BBB Tip: How to avoid purchasing fake tickets to events | Business

As another Texas summer with record-breaking heat ends and the beginning of the fall season approaches, many people will be looking to get out and enjoy themselves at various events across the state. Residents may be planning to watch their favorite sports team compete this season or attend a concert featuring a famous musician. With the prices of tickets to major events increasing and the ever-present threat of con artists capitalizing on marketplace trends, BBB recommends consumers exercise caution when searching for and purchasing tickets to their next event.

While most people know to be careful when purchasing tickets off a third-party website or reseller, recent reports to BBB Scam Tracker show a concerning trend of scammers disguising themselves as reputable ticket sellers when interacting with the victim. These schemes often leverage the credibility of companies such as Ticketmaster to convince victims to provide payment for tickets that are either fake, for the wrong event or priced significantly higher than the going rate. Some may also advertise discounted tickets for high-priced seats or sections, which turns out to be false once the tickets are received, or the purchaser arrives at the venue.

In many worst-case scenarios, a consumer who is provided a fake ticket plans an entire weekend around the event, including travel costs and a hotel room, only to be turned away at the entrance. Victims may also find that the credit or debit card used to pay for the tickets has a series of charges they do not recognize, resulting in them having to cancel the card and dispute those transactions with their bank to varying degrees of success.

To help prevent fraudulent sellers from interrupting your event plans, Better Business Bureau provides the following tips:

  • Purchase directly from the venue whenever possible. Many consumers automatically go to a secondary resale market to purchase tickets for an upcoming event before first checking with the venue. Going directly to the venue may not only save money but is also a way to ensure that a purchase is for a valid ticket. Venues also often include what secondary resale organization they are listing their tickets on, giving consumers an additional layer of protection from purchasing fake tickets.
  • Consider your source. There is a significant difference between purchasing a ticket from a professional ticket broker and a ticket scalper. While dealing with the latter may result in obtaining valid tickets, the risk of encountering a scammer is significantly greater. Always exercise caution when purchasing from sources that are not members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) or Better Business Bureau.
  • Research the seller/broker. Brokers who are members of NATB offer a 200% purchase guarantee on tickets, protecting consumers that use their services. Visit to confirm you are interacting with a NATB-member resale company.
  • Check for website encryption. It is good practice to always check for the lock symbol in the website address, indicating a secured system is enabled on the site. BBB strongly recommends against giving any banking information to websites that are not secured.
  • Know the refund policy. Only purchase tickets from a ticket reseller that clearly details the purchase terms. Avoid sellers who do not disclose where the seats are located or where purchasers can pick up tickets. If the deal seems “too good to be true,” trust your instincts and thoroughly investigate the seller before purchasing tickets.
  • Use protected payment options. Debit or gift cards, mobile banking apps and cash transactions are risky due to difficulties recovering money if the tickets are fake. BBB recommends using credit cards for all online purchases due to the additional protections they offer consumers to obtain a refund.
  • Verify tickets. If you doubt the authenticity of a purchased ticket, present it to the “Will Call” or customer service center of the event venue. They will inform you if it is legitimate or explain how a legitimate ticket for their venue should look.

If you have been a victim of a fake ticket scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Information provided could prevent another person from falling victim.

For more information about ticket scams, visit

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The good, the bad and the ugly of PFD airfare deals

Alaskans have grown up with the Permanent Fund dividend — and with the travel deals that accompany the annual payout.

This year is no different, other than the PFD checks are distributed a couple of weeks early.

The big bargains are coming from Alaska Airlines. But this year, for the first time, Delta is rolling out discounts from all three of its year-round Alaska gateways: Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. Delta offers flights from Juneau only on Saturdays and Sundays through the winter.

Alaska Air, for its part, is offering sale prices from all of its jet ports, except Prudhoe Bay. In addition to offering bargains on flights to the Lower 48, Alaska is offering discounted fares for in-state travel. From Kotzebue to Anchorage is $126 one-way. From Fairbanks to Bethel is $164 one-way.

Delta is offering discounted fares to most, but not all, of its destinations in the Lower 48. From Rochester, New York, to Birmingham, Alabama to Duluth, Minnesota, Delta is offering a PFD fare.

Whether you’re flying on Delta or Alaska, you have to plan at least 21 days in advance. That’s really not an issue, though, since many of the destinations don’t have availability until early December.

Many travelers are ready for airfares to come down from the dizzying summertime prices. Checking on PFD fares from both carriers, there’s some good, some bad and some ugly features.


Alaska Airlines is resuming its nonstop flights to Hawaii from Anchorage. The nonstop to Honolulu starts on Nov. 18, but prices are high until Jan. 9, 2023 when tickets are available for as little as $177 one-way.

Alaska’s Anchorage-Maui nonstop resumes in mid-December. But the deals roll out as Alaska Air introduces daily service on Jan. 9. The tickets are priced low: $159 each way.

Alaska Air also is flying nonstop every day from Anchorage to Kona between Jan. 9 and Mar. 16. The PFD special is $159 each way.

Delta’s twice-weekly flights between Juneau and Seattle this winter are enough to keep a damper on prices. The airline is charging $79 each way between Juneau and Seattle. But Juneau travelers can fly all the way to New York for $165 each way. Or to Phoenix for $140 each way.

Delta’s single daily flight between Fairbanks and Seattle also keeps prices down all winter in the Golden Heart City. Many fares, such as Fairbanks-Seattle for $99 each way, are the same as Anchorage rates. That’s a win for Fairbanks travelers, who are accustomed to paying much more for air travel. Another “common-rated” destination is San Jose del Cabo at the tip of Baja California. Whether you leave from Anchorage or Fairbanks on Alaska Airlines, the prices start at just $199 each way. The return flights cost more: from $249 one-way.

Alaska Airlines is bringing extra firepower to its PFD sale this year. The airline is giving away a couple of Holland America cruises (including airfare), as well as two sets of Alaska Air tickets in a PFD Sweepstakes. No purchase is necessary.

Delta resumed its two-bags-free offer for Alaska residents. To qualify, you have to be a SkyMiles member at least 24 hours prior to check-in.

With both Delta and Alaska offering PFD fares, there are good deals to lots of towns that aren’t normally on sale. This includes Alaska’s PFD offers to all its destinations in Alaska (except Prudhoe Bay and seasonal service to Gustavus). For Delta, it includes destinations like Des Moines, Iowa, Fargo, N.D., Memphis, Tennessee, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Charlotte, N.C.


When you’re searching for a good deal, be aware of the connection time. Airlines will display fares that have two stops, or include 8-hour layovers. For example, on Nov. 1, Delta offers a flight from Anchorage to L.A. for $158 one-way. Alaska offers the same fare, but there’s an eight-hour layover in Seattle.

All the prices quoted here are for “Saver” tickets of “Basic Economy” on Delta. That means you cannot change your ticket. Pre-assigned seats are very rare on Alaska Air and specifically not included with Delta. On Delta, you won’t earn SkyMiles credit with Basic flights. The upcharge to “Main Cabin” is between $30 and $60 each way.

Delta is not offering a PFD special to three of its most-popular hubs: Atlanta, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City. But Alaska is offering promo fares to those cities. Delta is offering a nice fare of $198 one-way between Anchorage and Detroit.


Blackouts. You cannot find a PFD fare at Thanksgiving, Christmas or Spring Break. Those flights typically are full of schoolkids, their parents and their teachers.

Alaska Air’s blackout dates are comprehensive: Nov. 17-28 (Thanksgiving), Dec. 15-Jan. 8, 2023 (Christmas) and March 10-21, 2023 (Spring Break).

Delta’s list of blackout dates is more complicated: Nov. 18-29, Dec. 16-18, 20-24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 3, 2023. Feb. 16-17, 20. March 3-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27 and March 30-April 3. April 6-10, 13-16, 21-23.

There are other important facts about the PFD sale. All tickets must be purchased by Sept. 29. All travel must be completed by May 17, 2023 for Alaska Air destinations. Some Delta destinations end earlier than that, though. For example, travel on Delta to Memphis is available for $198 one-way and travel must be completed by March 8, 2023.

Between Alaska and most destinations in the Lower 48, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Prices and restrictions change without notice. They’ve already changed since they were introduced earlier this week. They are likely to change again before the sale ends on Sept. 29.

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Takeaways From Buffs At Air Force

BOULDER — After two games and two losses by an average of 28 points, Colorado Buffaloes coach Karl Dorrell didn’t mince words.

In his postgame press conference following Saturday’s 41-10 loss at Air Force, Dorrell said, “We have a tremendous amount of work to do … the coaches and myself, we all take responsibility for it.”

Saturday’s defeat at Falcon Stadium bore some similarity to Colorado’s season-opening 38-13 loss to TCU. Despite some early mistakes, the Buffs were in the game in the third quarter — and then they weren’t. CU failed to take advantage when opportunity knocked, and the Falcons were more than happy to slam the door.

Our takeaways from Week 2:

1. Inability to convert crucial short-yardage situations. Despite two early turnovers that put the Buffs in a 20-0 hole, Colorado had a chance to close the gap to 20-17 early in the third quarter and make it anyone’s ballgame.

But a first-and-goal at the Air Force 2-yard line produced a fumble on second down, an AFA recovery and an empty trip to the red zone. Colorado then failed to convert a fourth-and-2 in Air Force territory on its next possession — with the score still 20-10 — and later in the game came up short on fourth-and-3 when quarterback J.T. Shrout slid too early with the first down marker well within his reach.

Saturday was not a one-time aberration. The Buffs were 0-for-3 on fourth-down tries the previous week, including a try deep in TCU territory early in the game that would have given CU some terrific early momentum.

Granted, had the Buffs been able to convert at the goal line Saturday, there’s no guarantee the game would have turned out differently. But it no doubt would have been at least interesting to see how Colorado would have responded had the Buffs been able to narrow the deficit to three and apply a little more pressure to the Falcons.

2. Still no answer at quarterback. The Buffs went with Shrout the entire game Saturday, ending a streak of 13 consecutive starts for Brendon Lewis.

But the change didn’t inject much life into the CU offense. The Buffs had just one drive that went for longer than 26 yards, a 71-yard touchdown march in the second quarter when Colorado’s running game suddenly found life. After that, however, the Buffs never really established anything resembling a rhythm again.

By no means was the limited production all on the shoulders of Shrout. CU didn’t handle the wet conditions particularly well. Colorado receivers had their hands on a half-dozen passes that fell incomplete — with one tip leading to an interception. It also appeared that Shrout, who hadn’t had any extended playing time in roughly two years, is also still finding his touch in the short game.

“We’re going to have to find someone that can give us a spark,” Dorrell said. “We have to continue to develop that position. Maybe we need to look at some of these younger guys, too.”

That group included sophomore Drew Carter, who had a handful of snaps last year, true freshman Owen McCown and freshman transfer Maddox Kopp

(Historical side note here that means nothing more than the guy writing this is old: Thirty years ago — Sept. 19, 1992 —  the Buffs traveled to Minnesota and trailed 17-0 early in the third quarter. QB Kordell Stewart did not play because of an injury and backup Duke Tobin was struggling. CU completed just two passes in the first half and had minus-8 yards rushing. Buffs coach Bill McCartney then yanked the redshirt off true freshman Koy Detmer. The Texas prep product came in and rallied Colorado to a 21-20 victory, throwing a 49-yard touchdown pass to Michael Westbrook and a 24-yard TD pass to Charles E. Johnson for the game winner. Detmer finished 11-for-18 for 184 yards and two touchdowns, and was named the Big Eight Offensive Player of the Week. One other note from the game: Colorado’s wide receivers coach that night was Karl Dorrell.)

3. CU’s defense gave the Buffs a chance. Yes, the Falcons scored 41 points and rang up 435 yards rushing. But Colorado also forced three AFA turnovers and with 10:40 left in the third quarter, the Buffs were 2 yards away from making it a 20-17 ballgame.

Colorado’s defense also had a solid first half against TCU, shutting the Horned Frogs offense out for the first two quarters and giving the Buffs a chance to be in that game.

Linebacker Quinn Perry is quickly becoming a force. He finished with 17 tackles against AFA, including one for loss. Fellow LB Josh Chandler-Semedo had 10 stops and it’s likely that safety Trevor Woods would have finished in double digits had he not been ejected early in the third quarter for targeting. He finished with eight tackles, including one for loss, and had a big hit that produced an AFA fumble and led to a Colorado field goal.

Also promising was the play of second-year freshman defensive lineman Tyas Martin. The 6-4, 340-pounder finished with four tackles and gave CU some needed depth in the trenches.

4. Air Force is very experienced and very good. That was a veteran bunch the Buffaloes faced Saturday, with seniors up and down the starting lineup. Nobody is going to be surprised if the Falcons run the table in the Mountain West and put themselves in position for at least a New Year’s Day bowl.

5. The Buffaloes are young. Dorrell bristles at the thought of using this as an excuse, but truth is, the Buffs are wet behind the ears in plenty of places. CU has 90 underclassmen on the roster (60 freshmen and 30 sophomores).

It’s not an alibi for Colorado’s performance thus far. You play the hand you are dealt. 

But for two straight weeks, the Buffs have been in the game in the second half, then watched it quickly get out of hand. Young players have to learn how to play through adversity — and right now, the vast majority of CU’s roster is undergoing a very painful learning curve.

6. The schedule doesn’t get any easier. Next weekend, the Buffs travel to Minnesota, who has been receiving Top 25 votes. After that, it’s a home game with UCLA, which is spending its non-conference time tuning up against Bowling Green, Alabama State and South Alabama.

Again, it’s the hand Dorrell’s team has been dealt. You won’t hear any excuses coming from the UCHealth Champions Center.

But the Buffs have to figure out a way to finish some of those critical early drives and take advantage of opportunities when they arise.

“When we had a chance to capitalize, we didn’t follow through,” Dorrell said. “We didn’t finish. We have work to do.”


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Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 review – Full-Suspension – Mountain Bikes

Canyon’s previous-generation Torque was one of a dying breed of long-travel 650b-wheeled bikes.

It’s been reworked substantially this year, with new frame details, revised geometry and bigger 29in wheels at each end.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 frame and suspension

Canyon relies on its familiar four-bar suspension design on the new Torque.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

In common with other new Canyons, the Torque’s low-slung frame has good standover clearance, rocks some pretty slick lines and is better finished than ever.

Out back, there’s the tried-and-tested four-bar suspension design we’ve come to expect from the German brand, plus a SRAM universal derailleur hanger, which will be easier to replace if you damage it hucking off cliffs away from home.

The new Torque is also available in carbon fibre, with adjustable geometry (via a flip chip at the tip of the seatstays, which isn’t on the alloy version) and 29in, 650b or mixed (MX) wheel sizes.

Cables are routed into the chunky aluminium frame.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

This, however, is the seriously robust-looking aluminium chassis, with big, beaded welds on the compact front triangle.

The old shock yoke is gone, with the air-sprung Fox Float X2 damper now attaching directly to the seatstay tip, and the smooth-edged rocker link wrapping around the curved seat tube to meet the stays further down.

There’s (finally) room for a water bottle on the curvy down tube. The pivot hardware uses steel inserts for durability, but the frame is still said to be 200g lighter than the previous generation.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 geometry

Geometry is pretty standard for a bike of this type, with the effective seat tube angle 78 degrees.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

This aluminium Torque lacks the geometry-adjust feature found on the carbon version.

Instead, Canyon has split the difference, giving the AL version the head angle from the slack setting (63.5 degrees) and the effective seat tube angle of the steeper setting (78 degrees) as found on the carbon frame, along with the 30mm bottom bracket (BB) drop.

These angles are pretty normal for a ‘bike park’ machine nowadays, and Canyon has stretched the latest Torque’s (carbon and aluminium frames) sizing so it’s in line with many contemporaries.

The large frame tested here has a 485mm reach (the key indicator of distance from hands to feet). While this sounds roomy, it’s actually 5mm shorter than the reach on the carbon 29er and doesn’t leave the frame feeling massive.

This is something to be aware of, because loads of rival mountain bikes with marginally shorter claimed reaches on paper feel bigger than this.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 specifications

Fizik’s Gravita Alpaca X5 sits on an own-brand dropper post.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

It’ll be no surprise to hear that Canyon has nailed the component choices.

As one of the biggest brands, it’s at the front of the line for the best parts in times of supply issues, and by selling direct to the customer and delivering in a cardboard box, its prices are roughly 25 per cent better value than shop-bought rivals.

Highlights include stiff and strong DT Swiss freeride FR 2070 wheels with 30mm-wide (internal) FR 560 rims that are hard to dent and damage. These are shod with arguably the best Maxxis tyre combination – a 3C MaxxGrip-compound Assegai up front and faster-rolling MaxxTerra Minion DHR II at the rear, with EXO+ and DD casings, respectively.

The choice of Maxxis front and rear tyres is spot-on.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

The trade-off for the strong wheels is more weight to lug uphill, and the workhorse drivetrain and brakes weigh marginally more than pricier kit, too.

However, Shimano’s SLX kit is perfectly sorted and reliable, providing wide-range gearing to winch up the steeps and powerful enough four-piston calipers and Ice-Tech brake pads that really bite on fast descents.

While the Performance-level Fox 38 fork and Float X2 shock have reduced adjustment and a slightly less refined ride quality than the brand’s priciest Elite and Factory kit, you can still add low-speed rebound and compression damping at both ends, via countable-click dials and a sweeping compression knob on top of the oversized fork leg.

Canyon’s own bar, stem and dropper seatpost are well-finished, a sensible shape and function well, plus the bike comes with a bottle cage installed to save you some money.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 ride impressions.

Climbing performance

This is not a bike designed primarily for climbing.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

With a frame construction rated ‘Cat 5’ by Canyon, the Torque shares the same bombproof build quality as the Sender DH rig raced at World Cups, which gives you a clue as to the major intentions here. Basically, this thing isn’t designed to win any climbing competitions.

That said, it pedals fine, with minimal bob (no matter which sprocket you’re in on the cassette), smooth turnover and a good seated position, which places your hips over the cranks and never tips your weight too far back, even on the steepest pitches.

Being built like a DH tank, the limiting factor to climbing speed is the Torque AL’s weight. At over 16.5kg, it’s a noticeable chunk of bike to lug uphill for extended periods.

Add to this the designed-to-last wheels being heavy and the sticky/grippy front tyre being painfully slow-rolling on tarmac and smooth fireroads, and climbing can be a bit of a drag. Don’t expect to get anywhere particularly fast uphill or over undulating ground.

This is all typical for the category, although there are a few bikes – such as Propain’s Spindrift – that defy expectations of how sprightly and frisky a super-long-travel enduro mountain bike can pedal and climb. Those bikes are way faster under power and quicker to accelerate than the new Torque.

Descending performance

Point the Torque 29 AL 6 downhill and it really comes into its own.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

With 29in wheels and 170mm of travel, you’d expect Canyon’s rig to thrive downhill with minimal drama and maximum speed, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Pretty much nothing unsettles the wheels on the ground or scrubs the edge off its pace, and the suspension at both ends feels deep and fluid enough to iron out creases on seriously rocky and rooty terrain.

The large size has stacks of stability and a calm ride. It trucks on down everything from raw, loamy enduro tracks littered with natural obstructions and blown-out holes, to faster baked-hard, big-bermed DH or bike-park style terrain.

The suspension is well tuned and not so numbing or isolating that you can’t get a sense of the terrain under the wheels, but if you want to turn off your brain, stand tall, look ahead and let the Torque do its thing, you’ll fire out the exit of tracks of practically any steepness and severity unfazed.

One area where this 29er seriously differs from its predecessor (and, to an extent, from the MX CF Torque) is that it’s definitely not as manoeuvrable or as responsive to sudden inputs of body language – for example, when initiating a lean angle to cut through turns.

It also feels as though the suspension sweet spot keeps your centre of gravity marginally higher than on the old 650b-wheeled Torque.

Both these factors mean it sits marginally higher through turns and flat corners, and it isn’t as easy to load the chassis in the mid-stroke to switch direction, pump hollows or bounce back off the rear end for extra acceleration in the apex of turns.

Smooth arcs, rather than acute angles, are the way to maintain speed, then, and the whole bike feels soft, forgiving and smooth rather than taut and springy.

Testing the latest carbon Torque earlier in the year, the frame felt absolutely bombproof, but transmitted a lot of terrain feedback through hands and feet. This isn’t the case here.

This may be a consequence of the alloy frame being better-damped, the bigger rear wheel, or the different shock and fork feeling slightly less supportive – it’s hard to say.

The Fox Float X2 damper now attaches directly to the seatstay tip.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

What is clear, though, is that there’s less of the harshness and sense of a slightly fatiguing, rattly, vibration-laden ride apparent on the beefier carbon chassis.

Instead, the AL rides silently, even through the roughest sections and with puncture-defying higher tyre pressures, despite its lower-tier suspension.

This might make it the better latest-generation Torque to take somewhere such as the Alps or your local bike park for non-stop, hand-wrecking, arm pump-inducing uplift laps.

How does the Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 compare to rivals?

Canyon is right on the money with the new Torque when it comes to pricing and spec.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

As a 650b-wheeled bike-park rig, Canyon’s previous-generation Torque had a unique, distinct set of attributes that saw it rule on jumps and man-made features, fizzing over with energy and tautness.

This new model is totally sorted, but being smooth and composed, rather than super-agile, it fails to transcend the crowded marketplace of similarly capable long-travel enduro rigs.

It’s still a sorted package, though, and you can’t argue with the price or spec here.

It’s unlike two long-travel chameleons in this category that balance super-enduro capability with a taut, responsive ride quality; Propain’s Spindrift and the Evil Wreckoning – the German bike blending high-speed enduro smoothness with corner-slicing attitude, and the latter popping and hopping off every trail feature more like the previous-generation Torque.

Canyon Torque 29 Al 6 bottom line

Solid is very much the defining word for the Torque 29 AL 6.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

A solid package in every sense of the word, Canyon’s Torque AL 6 has got your back in the gnarliest terrain, pedals well and has great kit.

It’s a tad heavy and doesn’t quite have the taut, responsive attitude of the MX CF version, though, or that bike’s ability to encourage flicking off every little rise, lip and berm.

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Professional packer’s 10 tips for car trips – including a bin and toy cushion

Nicola Lewis – who runs the thisgirlcanorganise Instagram page – has a passion for fitting things ergonomically into the back of cars and likes to help others do the same

Portrait of a smiling family with two children at beach in the car
Fitting everyone in the car can be difficult

A specialist car packing expert has shard her top tips for squeezing everything into a motor.

As anyone with a sizeable family, large dogs or a passion for car boot sales knows, fitting everything you need into a car is difficult.

That problem becomes even more pronounced when heading off on a holiday that requires luggage.

To offer a helping hand to those struggling to make all of life’s objects fit, renowned organisation expert Nicola Lewis – who runs the thisgirlcanorganise Instagram page – has provided her top tips for those travelling to near and far destinations in their cars over the summer months.



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Nicola’s handy hacks and hints for savvy space-saving packing include:

  • Clip a hook on the back of the front seats to hang your bag.
  • Introduce a car bin to keep the car tidy – The lining is also waterproof so can be cleaned easily.
  • If you have little ones, then a hanging car organiser is very useful for storing the kids’ toys.
  • Fill a cushion with your kid’s comforters or cuddly toys. It also acts as a cosy pillow for long car journeys.
  • Plastic wallets are great for storing small essential items like copies of your driver’s licence, insurance details, receipts, notepad, and pen. Store them inside your glove compartment along with your logbook.
  • Store a small coin purse in the side panel of your car to use when at the supermarket or car parks.
  • Pack a ‘just in case’ bag filled with tissues, eco wipes and sick bags should there be a spillage or accident enroute. Store the bag under the front passenger seat.

Earlier this year flight attendants from Emirates s hared some similarly sage wisdom, but for those heading off on a plane rather than in the car.

They advised:

Making a list

Make a checklist of everything you need. Not only will this help you save time packing, but it can also reduce the risk of forgetting essentials you need for your travels.

Rolling your clothes rather than folding

Try tightly rolling your clothes. Not only does this mean they’ll be more compact and leave you with extra space, but this method can also help to cut down on creases!

Packing versatile items

Opt for clothes that are flexible enough to cover a variety of situations, such as jeans or plain T-shirts. This is a simple yet effective way to reduce the amount you’re taking, and leave yourself plenty of room for all of the other essentials you need. (Or even for a holiday souvenir or two!).

Always leaving extra space

You may not plan to pick up any souvenirs, but you never know; if something catches your eye or you find yourself doing some unexpected shopping, you won’t need to worry about fitting everything in a suitcase that was already full.

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Shopping tips for Aldi newbies

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) – August 24 in Ocean Springs, Aldi will open its first store on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and shoppers are excited.

In an effort to keep costs low, Aldi operates a little differently than most other grocery stores. And it’s that slight mystery that’s adding to the anticipation. Here are a few things you should know before your first shopping trip to Aldi.

1. Bring a quarter for a shopping buggy

Don’t worry, you’ll get your quarter back. But in order to use a buggy, you must first put in a quarter to unlock it from the others. When you bring it back, you get the quarter back. Remember, they’re cutting costs and that means they’re not paying an employee to go wrangle all the stray buggies people leave in the parking lot.

If you’re going to be a regular, you may want to pick up the Aldi Quarter Keychain. It attaches to your keyring so you’ll always have a quarter with you. The store is always coming out with new designs, so you’ll be able to find one that suits your style.

The Aldi Quarter Keychain attaches to your keyring so you’ll always have a quarter with you for...
The Aldi Quarter Keychain attaches to your keyring so you’ll always have a quarter with you for a shopping buggy.(WLOX)

2. Bring your own bags

If you ever shop at Sam’s Club, you should be used to this one. Just bring your own reusable bags, or snag an empty box off a shelf to help you carry everything out. The no free bag policy helps cut costs, and you can feel good about using less plastic. If you don’t have any bags to bring, you can buy reusable grocery bags at the store. You’ll find them for sale at the checkout.

3. Bag your own groceries

This one should be obvious, since you have to bring your own bags. The cashier will scan your items and load them back into your buggy. Typically, you will then bag up your items after you pay. The good news is however you prefer for your groceries to be bagged is exactly how they will be bagged at Aldi. (Because you’re doing the bagging. Get it?)

4. No coupons allowed

If you love clipping coupons and pairing them with the weekly sales, you’re going to have to save that hobby for another store. More than 90% of everything sold in Aldi stores is packaged under the Aldi brand. And for the few national brands in the store, they don’t accept coupons. There is one exception. Occasionally, Aldi will print and distribute coupons for a special, regional promotion, like a grand opening. So if you go to the grand opening of the Ocean Springs store, you may get one of the elusive Aldi coupons. But they won’t be online. They’re always handed out at the stores or mailed to you personally.

5. There’s an Aisle of Shame

The Aisle of Shame is an affectionate nickname for the center aisle of Aldi that features seasonal items which change every week. But it’s even more than that. There’s also a blog and newsletter for Aldi fans, which you can find at And there’s an Aisle of Shame Facebook page and Facebook Group with 1.3 million members. This is part of what makes Aldi different than other grocery stores. It kind of has a cult, I mean, community following.

6. Aldi’s return policy is 🔥

They call it their Twice as Nice Guarantee. If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with the quality of any Aldi brand food item, Aldi will replace the product AND refund your money. You must have your receipt if you want the refund in the same way you paid. But even if you don’t, they’ll give you an Aldi Merchandise Credit gift card equal to the current retail price of the returned item. Computers and electronics are the only items that have a time limit on returns. They must be returned with a receipt within 90 days of purchase.

7. Aldi offers grocery delivery and pickup

Aldi’s delivery is operated by Instacart. So if you already have an Instacart account or the mobile app, just log in with your email address and password. You can also visit and enter your zip code to determine if your local store offers delivery and/or pickup. Learn more at

ALDI is opening 150 new stores this year with 20 of those in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. By the end of 2022, ALDI is on track to be the third largest grocer in the country.

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Here’s why you should keep a travel journal

It’s a question almost as ancient as the urge to travel: How do you preserve the discoveries you made—and the lessons you learned—on your journeys?

In these days of digital documentation the question is even more pressing. Because even though the Internet is forever, a posting on Instagram barely scratches the surface of the sensations of real travel: How being somewhere new makes you feel, the scent in the air, the taste of food, the laughter in the café, the echo in the canyon.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that travel journals are making a comeback. If a journal was good enough for Greek historian Herodotus, whose account of his journeys in the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt (Histories, circa 440 B.C.) has stood the test of time, then it’s good enough for your own travels.

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Through the time-honored technology of a travel journal, you can take an intimate and authentic snapshot of an experience and let it inform your life and future journeys—while striking a balance between relegating expansive moments to Instagram, and stuffing your house with keepsakes.

But there are some modern ways to keep a useful and inspiring journal. Surprisingly, they don’t involve posting about your travels online. There’s a reason: Our online profiles showcase our best sides, and, intentional or not, we usually tailor posts to what we think other people want to see. In a personal travel journal, you record a more authentic version of events without catering to an external audience. Your goal is a readership of one: Yourself.

With a physical record, you keep much more than a photo and a few words. You record things that feel significant to you. When thumbing through a journal or printed photos, you share a moment with your past self, as you chat about what you were thinking and feeling during your travels. With a little planning, pen, and paper, all the most important parts of your next trip can be accessible to you for years to come. It may seem intimidating, but the hardest part is starting.

Make time for yourself

Before you get on the road or take to the skies, the first step for journaling success is packing the right materials. Hedda Helle Kalland (@mochibujo on Instagram and YouTube) of Norway makes her living sharing her travels and journaling online.

“You’re going to use things that are easy to pull out and bring with you everywhere,” Kalland says. “I try not to make things too elaborate and too big because then it’s not going to be convenient, especially when you’re traveling.”

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To make sure you’ll have time to pause and reflect, block sections of time to sit at a café or bar, lie out on the beach or in a park. Set a reminder on your phone to sit down and jot down whatever comes to mind, without judgment, for just five or ten minutes. On busy sightseeing trips, it can be a godsend to have some time to rest your feet and really take in all the beautiful and interesting things you’ve seen. It can also help to choose a time when there’s a natural pause in activity, like on a train ride or at the end of the evening.

For moments of writer’s block, jot some simple prompts in the front of your notebook, like: What did I do or see for the very first time today? When today did I notice strong emotions? What can I hear or smell right now in this spot? What was the hardest thing about today and how did I deal with it? What did I see or do today that I wish I could incorporate into my daily life?

Pro tip: Add fun stationery to your kit to make journaling time more enjoyable. Try colorful pens. Pack some stickers, stamps, and washi tape to make your entries stand out. Let your destination inspire a color palette and make that the visual theme of your journal.

Focus on things that matter to you

Recording an experience is always secondary to being present and mindfully participating in your travels. When you get a feeling of enchantment, wonder, or even adrenaline or nerves, take the time to experience that feeling.

You can’t capture every detail of your trip, so decide what to focus on by noticing moments that affect you. Maybe it’s a meal, museum display, a conversation with a vendor or your travel partner. Snap a photo, jot down some notes, gather receipts, sketches, ticket stubs, or flowers to press in your notebook. The details you capture will help you recall and re-engage with those experiences years from now.

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Jotting down a few core pieces of information will make your notes and photos much more useful to look back on. Get into the habit of noting the date, time, and location wherever you can.

National Geographic staff photographer Mark Thiessen uses his phone to record GPS data when he’s on assignment. It helps him identify images on trips, including one he made to an archeological dig in Ethiopia, where many locations looked similar in an expansive desert.

“I was in the Ethiopian desert on an archeological dig just before COVID hit, and I wanted to know where I was. Camp was in the middle of the desert, we drove 45 minutes in the morning to get to another part of the desert, and it all looked the same,” he says. “Just like folding over the corner of a book to mark an interesting page, taking a photo with your GPS-enabled smartphone essentially bookmarks that location, as well as the date and time and what that location looks like. This is like leaving digital breadcrumbs of your journey.”

Thiessen notes that if you’re using a digital camera with GPS abilities, that function can drain its battery; an easy workaround is snapping a smartphone photo to get all the information you need.

When you get a chance to work on your analog journal, take the information from those digital conveniences to help your future self place details in time and place. It can be as simple as leaving a dateline (for example: 4:40 p.m., East Village, NYC) above details of a memory, or as elaborate as devoting a page to sketch out the shape of a city or country, and plotting rough points where special moments happened.

Pro tip: Don’t know what to write about? Start with your senses. Recording how that Parisian pastry tastes or how the prairie grass near Mount Rushmore smells is one of the most evocative ways to relive experiences and recall memories.

Select just a few photos

The best record of your experience begins with images and notes that evoke what moved or inspired you at the time. Your snapshot of the Eiffel Tower is unique to the moment you were there.

The journal-keeper’s challenge is to distill an expansive experience into a focused narrative. You might not remember everything, but you can preserve a sensation and immersion that matters to you.

National Geographic staff photographer Becky Hale says she tries to choose a single photograph that is evocative of a trip, such as an image she printed after visiting Scotland with her husband.

“Honestly, I could have spent the entire trip just taking photos. When I got home, I settled on printing one simple image I made while hiking in the Scottish Highlands. I printed it quite large, to try and capture how small I felt hiking in that environment,” Hale says. “For me, printing a single, strong image that felt emblematic of where we’d been, felt better than trying to print and frame every great moment from our trip. Every time I look at it, I think about our great afternoon hike, but also all of the stunning landscapes I encountered while traveling.”

Pro tip: When curating your pictures, don’t be too precious. Print some photos, but not too many; each photo you choose should tell a different story instead of featuring several similar images. Set a limit for selected photos from each day of your trip. Choose one image that captures the whole trip to hang on your wall.

Create your story

As powerful as visuals are, don’t stop with images. Once you’ve collected snapshots, random thoughts, and ephemera (tickets, brochures, postcards), how do you turn these into an integrated story in your journal?

Imagine your travel archive is a gift that you will give yourself years from now. What can you include to imbue it with meaning when you revisit it? Keep it small enough to be accessible, not overwhelming. Group items in your archive by date and location to help anchor moments in space and time. Images and journal entries help you recall how you felt when you were there.

Don’t feel like you need to agonize over every choice. Remember, your curation should be a enjoyable reflection on your travels.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help—or advice from experts. With a photographic collection that includes images dating back to the 1870s, the archivists at National Geographic have found notes, journals, letters, and collected items to be invaluable resources.

“We have mostly photographic assets, though we do also have artwork and additional materials like photographer captions and expedition notes,” says Rebecca Dupont, an image archivist at National Geographic. “The captions and notes associated with these assets, often written by the photographers themselves, can provide stories from their experiences, people they spoke to, things they witnessed, along with all the basics of date and place.”

Any trip you take, near or far, whether it was full of new experiences or quiet and relaxing—can yield records as rich as those from great explorers breaking new ground. Reliving a memory becomes easy with just a little time and note taking.

Pro tip: Limit the space you dedicate to an archive for each trip. One notebook, a limited number of printed photos, and a small box should be enough space for your mementos, notebook, and photos.

Anna Lee Beyer is a writer based in Texas. You can find her on Twitter.
National Geographic Travel executive editor George Stone and editor Allie Yang contributed to this story.

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