Byp, Alvin, TX 77511


  • 2299 E Mulberry St, Angleton, TX 77515
  • 931 Loop 274, Angleton, TX 77515
  • 2304 W Mulberry St, Angleton, TX 77515


  • 1700 Highway 71 East, Bastrop, TX 78602


  • 4080 East Freeway, Baytown, TX 77521


  • 801 N Brooks, Brazoria, TX 77422
  • 1101 S Brooks St, Brazoria, TX 77422 (Closed)


  • 27106 US-290, Cypress, TX 77433


  • 2800 S Interstate 35 E, Denton, TX 76210

Eagle Lake

  • 505 E Main St, Eagle Lake, TX 77434


  • 1402 South IH- 45, Ennis, TX 75119

Fort Worth

  • 15901 N Freeway, Fort Worth, TX 76177


  • 4231 E. Hwy 332, Freeport, TX 77541
  • 1002 N Brazosport Blvd., Freeport, TX 77541


  • 2375 E Austin St, Giddings, TX 78942


  • 27700 Katy Fwy, Katy, TX 77494

Lake Jackson

  • 899 Oyster Creek Drive, Lake Jackson, TX 77566
  • 101 N Hwy 2004, Lake Jackson, TX 77566
  • 598 Hwy 332, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

League City

  • 1702 League City Pkwy, League City, TX 77573


  • 10070 West IH 10, Luling, TX 78658


  • 205 IH-45 South, Madisonville, TX 77864


  • 1550 Central Texas Expressway, Melissa, TX 75454

New Braunfels

  • 2760 IH 35 North, New Braunfels, TX 78130


  • 2541 S Main St, Pearland, TX 77584
  • 11151 Shadow Creek Pky, Pearland, TX 77584

Port Lavaca

  • 2318 W Main, Port Lavaca, TX 77979


  • 1243 Crabb River Rd, Richmond, TX 77469

Royse City

  • 5005 E Interstate 30, Royse City, TX 75189


  • 4155 N General Bruce Dr., Temple, TX 76501


  • 506 W. IH 20, Terrell, TX 75160

Texas City

  • 6201 Gulf Fwy (IH 45), Texas City, TX 77591


  • 40900 US Hwy 290 Bypass, Waller, TX 77484


  • 10484 US 59 Road, Wharton, TX 77488

Find locations here.

Final word

Buc-ee’s is a must stop for millions of people every year when traveling through Texas and now through the South.

Beyond the broad food selection, spotless bathrooms, and absurd number of gas pumps, there’s just something special about the store that gets a lot of people excited.

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park Guide

Located near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Fort Wilkins Historic State Park offers a captivating journey back in time. Step into an era defined by the copper rush and uncertain relations with the local Native communities.

As you explore the well-preserved living quarters and structures like the old powder rooms, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in this historical period.

In this article, we’ve got all the essential information you need to make the most of your visit to Fort Wilkins Historic State Park.

What is Fort Wilkins Historic State Park?

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park safeguards the meticulously restored Fort Wilkins, a military outpost from 1844, which earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

Access to Fort Wilkins is complimentary, but it’s important to note that a Recreation Passport is mandatory for vehicle entry into the park. We purchased one online and it was not delivered in time so we just showed the receipt in our emails and they allowed to send.

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park Historical overview

The fort’s historical roots trace back to the early 1840s when a copper rush unfolded and prompted a rapid influx of fortune-seekers to the peninsula.

In response to potential disorder and violence concerns, along with the need to facilitate the transportation of vital supplies and copper, the U.S. government undertook the construction of the fort.

The stationed troops had a twofold purpose: assisting in local law enforcement and maintaining harmony between miners and the local Ojibwas.

In the controversial Treaty of La Pointe, the latter had recently relinquished extensive tracts of land, including a significant portion of the Upper Peninsula. Some Ojibwe opposed the treaty believing that they were giving up too much. Naturally there were concerns over potential conflicts with the natives.

So the fort was established in 1844, and the United States Army occupied it, albeit briefly.

That’s because it soon became evident that the fort’s presence was unnecessary, and it saw only a few years of active use.

Several factors contributed to this shift: the copper rush began moving south, the Chippewa had largely accepted the treaty they had previously agreed to, and the miners in the area were predominantly law-abiding.

After the conclusion of the American Civil War, the U.S. Army reoccupied Fort Wilkins from 1867 to 1870.

During this period, the fort accommodated Civil War infantry veterans. But eventually, the War Department decided that maintaining the post was too costly, leading to its closure in August 1870.

In 1848, construction commenced on the Copper Harbor Lighthouse complex, situated at the eastern tip of the landmass commonly referred to as Hays Point.

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

Experiencing Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

After making the drive from Houghton, we arrived early in the morning.

There was plenty of parking and from the parking lot it’s just a short walk to the park’s main structures.

This is a dog friendly location so as long as your dog is on a leash and you keep them outside of the interiors of the buildings, you are good to bring your furry friend. Our pup really enjoyed his time and there were several other dog owners out as well.

You’ll first come across a number of cabins, which is where the married enlisted men lived. They are furnished with historical furniture and/or interpretive exhibits, so you’ll be able to dive right into the history of this place.

Take a stroll through these buildings and learn about what daily life was like on this remote fort, where winters were brutal.

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

After exploring the cabins, your next stop is the fort itself, offering a splendid view of Lake Fanny Hooe, complete with a duo of canons overlooking the water.

Here, you’ll encounter several structures arranged around a courtyard (called the Parade Grounds), and many of these buildings are open for exploration as well. I’d encourage you to get a map to help you get a sense of what these buildings were designed for. Try to hit them all if you can.

Some buildings have plexiglass panels you can look through while others will allow you to go inside of them and even head upstairs (watch your head).

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

As you start to explore the grounds, you realize that they essentially had a mini city built out here.

In total, they built over 20 structures which included things like a guardhouse, powder magazine, officer’s quarters, barracks, mess halls, a hospital, storehouse, sutler’s store, bakery, blacksmith’s shop, and others.

Nineteen of twenty-four buildings survive, including twelve original structures.

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

In each of these buildings, there is a story to be told about what life was like. Some of the rooms are intricately designed with real or recreated artifacts from over 100 years ago.

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

It’s pretty interesting to learn about how they performed certain basic duties like baking bread and the immersive recreations really do take you back to a different era.

You can find workers in period outfits that will role-play so feel free to ask them about “their life” on the frontier.

One thing is clear, it did NOT sound like the most ideal place to live.

Many of the soldiers were under paid for their manual labor and some of the conditions and work were substandard on the fort.

For example when it came to the blacksmiths one officer said: “I would not have such persons work for me on a private enterprise if they worked for nothing.”

In the wintertime, when the rivers transformed into icy barriers, the fort found itself isolated from the outside world. Mail deliveries relied on carriers braving the snow-covered terrain on snowshoes. So you can imagine life was pretty rough.

Still, they found ways to pass the time whether that was through literature and hunting or gambling and drinking.

As you enter the hospital, be prepared to cringe at the peculiar medical practices from back in the day. Brace yourself for tales of “bleeding” – a treatment that’ll make you thankful for modern medicine and slightly relieved you weren’t born in that era!

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park hospital

In addition to learning about life on the fort’s history, there’s a lot of exhibits that go into detail about the history of the army during this time. It was interesting to learn about certain facts like that immigrants made up one half of the standing army during this time (1840 to 1870).

After checking out the structures, you can make your way across Fanny Hooe Creek where there are multiple bridges. It’s a really scenic creek and a great place for some photo ops!

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

You can continue down on some trails that will take you throughout the park and to other areas where you’ll find campgrounds and other facilities.

After successfully crossing the creek, our journey led us to the Copper Harbor Lighthouse overlook, a spot we highly recommend checking out.

Constructed in 1848 and later replaced by the current structure in the 1860s, the Copper Harbor Lighthouse was one of the earliest beacons on Lake Superior.

Besides enjoying the lighthouse’s historical charm, this location offers spectacular views of the rugged, picturesque shores. Additionally, you can delve into the fascinating story of the shipwreck of the Brig Astor, which burned for weeks off these shores.

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

Final word

Fort Wilkins stands out as an intriguing historical site because, unlike many forts where visitors typically immerse themselves in reliving past battles, Fort Wilkins never experienced a single conflict and had a relatively brief period of active service. Nonetheless, it offers a captivating glimpse into the past, providing visitors with the unique opportunity to gain insights into life on the 1800s frontier fort.

Yooperlite Hunting: A Guide to Finding Michigan’s Glowing Rocks

If you’re planning a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan or anywhere in the northern Great Lakes region, Yooperlite hunting is a highly recommended form of unique night life.

There’s an undeniable allure to these luminous rocks, and the thrill of discovering them in the wild is truly satisfying.

Below, I’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to Yooperlites.

I’ll offer insights into their discovery, delve into their geological history, explore the luminescent components that make them unique, and also share a range of tips drawn from my personal experiences while searching for Yooperlites on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

What is Yooperlite?

Yooperlite is a trademarked brand of a type of fluorescent rock that is found along the shores of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (in addition to other areas as well).

The rocks are made up of mostly syenite rock, which is similar to granite, but they contain a high concentration of fluorescent sodalite. This mineral gives the rocks their distinctive glow when exposed to ultraviolet light and makes them a prime catch for rock hounds.


Yooperlite: A brief history

Yooperlite has both a very long and very short history.

In the summer of 2017, a moment of curiosity led to an extraordinary discovery by Erik Rintamaki, a gem and mineral enthusiast hailing from Marquette, Michigan.

Armed with a UV light, he embarked on a lakeside exploration along the shores of Lake Superior. To his amazement, that fateful morning revealed a couple of rocks aglow, as if they harbored an inner molten core. In an instant, Rintamaki had unearthed a treasure previously unknown to the Michigan region.

But where did the name “Yooperlite” come from?

The nomenclature of these rocks bears a connection to the Upper Peninsula, affectionately known as “The UP.”

Within this region dwell the proud residents known as Yoopers (as in “UPers”). Thus, the initial segment of the rock’s name is a nod to these locals. The second part, “lite,” comes from the mineral “sodalite.”

Since Yooperlite is focused on the UP and these rocks do exist elsewhere, some people prefer to call them by their scientific name (Fluorescent Sodalite-bearing Syenites) or by other nicknames, such as Glowdalites.

Personally, I just like the idea of sticking with Yooperlites, because it reminds me of the UP (a place I’ve really come to love) and the UP seems to be the primary spot to find them.

Yooperlites were formed through volcanic activity approximately 1 billion years ago when the North American continent was splitting apart.

We call the event the Midcontinental Rift (or Keweenaw Rift) and it sticks out because it was the most extensive rift in Earth’s history that never evolved into an ocean.

During this time, massive amounts of lava was being produced, thousands of feet thick. Near the modern shores of Lake Superior in Ontario, a substantial body of magma was trying to breach the surface but this molten rock never made it.

Instead, it gradually cooled and solidified beneath the ground, ultimately transforming into a variety of granite known as “syenite.” This particular syenite variety had an abundance of a mineral called “sodalite,” which we will come back to in a second.

For roughly a billion years, these remarkable sodalite-filled rocks lay concealed beneath the Earth’s surface.

Then, about 10,000 years ago, the world witnessed the advent of the last ice age, with colossal ice sheets carving a dramatic path across the landscape.

In their relentless advance, these icy behemoths unearthed the Yooperlites from their ancient resting place, transporting them southward.

Ultimately, these rocks found their current abode along the shores of what would later become the Great Lakes, where they continue to be discovered and admired to this day.

So that’s how they got to Michigan but why do they glow?

Yooperlites exhibit fluorescence because of the unique properties of minerals like sodalite found within them.

When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, these minerals absorb the high-energy UV photons and this elevates electrons to higher energy states within the minerals.

As these excited electrons return to their lower energy states (aka rebound), they release the absorbed energy as visible light, creating the characteristic glow that Yooperlites are known for.

Where can you find Yooperlites?

People have reported finding Yooperlites in different parts of the Great Lakes region, including parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota. However, the most popular spots seem to be the Keweenaw Peninsula and areas along the north east Upper Peninsula.

Speaking with some locals, there definitely are some common hotspots people have.

From what I was told, a good Yooperlie hunter will wait until a storm rolls through that shakes everything up and brings new Yooperlite to the shore and then they will have a field day that evening. I won’t mention any of the local spots so as to not betray the friendly locals but even if you don’t know the lesser-known spots there are quite a few widely known spots to find Yooperlite.

Along the Keweenaw Peninsula you have a lot of options and we personally had luck with McLain State Park. We also tried Calumet Waterworks Park but we struck out there and I suspect some people had already cleaned house. For more locations around the Upper Peninsula, check here.

Finally, if you can’t get to the beach you can find them in rock shops. One of the easiest places to get if you are in the Houghton area is to check out the visitor center and gift shop at the Quincy Mine. They have a cool display and you can purchase them (the price depends on the size).


My experience finding Yooperlite (and several tips)

Arriving early can be worth it if you have a good light

We typically reached the beach approximately 20 minutes before sunset, and it wasn’t uncommon to spot one or two fellow enthusiasts already engaged in their quest.

Prior to sunset, if equipped with a sufficiently powerful black light, Yooperlites are certainly discoverable, albeit with a higher level of difficulty.

Discovering your first Yooperlite — as you witness a seemingly ordinary stone transform into a radiant spectacle — is an unforgettable experience and instantly addictive.

On our first outing, we found ourselves dedicating a solid hour or so to the pursuit, although it’s entirely possible we could have continued for much longer if we didn’t have other plans that evening, such as hunting for the northern lights.

You can still find them if trailing behind people

Even if you’re trailing behind someone, following in their footsteps, there’s still a good chance of making substantial finds.

It’s a challenging task for anyone to meticulously examine and search through all of the thousands upon thousands of rocks, so you’ll likely to still be able to find something.

A 365 nm UV light is preferable but you can still get by with a 395 nm

The prevailing advice often suggests that a 365 nm UV light is notably superior to a 395 nm one for Yooperlite hunting. Personally, I found myself favoring the 365 nm UV flashlight, primarily due to the enhanced glow of the rocks.

However, during my “time in the field,” I didn’t observe a substantial disparity in terms of detecting Yooperlites when using either the 395 nm or the 365 nm UV light.

In both cases, I could readily discern the sparkling specks of glowing sodalite.

It’s very likely that the quality of my 365 nm flashlight was not optimal (it was like $15), but it’s reassuring to know that a 395 nm black light can still effectively illuminate Yooperlites.

Which ever way you go, make sure you have an extra set or two of batteries so that you can continue on through the night, especially if you’re having a lot of good luck.

Yooperlite hunting

A rock scooper and more powerful UV light will make the hunt less physically demanding

I found myself quite fatigued (and lightheaded) from constantly crouching and getting up during our Yooperlite hunts.

Our use of small black lights forced me to get up close to the rocks, and the absence of a rock scooper further added to the effort.

Many other rockhounds on the beach were equipped with more potent black lights and rock scoopers, sparing them from the need to frequently bend over.

If you’re truly committed to spending ample time searching for Yooperlites, I recommend investing in these tools, as it appeared to make the process significantly more efficient and less physically demanding.

Yooperlite hunting

Be prepared to find some weird stuff

With your UV light, you’ll find more than just Yooperlite.

You will notice that some rocks also have a certain glow about them although it’s different from the orange glow of the sodalite.

You also might come across trash and random discarded oddities.

You can use this as an opportunity to help clean up the shore but also be mindful of the things you might be grabbing with your hand as you may not want to come into contact with certain things. For example, I came across a random Q-tip.

Take a note of where your turn off on the beach is

You’re going to be wandering around at night but luckily, it’s pretty easy to navigate as you’re just walking along the shoreline, probably in one direction and then coming back. It would be hard to get truly “lost” but it’s possible you could struggle to find your turn off point back to the parking lot.

I’ve heard of people using glow sticks to mark the turn off point which could be helpful if you’re somewhere that’s tricky to identify. However, we were able to usually just note a large stone or driftwood that helped us remember where to go.

It will also be helpful to have a regular white light or red light to help you navigate when not using your black light (headlamps are also handy).

Hiking boots are a good choice

We opted to don hiking boots with waterproof capabilities, enabling us to position ourselves where the waves washed up on shore. This placed us in proximity to what’s likely the most abundant collection of stones, as it represents the freshest deposit of rocks at any given time.

I’ve also come across stories of individuals wading into the water during their Yooperlite quests, so the approach can vary depending on your level of dedication and adventure-seeking spirit.

Hiking boots also help you better navigate the rocky shores which could be tougher with thin tennis shoes.

Bring a bag

You’ll definitely want a dependable bag to keep all your discovered rocks secure, as Yooperlite hunting can yield quite a collection. This is also where you can keep some snacks and water as you’ll be surprised how quickly you can work up some thirst and an appetite hunting for rocks.

Check up on the law

At the time of this post, it looks like Michigan law allows you to collect up to 25 pounds of rocks per year from state parks but make sure you verify the legality of what you’re doing. Some sites (like Pictured Rock National Lakeshore) may not allow rock collecting and you also need to be careful about stepping onto private property.

Wear extra layers

There’s a good chance it will get cold when out there so having extra layers is good. On one night we went out it wasn’t bad at all. Still, I always like having a puffer jacket when heading out to a lakeshore like this at night because you never know what the wind is going to be capable of.

Look for patterns in the rocks

We noticed a striking similarity among most of the rocks we encountered – a gray appearance with black speckles. So one effective strategy is to concentrate on rocks that resemble the ones you’ve already gathered, although it’s worth noting that there can be variability with these rocks.


Final word

Our Yooperlite hunt was undoubtedly one of the highlights, no pun intended, of our time in the Upper Peninsula.

It’s one of those peculiar discoveries that unexpectedly becomes quite addictive. If I lived in this area, I could easily see myself making it a regular pastime.

There are no doubt some spots that are hotspots, not because they receive an extra deposit of these rocks but because only seasoned enthusiasts know how to access and uncover them. But there are also many well-known beaches along the coast in the Keweenaw Peninsula that seem like a good spot for the average newcomer.

I hope the wealth of information and tips provided in this article will equip you to fully appreciate, enjoy, and ultimately build your own collection of these fascinating stones when you explore the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!

9 Best National Parks in Southern California to Explore [2023]

There are a some unique national parks in Southern California (and national park sites) that each have something special to offer their visitors. From pristine islands rich in biodiversity to tall desert sand dunes, you can find something fun and interesting to do for just about anyone.

Here’s a guide to nine national parks in Southern California which include an array of national park sites, including national monuments and others.

Southern California National Parks Map

Southern California is loaded up with national parks and you don’t have to venture far out from the major cities like Los Angeles to find some spectacular parks.

Joshua Tree National Park is only about two hours and 30 minutes outside of Los Angeles and Sequoia National Park is only three hours and thirty minutes from Los Angeles. Meanwhile the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is right in LA’s backyard.

If you think you might be bouncing between national parks then you might want to look into getting a national park annual pass to save money on park entry.

Map of Southern California national parks
Map of Southern California national parks. Map via the National Park Service.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Related: REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard Review

Southern California National Parks List

  1. Channel Islands National Park
  2. Death Valley National Park
  3. Joshua Tree National Park
  4. Sequoia National Park/ Kings Canyon National Park
  5. Cabrillo National Monument
  6. Castle Mountains National Monument
  7. César E. Chávez National Monument
  8. Mojave National Preserve
  9. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

1. Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park, referred to as the “Galapagos Islands of North America,” consists of five of the eight Channel Islands which are located not very far from the shores of Southern California.

Radiocarbon dating suggests that humans have inhabited the islands for over 30,000 years and the oldest known human remains ever discovered in North America were found here on Santa Rosa Island.

Today, the islands are known for being some of the most pristine areas of California that have been relatively unaffected by human development. It’s home to some pretty spectacular wildlife including the giant sea bass which can grow to over 7 feet long and the California spiny lobster, which can achieve lengths of over three feet.

There’s a ton of things to do at Channel Islands National Park. You can choose which island you’d like to visit though many head to Anacapa Island is because of the dramatic overlooks, one of which is the beautiful Inspiration Point.

Santa Cruz Island, the largest island in the state of California, is another one of the popular islands and is home to the most diverse range of flora and fauna, and one of the largest sea caves in the world.

While visiting Channel Islands National Park you can enjoy hiking, bird watching, kayaking, scuba diving, spear fishing, and many other activities. If you want to find out more about this destination, I suggest you read my article on Channel Islands National Park. 

The Anacapas at Sunset
Photo bt Brian Hawkins.

2. Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park straddles the border between California and Nevada. It’s the largest national park in the contiguous United States and comprises a stunning desert environment made up of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains.

Death Valley is also known for being the the hottest and driest place in North America.

In fact, on July 10, 1913, the United States Weather Bureau recorded the temperature at 134 °F (56.7 °C), which currently holds the record for the highest ambient air temperature ever recorded at the Earth’s surface.

So why would anybody be drawn here? Well, it’s not always that hot in Death Valley and it can actually be quite nice in the spring and fall. But there’s a ton of stunning scenery to check out at this vast national park.

One of the most interesting areas is the Racetrack. For years, scientists didn’t know how to explain the phenomenon that occurs there with the mysterious “sailing stones.”

People would find rocks scattered along a salt flat with long trails behind them showing that they had slid around. The only problem was that nobody had ever witnessed how it happened. Eventually, they were able to put it together though and they figured out the mystery.

3. Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park covers an expansive area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. This place was once inhabited by the Serrano, Cahuilla, and the Chemehuevi, all of which were hunter-gatherers who subsisted largely on plants and local small game, amphibians, and reptiles.

The name “Joshua tree” is believed to have derived from the times when Mormon settlers first crossed the Colorado River and encountered these unique trees in the mid 1800s. To them, the leaves resembled hands stretched out in supplication like the biblical figure, Joshua, and thus the name stuck.

Joshua trees aren’t actually trees (they’re yuccas) and they possess a number of fascinating features beyond their strange appearance.

There’s a lot to do at Joshua Tree National Park. You can choose from a number of hiking options, which range from easy to strenuous. Various forms of rock climbing are popular here and it’s where a lot of climbers go when some of the big walls in places like Yosemite Valley are too cold to climb in winter.

The diverse ecosystems produce varied wildlife at this national park in Southern California.

You can head to the Barker Dam, a short hike from a parking area near Hidden Valley, to scope out of the wildlife which could include Desert bighorn sheep and mule. Keep your eyes out on the ground as you might encounter the giant desert scorpion or even tarantulas.

Cholla Cactus Garden - Joshua Tree National Park - California
Johsua Tree National Park. Photo by Chris Goldberg.

The remaining places on the list are National Park sites like national monuments and national historic sites, which are lumped in as national parks since they are operated by the National Park Service.

4. Sequoia National Park/ Kings Canyon National Park

Sequoia National Park is where you can find the biggest tree in the world, known as the General Sherman. It stands 275 feet tall and is 25 feet in diameter. Its largest branch has a diameter of almost 7 feet, which is larger than most trees in the U.S. standing east of the Mississippi.

And it’s somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 years old, so it’s older than the Colosseum.

There’s a lot to check out at this park beside the biggest tree in the world, though.

The Congress Trail is a popular paved loop trail that begins at the General Sherman Tree and offers some views of huge sequoias as well as groupings of smaller trees like the House and Senate. It’s a great stroll in the winter, too.

The Big Trees Trail is another popular option that starts off near the Giant Forest Museum and will offer an unforgettable experience with redwoods.

Plenty of other hiking options can be found at the park, too.

Moro Rock is another one of the prime attractions. It’s a giant granite dome that requires you to follow a stairway that climbs 300 feet up to the summit and offers a great view of the Great Western Divide and the western half of the park.

Grant Grove is another prime attraction located in Kings Canyon National Park. It’s a special grove with huge large sequoias grouped in a 90-acre area.  The NPS notes that “[a] higher percentage of this grove’s mature sequoias reach sizes of ten, fifteen, and twenty feet (3, 4.5, or 6 m) in diameter than in any other grove.”

If you’re interested in exploring the other wooden giants in California known as redwoods then check out my article on the best places to see redwoods in California, which includes stunning spots like Redwood National Park.

The General Sherman Sequoia National Park
The General Sherman. Photo by Udo S. Image via Flickr.

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5. Cabrillo National Monument

Located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California, Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542. This was the first time a European expedition set foot on the land that later became the West Coast of the United States.

Cabrillo National Monument Entrance sign - Point Loma
Photo by Al_HikesAZ.

One of the most popular attractions at the national monument are the tide pools, which contain a diverse range of marine life from octopus to bat stars and can be explored via a short hike. If you make your way up to the Whale Overlook station, you might be able so spot migrating grey whales.

Another attraction is the Point Loma Lighthouse which was put into service on November 15, 1855. It actually was built at an elevation too high at 422 feet above sea level, and so clouds and fog would shroud its light. This led to a new lighthouse being erected and almost resulted in the complete abandonment of the light house, though luckily it was preserved.

Today you can catch a variety of historical reenactments at the national monument like the annual Cabrillo Festival, which commemorated the arrival of Cabrillo.

Point Loma tidal pools - at high tide oops
Photo by Al_HikesAZ.

6. Castle Mountains National Monument

Castle Mountains National Monument is one of the newest national monuments, designated back in 2016. The monument protects a section of the Castle Mountains, a range located in San Bernardino County and Clark County, Nevada and can only be accessed by dirt roads, so a high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.

If you take a look at the map of the national monument below, you’ll notice it has a very interesting shape. That’s because the monument surrounds the Castle Mountain Mine Area, which is an open pit gold mine owned by Canadian NewCastle Gold Ltd. They have the rights to excavate nearly 10 million tons of ore through the year 2025 (but mining has been suspended since 2001 due to low gold prices).

The national monument proclamation mandates that after the mining and reclamation is completed, the land in the Castle Mountain Mine Area will be transferred to the National Park Service

Castle Mountains National Monument
Castle Mountains National Monument. Photo by Matthew Dillon. Image via Flickr

Since this is a newer and quite remote national monument, there isn’t a lot of information about it found online. But the national monument offers some major attractions like spring wildflowers and beautiful Joshua trees. You can find out more about the best time to visit here.

7. César E. Chávez National Monument

César E. Chávez led farm workers to create the country’s first permanent agricultural unions and is often recognized as the most important Latino leader in the United States during the twentieth century.

The property the monument sits on is known as “Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz” (La Paz) and was the headquarters of the United Farm Workers and César Chávez’s home from the early 1970s until his death in 1993.

There’s a visitor center and memorial garden (where Chavez and his wife are buried) that are open to the public but other areas of the monument are closed to the public since the Chávez family still lives there and UFW offices are located on the property.

Cesar Chavez Office 2
Photo by Wayne Hsieh.

8. Mojave National Preserve

Formerly known as the East Mojave National Scenic Area, the Mojave National Preserve is a vast area located in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California. It’s the third largest unit of the National Park System in the contiguous United States and there’s plenty to explore here.

You can choose from a lot of different hikes on developed trails or you can go for primitive routes. One of the most interesting hikes has to be the Kelso Dunes. These dunes are capable sometimes called the singing sand dunes because of their ability to emit sounds when conditions are right.

It’s a fascinating occurrence but it’s possible to slide down these sand dunes to create sounds that echo out from within the sand dunes. What’s even crazier is that these sounds are set to the keys of E, F, and G, depending on the thickness of the sand layer. You can watch and listen to how this natural phenomena works here.

Mojave National Preserve in California
Sand dunes at the Mojave National Preserve.

9. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the largest urban national park in the United States and home to more than 500 miles of trails. It is a very accessible recreation area right outside of the busy metropolis of L.A.

When it comes to hiking the options are numerous with easy, moderate, and strenuous 60+ miles trails to choose from. Mountain biking is also another major draw here along with camping.

Other national parks in California to check out

There are a few other national parks you’ll probably want to check out if you’re heading to California.

While not exactly located in Southern California, Yosemite National Park is a must-see when in the state of California. Yosemite National Park is about 4.5 to 5 hours outside of Los Angeles, depending on the traffic.

You can read up on things to do at Yosemite here. 

Another lesser-known national park is Pinnacles National Park. This park is also about 4.5 hours north of Los Angeles and it’s home to some very dramatic scenery that’s worth checking out. Read more about Pinnacles National Park here.

And finally, if you want to head more north, check out Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is full of lava tubes and volcanic rock formations.

Final word

National Parks in Southern California come in all different shapes and sizes. You can check out some of the most unique terrain and flora at many of these parks and brush up on your history and geology knowledge at several of these parks.

Known Traveler Number Guide: (How to Lookup, Global Entry, Pre-Check) [2023]

This comprehensive article will tell you everything you need to know about your Known Traveler Number.

I’ll cover how you can get one and the best way to do that with programs like TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry. I’ll show you how to look-up your Known Traveler Number and add it to your travel itineraries with airlines like United, Southwest, and Delta.

Finally, I’ll explain the differences between a Known Traveler Number and a Redress Number.

What is a Known Traveler Number?

A Known Traveler Number, also called your “KTN,” is a 9-digit number used to link your TSA Pre-Check enrollment to your travel itinerary in order to ensure that you can receive TSA Pre-Check benefits like expedited security screening.

This is the same number used for other trusted traveler programs, such as Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI. However, for these latter programs, this number is known as your “PASSID.”

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TSA pre-check station
Your Known Traveler Number is vital for getting expedited security screening with TSA Pre-Check.

Why do you want a Known Traveler Number?

With a Known Traveler Number, you can participate in TSA Pre-Check, which means you’ll be able to breeze through security at airports.

How do you get a Known Traveler Number?

You can get a Known Traveler Number by signing up, getting approved, and paying the fees for any of the following programs:

TSA Pre-Check

As already discussed, TSA Pre-Check will usually get you through airport security in a breeze.

You’ll usually get access to a priority security line which is often much shorter than the standard security line (though not always, unfortunately).

You’ll also be able to go through a less restrictive and invasive screening process. You often only have to pass through a traditional metal detector (as opposed to the full-body scanners) and you also get to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag
  • Liquids (3-1-1 Rule) can stay in bag

This program costs $78 to enroll for five years and it does not require the extensive interview process that Global Entry requires. There are multiple ways to get TSA Pre-Check for free and you can read about those here.

The benefits of TSA Pre-Check.

Global Entry

Global Entry would be my preferred method for obtaining a Known Traveler Number. That’s because not only will you get TSA Pre-Check, but you’ll also get expedited entry at Customs and Immigration when making your way back into the US.

This program does require you to attend an interview to be approved but the interview process is not difficult at all. If you’ve got a clean criminal history and come prepared with your documents then you should pass the background check and interview without any issues at all.

In some cases this “interview” process will only take about five minutes total.

You might get asked some very basic questions like what countries you have visited and whether or not you have traveled for business or pleasure. It’s hardly anything close to an interrogation in most cases.

The hardest part is often scheduling the interview because availability can be limited and in some cases it might take weeks (or even months) to find an open slot.

Luckily, some airports offer interviews upon arriving from international locations. So if you have some international travel coming up, this can be one of the easiest ways to get approved for Global Entry.

There are many credit cards that come with a $100 statement credit for your Global Entry application fee, so it’s very easy to get this program for free. My personal recommendations for getting a $100 statement credit for your Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check is to go with the United Explorer Card. It has great perks and a low annual fee and you can read more about it here! 

Since you’ll get both TSA Pre-Check and expedited entry back into the US, I think Global Entry is the way to go for many people.


NEXUS is a joint program between the US and Canada that will grant pre-approved, low-risk travelers expedited entry into both Canada and the US. Specifically, membership in the NEXUS program allows you to reduce your wait times at designated ports of entry by:

  • Using dedicated processing lanes at land border crossings
  • Using NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada
  • Using their card in dedicated SENTRI lanes along the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Using Global Entry kioks when entering the United States, and
  • Calling a marine telephone reporting center to report your arrival into the United States and Canada

You may also be granted access to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) Security Line at some Canadian airports to expedite airport pre-boarding security screening. (This is like a Canadian version of TSA Pre-Check.)

Just like Global Entry, NEXUS will require you to clear a background check. The difference is that this background check also is submitted to Canadian authorities, such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

One of the major draws to the NEXUS program is that the application fee is only $50. This is surprising since NEXUS comes with both Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check, which cost $100 and $85 respectively. For people who live near or travel between the US/Canada border, NEXUS is an especially attractive bargain.


The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

You can enter the United States by using dedicated primary lanes into the United States at Southern land border ports so this is a program you might be interested in if you’re traveling between the US and Mexico a lot.

You might be a little overwhelmed with all of the different Trusted Traveler programs and perhaps you’re not sure which program you should sign-up for.

If that’s the case you can check out this TSA tool which can help you narrow down what program is most ideal for you based on your citizenship, number of flights, and travel destinations.


CLEAR is a privately owned service offered to passengers that allows them to bypass the lines going into airport security, whether you are going into the standard security line or the TSA Pre-Check line.

In order to use it you find the CLEAR line leading to security which should have little to no line and then you simply scan your boarding pass and biometric data and then you’re off to the races and able to skip whatever line you would have been waiting on. You don’t even have to show your ID.

CLEAR can be great for frequent flyers in busy airports but it’s not cheap at $179 per year (though cheaper promos are often available). This program does not require you to have a Known Traveler Number.

Mobile Passport

Launched in the fall of 2014, Mobile Passport Control is an app, developed by Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America in partnerships with CBP, that you can download to use in order to expedite your entry into the US. It’s available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

It’s free to use and can be just about as good as Global Entry at some airports, though I’d still take Global Entry over Mobile Passport.

That’s because Global Entry gets you Pre-Check and also allows you to get through customs AND immigration while Mobile Passport often only get your priority access through immigration. This program also does not require you to have a Known Traveler Number.

Image via CLEAR.

Adding a Known Traveler Number

Once you have your Known Traveler Number, you’re going to need to add that number to your travel profiles for the various airlines so that your Known Traveler Number will automatically show up in your itineraries.

However, you should note that your Known Traveler Number will NOT automatically show up in all of your travel  itineraries.

Many people assume that once they add their Known Traveler Number to their profile, it will always show up but that’s not the case. So you always need to double check that your KTN was added.

Below, you can see how to add your Known Traveler Number to some of the major airlines. For whatever reason, it is not always the easiest thing to do since you often have to click around a lot.

Usually you can find where to input it if you just look for your profile and a button allowing you to edit your profile, but the steps below should help you locate this.

American Airlines

Sign in to your American Airlines account and then click on your name at the top of the page. Then click on “your account.” Next, click on “edit account” and then click on “Information and password.” Scroll down and then under “Secure traveler,” you will see where to input your Known Traveler Number.


Sign in and click on “My Account” and then scroll to “My Preferences” to change your personal details within your profile information.


Sign in and click on Profile and Preferences and then click on “Travel identification documents” and then you’ll see the area to enter it in below.


Go to the Delta website and log-in and then proceed to My Delta -> My Profile -> Basic Info. You’ll then see a field where you can input your Known Traveler Number.


First, sign in to your JetBlue account. Click on the arrow in the upper right corner by your name and then click on “Edit profile.” Scroll down and you will see where to input your information.

Hawaiian Airlines

First, sign in to your Hawaiian Airlines account. Go to My Account and under that click on “Profile & Settings.” Click on the travel tab and you will see where to input your information.

Hawaiian Airlines known traveler number entry

Travel portals and OTAs

Most online travel agencies (like Expedia) will allow you to enter in your Known Traveler Number into your profile which should populate into your itinerary when you make a booking.

But since you’re dealing with a third party, you should always verify that your number was properly included in your booking.

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Add Known Traveler Number after booking?

If you add your Known Traveler Number to your profile after you make a flight reservation, there’s a good chance that your flight itinerary is not linked to your Known Traveler Number and you won’t get TSA Pre-Check. 

In that case, you should be able to call up the airline and request for them to input your number into your itinerary.

You could also just wait until you arrive at the check-in desk for baggage and request for your Known Traveler Number to be added to your boarding pass.

Also, sometimes you’ll have to re-add your Known Traveler Number to specific itineraries. It’s not always clear why this happens but sometimes you’ll just have to do it.

If you ever are given a boarding pass without TSA Pre-Check on it and you know you have a TSA Pre-Check membership, simply approach an agent at the check-in desk and tell them you would like to add your Known Traveler Number.

It’s usually no problem for them to do this and they can re-issue you a boarding pass in a couple of seconds that has TSA Pre-Check.

For the reasons above, I highly recommend that you keep your Known Traveler Number somewhere easily retrievable like in your smart phone in a folder or app that you won’t forget about and can quickly pull up.

Where can I look up and find my Known Traveler Number?

If you are a member of the TSA Pre-Check Application Program you can, look up your KTN online.

If you are a member of another trusted traveler program, such as Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI, log on to the Trusted Traveler Program website to obtain your PASSID, which once again is the same as your KTN.

You’ll find it right under “Program Memberships.”

ktn look up

You can also check the back of your trusted traveler cards for your PASSID. Note that TSA does not issue an ID card like Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI do.

Related: Can You Get Through TSA and Fly with No ID?

Global entry card with pass ID known traveler number
Global Entry card showing where you can find your Known Traveler Number. Image via United.

What is a redress number?

You might also be wondering about a redress number since that field often shows up near where you input your Known Traveler Number.

A redress number is the record identifier for people who apply for redress through the DHS Travel Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP).

“DHS TRIP is for travelers who have been repeatedly identified for additional screening and who want to file an inquiry to have erroneous information corrected in DHS systems.”

For example, someone might share the same name as another person on a no-fly list and that might bring up a red flag every single time this unfortunate traveler attempts to board a plane.

The redress number will help those people avoid additional searches, pat downs, and questioning in the future.

So in case you were wondering a redress number really has nothing to do with your Known Traveler Number.

Known Traveler Number for Military members

If you are a member of the military, you can utilize TSA Pre-Check for free.

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces can get expedited screening including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves, and National Guard.

This can be done by using the official Department of Defense (DoD) identification number when making flight reservations. Your 10-digit DoD ID number is located on the back of your Combined Access Card ID and it is not the same as your SSN. Read more about how to utilize this benefit here.

TSA Pre-Check vs Global Entry

Now that you’re aware of all of the benefits you might be wondering whether or not you should choose TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry.

The answer to this question depends a lot on your personal preferences.

If you are only going to be traveling within the US then your need for Global Entry will be nearly zero.

In that case, getting TSA Pre-Check should be just fine. The only drawback to that is that if an unexpected trip comes up you’ll lose out on the benefit you could have had with Global Entry.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be traveling internationally then you might want to think about Global Entry since it will save you a lot of time getting back into the country.

The two drawbacks to Global Entry are that it requires you to attend an interview and that the background check can be tough to clear if you have anything on your record like a DWI, DUI, etc.

Known Traveler Number FAQ

What is the easiest way to get a Known Traveler Number?

The easiest way would be to get approved for TSA Pre-Check.

Do I need a Known Traveler Number for CLEAR?

No, you do not need a Known Traveler Number for CLEAR?

How do I add my Known Traveler Number to my itinerary?

At the time of booking, you will typically see a field where you can enter your Known Traveler Number. In addition, you can add your Known Traveler Number to your frequent flyer profile.

If you are at the airport, you can also ask an agent to add your Known Traveler Number to your boarding pass.

What is the difference between a Known Traveler Number and PASS ID?

There is no practical difference and these are essentially the same.

Final word

As you can see, getting a Known Traveler Number can be very easy and can even be done for free with the right credit card.

I recommend going with a program like Global Entry to get your PASSID/Known Traveler Number and using a credit card with a $100 credit for Global Entry.

If you always keep your Known Traveler Number with you at all times you’ll be able to add it to your boarding pass when needed and there shouldn’t be any major issues.

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