How to Save Money and Skip Lines at the Airport

More Americans are obtaining passports and going abroad than ever before—and thousands of different travel apps, websites, and services have proliferated to help them on their journeys. Many promise to make the experience of flying cheaper, easier, and less stressful. Want dinner delivered directly to your gate? There’s now an app for that, of course. Some of these services are superfluous or really only benefit the most frequent travelers. But others are genuinely useful and can make getting to your next destination a less costly, more streamlined affair. And aside from application fees paid to the US government for things like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry (more on those later), many of the best travel apps and websites are don’t …

What Do Amazon’s Star Ratings Really Mean?

Nothing in the maze that is online shopping is ever what it seems. Unless it’s a product you already know, buying something is always a bit of a gamble. The way the fabric feels, whether the cream will give you a rash—these things remain impossible to assess through a screen. To make a decision, buyers often rely on those who purchased before them: They read the reviews. On Amazon, like many ecommerce sites, buyers also leave star ratings for items, from one to five. They’re important shorthand, symbolizing at a glance how people felt about a certain item. They also serve as a convenient way to filter, rank, and manage the overwhelming amount of choice that is a hallmark of …