Travelers Left $1 Million in Loose Change at TSA Checkpoints Last Year


Between shoes, luggage, and electronic devices, travelers have a lot to keep track of when moving through airport security lines. It makes sense, then, that many of them can't be bothered to collect their loose coins from the bottom of their bins, but all that small change adds up quickly. As Vox reports, the Transportation Security Administration cashed in nearly $1 million last year in loose change left behind by flyers.

Each year, the TSA releases a report to Congress detailing how much money it makes from unclaimed cash. The most recent numbers reveal that forgotten change has grown into a significant source of revenue for the administration. Travelers left $531,000 at security checkpoints in 2012, and in 2018, they had forgotten $960,105. That includes the pocket change discarded in plastic bins as well as larger bills collected from lost wallets.

Forgotten money doesn't end up in the pockets of whichever TSA agents were working the security line that day. All loose change must be gathered, rolled, and submitted to the TSA's financial office. Per the agency's policy, every cent that's stored, transported, and cashed must be accounted for.

For the past 14 years, the TSA has been able to use these bonus funds to improve services at its discretion. Translated checkpoint signs, TSA pre-check, and enhancements made to the agency's Adjudication Center have all been partially paid for with unclaimed change.

Lost cash may provide a nice financial boost for the security agency, but adding the money to its spending budget isn't its first priority. The TSA encourages travelers to submit claims for any goods they think they left at security, even money.

[h/t Vox]

Florida to Open Its First-Ever Snow Park

Zuberka/iStock via Getty Images
Zuberka/iStock via Getty Images

Millions of tourists flock to Florida each year to ride roller coasters, meet their favorite cartoon characters, and lounge on the beach. The state isn't famous for its winter activities, but that could soon change. As WESH 2 reports, Florida's first-ever snow park is coming to Dade City in 2020.

At Snowcat Ridge, guests will be able to take part in the same snowy fun that's up North. The main attraction of the park will be a 60-foot-tall, 400-foot-long slope packed with snow. A lift will transport visitors to the top of the hill, and from there, they'll use inner tubes to slide back down to ground level. Single, double, and six-person family tubes will be provided to riders.

Guests can also check out the 10,000-square-foot play dome, where they'll use real snow to build snow castles and snow men. The area will even feature a small hill for young visitors who aren't ready for more serious snow-tubing. And because the best part of playing in the snow all day is warming up afterwards, Snowcat Ridge will be home to an Alpine Village, where guests can nibble on snacks and sip cocoa in front of a bonfire.

Dade City is located in Central Florida, an area that hasn't seen snow in nearly 43 years. The arrival of the new park will mark the first time many locals can get a full winter experience close to home.

Snowcat Ridge is expected to open in November 2020.

[h/t WESH 2]

The New York Times's Latest Book on Travel Will Help You Plan the Perfect Weekend Getaway


Getting a full sense of a new city while traveling can be tough—especially if you only have a weekend to explore it. But since 2002, The New York Times’s "36 Hours" column has been breaking down destinations all over the world into bite-size pieces, allowing travelers to see the big attractions while still experiencing the city like a local. Now, you can get the best of the column's North American destinations with the fully updated and revised edition of 36 Hours: USA & Canada for $40 at TASCHEN or on Amazon.

Even if you have the original, it’s worth purchasing this updated copy, as this version features 33 new itineraries from Anchorage, Alaska; the Berkshires in Massachusetts; Boulder, Colorado; Miami; Oakland, California; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and many more.

36 Hours: USA & Canda from the New York Times

The 752-page book also offers more than 5400 hours of travel itineraries, 600 restaurants to dine at, and 450 hotel options. Each city featured includes a brief history, a list of popular destinations, and tips on how to experience it all like a local. For example, the New Orleans guide encourages travelers to start at the French 75 Bar for happy hour and order a Sazerac, a cocktail close to an Old-Fashioned that's a local favorite. Whereas the Miami guide takes you to the Buena Vista Deli, a bistro known for its take on classic French dishes. The travel book also features detailed city maps that pinpoint all the stops, and it's accompanied by nearly 1000 photographs.

Once you've picked your destination, check out some tips on how to craft the perfect itinerary.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!