My #1 Travel Quick Tip – Surprisingly Simple Process To Get My TSA Precheck

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I couldn’t believe the ease…only two days and $85 later from when I applied, I had my official TSA (Travel Security Administration) precheck number.  It’s the best thing since sliced bread, as they say.  The $85 fee is the membership cost that lasts for five years.  So, my quick tip today is my favorite travel quick tip ever.  Get yourself a TSA Precheck membership.

I do take some road trips (especially to see my beloved adult kiddos in LA) but I find myself up in the air more often these days.

I did not think I would list getting my TSA precheck under my quick tips section…but surprisingly it was quick, easy and required very little effort.  And boy, it is worth it!  I LOVE it!  I really really love it!  I am traveling a lot more now that I have kids and parents who all live out of state.  I am also excited to be working on an extensive travel piece for a big international travel blog.  Stay tuned; that is coming in March.

In the meantime, I decided to finally see about getting the TSA precheck that my son and several pals say is a traveling game changer.  I’m here to tell you that it’s the truth!  No more security lines, no more removing my shoes, no more going through the overwhelming hands up security scanning machine.  I prefer going through the older traditional security scanner that seems less physical and invasive.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I feel mentally better about the traditional machines I grew up passing through.

Here is what I did to receive my TSA precheck number…

  1.  Although I could have done the paperwork online, I went to my local airport’s TSA office at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  I was able to do so in a walk-in basis.  I registered with the TSA employee at the desk, filled out my online application on my phone there in the office and waited my turn.  Those with appointments went in before me and I was fine with that.  Note that once the online app is completed the in-person appointment with a TSA office must be done within 120 days after filling out the form.  
  2. Documents needed for the online application include a state issued photo ID card like a driver’s license or passport and a certified copy of your birth certificate.
  3. Less than 10 minutes after I submitted my online application via my cell phone, a TSA employee took me back to a small office to take my picture and my fingerprints.  It was surprising to me that she told me not to smile in the photos.  I didn’t ask her the reason for that.
  4. Then I was on my way and told that I would receive my official TSA precheck number in 4 to 6 weeks…

SURPRISE….I actually received an official TSA email with my TSA precheck TWO DAYS later!!  I couldn’t believe it!  So cool!

And the news gets even better!  I don’t have to keep track of a TSA card. I simply keep my TSA Known Traveler Number (KTN) handy and insert it in my airline’s online reservation when booking travel.  So easy!  Then when I check in at the airport, the boarding pass I receive has my KTN number already on it.  I just need the boarding pass and my driver’s license ID as usual.  That’s it.  So simple!

It’s fun to blast past the long security lines and go straight to the always short and quick TSA precheck line.  Since our shoes stay on and my fellow TSA peeps and I don’t have to take our laptops out of our bags, everyone moves through security safe and sound.  I use this extra time to relax with a preflight cocktail. Or more time to go straight to the flight.  I like airports and traveling so, for me, having my KTN makes my journey that much more enjoyable.  If I’m ever running late to the airport, remembering that I have a KTN removes a lot of the stress for sure.  Do keep in mind though, that at times, you may not be able to use your KTN as the TSA does random checks, so I still recommend getting to the airport early.  So far that hasn’t happened to me and I will be disappointed when it does because I am in love with my new TSA precheck status.

Try it.  I bet you like having a TSA PreCheck membership as much as I do.  Wishing you smooth, safe and efficient travels ahead!