I recently started to travel domestically and noticed how crowded the airports are becoming. Airport security lines including the TSA PreCheck program I subscribe to are experiencing long lines. I also noticed the recent installation of CLEAR stations at several airports, a privately held security service that allows you to skip to the front of the security line much faster that the TSA PreCheck program. I decided to explore whether this would be a worthy investment as well as checking to see that all of my required travel documents for both domestic and international flights are updated.

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CLEAR vs TSA PreCheck

CLEAR is a privately run trusted-traveler program that uses both your fingerprints and iris scans to confirm your identity at their kiosks allowing you to cut in front of lengthy security lines at a faster pace. However, this service comes at a hefty price of $179 per month. Expensive unless you traveling extensively and have a tendency of getting to the airport late. However, not all airports offer CLEAR reducing its value.

The TSA PreCheck is a similar trusted- traveler program run by the government of which the price for the service is $85 for five years. It requires you to be interviewed, fingerprinted and photographed. Besides having a shorter time to get thru security the best part is you don’t need to take off your shoes and jacket and depending on the airport you sometimes don’t have to remove your laptop.

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TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry

TSA PreCheck as mentioned offers expedited security screening privileges primarily for flights departing from U.S. airports. Global Entry, however provides the TSA PreCheck benefit plus expedited US customs screening for international air travelers when entering the United States (trust me, this is great to have to get through customs much faster). TSA PreCheck costs $85 and Global Entry costs $100 for a five-year membership. Travelers interested in Global Entry must apply through the Trusted Traveler Program website.

Global Entry, as well as NEXUS, and SENTRI are part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection that pre-screen travelers. Register your membership number on all airline reservations to receive TSA PreCheck on your boarding pass and traveling will become a bit less hectic.


My passport expires in eight months and so if I plan to travel internationally I will not get very far. Post pandemic traveling abroad is in high demand causing delays in getting your passport (up to three months unless you pay extra for expedited service). In fact, the State Department recommends that U.S. citizens renew their passports approximately nine months before the date of expiration. Most countries require your US passport to have a minimum of 6-months validity after your intended return date. So if you plan to travel in the next 12 months, check your passport. Don’t forget you can also secure a mobile passport that creates a QR code that can be shown to customs upon returning to the US.

Vaccine Passports

In the immediate future there will most likely be more changes to come as there is already a move for passports in the US and in other countries to reflect vaccinations or the addition of a digital vaccine certificate to travel. In fact, EU, Denmark, UK, China and many other countries have already developed vaccine passports.

Real ID Compliant Driver License 

Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license; a state-issued enhanced driver’s license for all domestic air traveling, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Otherwise, you will need to travel with your passport. Check your license to see when it will expire.

At present, these documents are what will get you on a plane to anywhere. Bear in mind, in some countries you will need a COVID test or a vaccination card or both. In some cases you may also need a health visa. To learn more about what requirements need to be met to enter any country, I suggest you go to www.Sherpa .com., an interactive map to discover COVID-19 test requirements, quarantine protocols, and entry restrictions for anywhere in the world.

Bon Voyage and Be Safe.