Drew Binsky

I'm Drew Binsky

I’ve been to
ALL 197 Countries Now I want to help you become a better traveller & save money








Skip The Line: How To Get Through Airport Security Faster

Skip The Line: How To Get Through Airport Security Faster


Written by Drew Binsky

One of the main complaints I hear from fellow travelers, especially this summer, is how painful and time consuming it can be to get through airport security. It’s true that lines have been longer and slower moving lately, with the recent surge in travel demand. Having said that, there are definitely some ways to make navigating the airport easier and less stressful – it starts with expedited security screening. 

TSA Precheck

In the US, the Department of Homeland Security operates several different Trusted Traveler programs that allow pre-approved travelers to clear security with less hassle and shorter wait times. The two Trusted Traveler programs that will make life easier, when it comes to traveling by air, are TSA Precheck and Global Entry. I’ll dig into the details of each program down below to help you decide which option might be best for your individual travel style. 

One additional option to consider is CLEAR. CLEAR is a relative newcomer, in the expedited security processing space, but it could be another good option on its own or in addition to one of the other programs like TSA Precheck or Global Entry. 

In my opinion, TSA Precheck is a must for anyone who travels more than a couple of times each year. Not only does TSA Precheck get you access to a designated security line, which is usually much shorter, it also allows you to keep your liquids and laptop inside your bag. You can also keep your jacket, belt, and shoes on – all of this helps the already shorter line move much faster. These things add up to be a huge timesaver and allow you to arrive at the airport later or spend more time relaxing in the lounge before your flight.

In order to get TSA Precheck benefits, you must first apply online. The application process is pretty simple and should be completed in less than 5 minutes. After completing your online application, you’ll need to go to one of 400+ enrollment centers across the US to complete a brief interview and fingerprinting for your background check. Once approved, it’s important to ensure you include your Known Traveler Number (KTN) on future itineraries in order to take advantage of your new Precheck benefits. 

The cost for TSA Precheck is $85 for new enrollees and that membership will last for 5 years. When you go to renew at the end of your membership period, the renewal rate is only $70 and that will get you another 5 years of TSA Precheck benefits. While paying $85 for expedited airport screening is a pretty small cost for most frequent travelers, you can actually get this benefit completely free with the right travel credit card. I initially got my TSA Precheck as a benefit of holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card.  

Global Entry

Many people think that Global Entry and TSA Precheck compete against each other to offer expedited screening at the airport but that really isn’t the case. Infact, if you enroll in Global Entry, your membership includes TSA Precheck. 

Global Entry is a Trusted Traveler Program that allows members to quickly clear immigration upon returning to the US. How quickly? Just like with TSA Precheck you have access to a completely separate customs line where you’ll use a kiosk to scan your passport, give your fingerprints, or complete a facial recognition scan. The kiosk will then print out a receipt that you give to the border agent and you’re free to go. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes and is oftentimes even faster than that! 

Since Global Entry also includes TSA Precheck this would seem like the clear winner of Trusted Traveler Programs, right? On the surface, Global Entry would be the best option for all travelers, but the downside to Global Entry is that it costs more and the enrollment process is much longer than with TSA Precheck. For the occasional international traveler, the added cost and processing time just may not be worth it. 

Enrolling in Global Entry starts very similarly to enrolling in TSA Precheck – you complete an online application and wait for conditional approval. The wait for conditional approval can sometimes take months, depending on the backlog of applications and a variety of other factors. After being conditionally approved, you’ll need to complete an interview with a Customs and Border Protection Officer. These interviews can be scheduled online, but finding availability can be a real challenge. Perhaps the best option for completing your interview is to do Enrollment on Arrival. Most airports allow travelers who are conditionally approved to complete their interview upon returning from their next international trip. 

Besides the added benefit of expedited customs and immigration processing, Global Entry also differs from TSA Precheck when it comes to price. Global Entry costs $100 for 5 years of membership and there isn’t a discount for those who are renewing. Just like with TSA Precheck though, it’s easy to get this fee covered for you. Cards like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card will reimburse you for this cost and make your membership completely free. 


Unlike TSA Precheck and Global Entry, CLEAR is a privately owned company that provides fast-track security access at airports, stadiums, and other venues across the US. CLEAR uses biometric screening to identify members and once verified, a CLEAR Ambassador will bring you to the front of the security line. Without also having TSA Precheck or Global Entry, CLEAR will only allow you to skip to the front of the general security line. You’ll still need to remove your shoes and take all of your liquids out of your bag. For that reason, I recommend having CLEAR along with one of the other programs for the fastest possible airport security experience. 

Just like with the other programs, you begin the enrollment process for CLEAR by completing an application online or in person at the airport. Once you’ve completed the application, a CLEAR Ambassador will help you collect a scan of your fingerprints or eyes, for future verification. After completing your enrollment, you can take advantage of your new CLEAR benefits the very same day since there isn’t an additional wait for approval.

One downside to CLEAR is that it’s the most expensive program of the three, at a cost of $189 a year. The good news is that Delta and United get a discounted rate for all of their loyalty members and their top tier elites even get it for free. If you don’t have top level elite status, that’s ok – there is one other way to get it for free. The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with an annual $189 credit to cover the cost of your CLEAR enrollment (Terms and Restrictions Apply. “Enrollment Required” per Amex guidelines for benefits where enrollment is required.). Not only is the The Platinum Card the best card for airport lounge access, but it’s also the best card for getting you through airport security!

Final Thoughts

Airport security is a necessary headache but having the right tools can make it much more bearable. It’s important to weigh the different options and decide which program is right for your travel style but having one or more of these at your disposal will make your travel life much easier going forward – especially when you can get it for free from your credit card company! 

Top offers

AMEX Platinum Credit Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 80,000 points. Terms Apply.

Chase Ink Cash Credit Card

Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Earn $900 bonus cash back

Top Offers

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn 60,000 points

AMEX Platinum Credit Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 80,000 points. Terms Apply.

Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Earn $900 bonus cash back

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Earn 75,000 points

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Earn 75,000 points

Get Access To Exclusive Travel Tips &
My Travel Secrets In Your Inbox

Get Access To Exclusive Travel Tips &
My Travel Secrets In Your Inbox

Everything I Recommended

Sony a7R III A Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera with FE 20mm f/1.8 G Full-Frame Lens and Accessory Bundle (6 Items)

Sony Alpha a7 III - 24MP UHD 4K Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only) - AC-UUD12 AC Adapter - ALC-B1EM Body Cap - Accessory Shoe Cap - Eyepiece Cup - Micro-USB Cable - NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (2280mAh) - Shoulder Strap - Sony 1 Year Limited Warranty - Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS E-Mount Lens
Newly Developed - Full-frame 24.2MP Back-Illuminated Exmor R CMOS Image Sensor with Evolved Image Processing
Wide ISO range - of 100 - 51200 (expandable to ISO 50 - 204800 for still images) and 15-Stop Dynamic Range at low sensitivities
World Class AF system - featuring 693 phase-detection AF points covering 93% of image area, 425 contrast AF points and fast and reliable Eye AF
Continuous Shooting - at up to 10 fps with either Mechanical Shutter or Silent Shooting and full Auto Focus/Auto Exposure tracking

2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, Apple M1 Max chip with 10‑core CPU and 32‑core GPU, 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD) - Space Gray - Z15H00109

10-core - CPU, 32-core GPU
64GB - Memory
1TB - Storage

TEVA Men's Hurricane Xlt2 Sandals with EVA Foam Midsole and Rugged Durabrasion Rubber Outsole

Quick-dry webbing - made from recycled plastic using traceable, verifiable REPREVE polyester yarn by Unifi supports your foot and stands up to abuse
Injection-molded strap - ends for quick and easy grip and adjustability, Easy hook-and-loop closure comes on and off quickly and gets the fit just right
Robust EVA footbed - for enhanced comfort built for all-day wear
Nylon shank - stabilizes and supports your foot on uneven terrain
Best for - day hikes, light hikes

Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Stuff Sack 3-Piece Set (2.5L, 4L, and 6.5L Ultralight Stuff Sacks)

Set of three ultralight - water-resistant stuff sacks for organizing gear and clothing in a backpack or bag, for any outdoor or travel adventure
Manufactured - from lightweight 30D Ultra-Sil Cordura nylon; slippery finish makes it easy to slide bags into tight spaces for better packing
Drawcord top opening - with durable pull tab for quick and easy access to bag contents
Round base - has a reinforced webbing pull handle for easy carry; stress points are bartacked and seams are double stitched for durability
Includes three stuff sacks - 2.5 liter (open dimensions: 4 x 10 inches, weight: 0.5 ounces), 4 liter (open dimensions: 5 x 12 inches, weight: 0.5 ounces), 6.5 liter (open dimensions: 6.5 x 13 inches, weight: 0.6 ounces)

LaCie Rugged USB-C 4TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD, Drop Shock Dust Rain Resistant Shuttle Drive

Compatible with PC & Mac Quickly and easily connect to the latest Windows and Mac computers with Rugged’s reversible USB-C cable, or legacy computers using the included USB 3.0 adapter
Fast USB-C Enjoy fast USB-C 5Gb/s file transfers, backups, and image browsing
Protection Confidently tackle any terrain with drop, crush, and rain resistance
All-terrain use Shock, drops up to 4 feet, dust and water resistant for all-terrain use
Privacy Password protection built in

OlimpiaFit Quick Dry Towel - 3 Size Pack of Lightweight Microfiber Travel Towels w/ Bag - Fast Drying Towel Set for Camping, Beach, Gym, Backpacking, Sports, Yoga & Swim Use

COMPACT DESIGN - This sports towel set is packable for the gym, beach, and anywhere else you need them. They can easily be condensed in size 4x smaller than a camping towel of the same size.
FAST DRYING - Made with fibers that are much thinner than a standard microfiber towel, our quick dry towels have 4x as much surface area, allowing them to absorb more water and dry up to 3x as fast.
MULTIPURPOSE - Each set includes 3 lightweight travel towels in the sizes 50"x30", 30"x15", and 15"x15". Use them as swim towels to dry off, gym towels during a workout, or small beach towels on vacation.
HIGH QUALITY - Every microfiber travel towel is made with premium material that shares the same smooth qualities as satin. They're also super absorbent, odor-resistant, and won't smell after drying.
SOFT - If you're looking for a packable beach towel or swim towel, give this one a go! It has a slip-resistant surface and extra plush microfiber that is oh-so-gentle on your face, body, and skin.

GoPro HERO10 Black

More Power. More Clarity - More Stability. Revolutionary Processor: Faster. Smoother. Better. The powerful new GP2 engine changes the game—snappy performance, responsive touch controls and double the frame rate for amazingly smooth footage. Designed specifically for the demanding nature of the GoPro, the GP2 “system on a chip” is by far our fastest ever.
MORE STABILITY - Groundbreaking HyperSmooth 4.0 is our most advanced stabilization ever. 8X SLO-MO. - HERO10 Black captures up to 240 frames per second for astonishing 8x slo-mo. MORE ACCELERATION. - Record mesmerizing time-lapse videos with LIVEBURST - Record 1.5 seconds before and after your shot. Find the best pic or share it as a short video.
KEY SPECIFICATIONS - SCREEN SIZE - 23MP GP2 Chip with Improved Performance - 5.3K60/4K120/2.7K240 Video, 23MP Photos - New Front Display/Rear Touchscreen - Cloud Connected, 1080p Live Streaming - Enhanced Low-Light Performance - HyperSmooth 4.0 Image Stabilization - 33' Waterproof without a Housing - Time-Lapse & Night-Lapse, 8x Slo-Mo - Built-In Flip-Out 2-Prong Mount - 1720mAh Capacity Battery
Night-Lapse Video - In-Camera Horizon Leveling; Live View Front Display & Intuitive Rear Touchscreen; Webcam Mode & 1080p HD Live Streaming. Standard, Activity, Cinematic, Slo-Mo & Custom Presets; Voice Control; Portrait Orientation; RAW Photo Mode; Built-In Mounting
Bundle Includes – 1 x GoPro HERO10 Black - Waterproof Action Camera with Front LCD and Touch Rear Screens, 5.3K HD Video, 23MP Photos, 1080p Live Streaming, Stabilization | 1 x Compatible Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery | 1 x Extreme Pro 64gb microSDXC Card | 1 x 6AVE Electronics TM Microfiber Cloth

Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack

Meets carry-on size - restrictions for most domestic airlines - Dimensions 21.5h x 14w x 9d IN.
U-zip - zip access to main compartment with lockable zippers on main and laptop compartments - 46L total volume
Shoulder straps - and hipbelt can be tucked away when the bag is checked
Protected rear - panel zip laptop sleeve and front panel vertical zippered pocket for books or other documents
Tuckaway web loops - to attach a shoulder strap (sold separately)
StraightJacket compression - straps compress the bag to a smaller size when it isn’t full
Dual internal zippered - organization side pockets and front panel organization with zippered pocket and key clip
Reinforced cord loops - to attach an Osprey Daylite daypack (sold separately)

Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices - Black (Wired 3.5mm)

Apple compatible devices - Applies to: QC 25 noise cancelling headphones Apple devices The remote and mic are compatible with the following Apple devices: iPhone 3GS or later iPad iPod touch 2nd generation or later iPod classic 120GB, 160GB iPod nano 4th generation or later
Deep, powerful sound - for the music you love
Lightweight, comfortable around - ear fit you can wear all day long
Control your music - and calls on Apple devices with inline mic/remote

Explore More Travel Tips

Hacks & Points, Travel Tips

Advertiser Disclosure

Drew Binsky has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Drew Binsky and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Editorial Disclosure

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Editorial Disclosure

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.