A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought that your zodiac sign was eerily spot-on. Come on, even you skeptics out there. Admit it: You’ve occasionally found yourself scratching your head about how your sign lines up with the core of who you are. I’ve seen it again and again in my 20-plus years as an astrologer: The bold Aries who jumps in headfirst and takes charge of any (and every) situation. The cautious Capricorn who values respect above all else. And the empathetic and quirky Aquarius who just has to be different. Those overarching traits are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding zodiac signs, but they’re a good place to start.

The 12 sun signs divide up the night sky and the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Yours is determined by your birthdate and where the stars aligned at that particular moment in time. But many factors play into that, including your moon sign and rising sign, which is why there is so much variation between people within each approximately monthlong astrological cycle. Think of the sun signs as archetypes—your overarching superhero identity that embodies your strengths and your personal brand of Kryptonite. And by better understanding that, you can better understand yourself.

What drives you to succeed? Who is your perfect match in love? Why do you get triggered by certain things and not others? You’re about to find out! Ahead, we’ll explore each zodiac sign—along with its accompanying element and modality—to help you better understand yourself and those around you. Trust me when I say that this will explain a lot! Read on to learn more about all the zodiac signs and uncover another piece of the puzzle of your life.

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Zodiac signs guide infographic on starry galaxy Milky Way background

Zodiac sign dates

  • Aries (March 21–April 19)
  • Taurus (April 20–May 20)
  • Gemini (May 21–June 20)
  • Cancer (June 21–July 22)
  • Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)
  • Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)
  • Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)
  • Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)
  • Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)
  • Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)
  • Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)
  • Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

Zodiac elements

zodiac signs elements fire earth air water blue yellow green orange infographic on starry galaxy background

Before we get to the details of your zodiac sign, you need to know a little about its biggest influence: its accompanying zodiac element. The 12 signs are divided into four elements: fire, earth, air and water. We start with the first sign that occurs in spring—Aries, a fire sign—and follow that chronologically with Taurus, an earth sign; Gemini, an air sign; and Cancer, a water sign. Then the system begins again with Leo, a fire sign, and continues the aforementioned pattern. The elements tell us a lot about our basic attributes, which is why similar zodiac signs just kind of “get” one another.

Fire signs

Fire signs tend to be passionate and action-oriented. Like their element suggests, they tend to be fiery in every way! They’re brave, bold and sometimes impulsive, often acting first and thinking later.

  • Aries
  • Leo
  • Sagittarius

Earth signs

Earth signs are known for being solid and reliable. They are grounded in the world and connected to the body, as well as to money, property and work. And while they can be somewhat literal and to the point, they tend to make others feel secure since they have your best interests at heart.

  • Taurus
  • Virgo
  • Capricorn

Air signs

Air signs are the thinkers of the zodiac. They are cerebral and detached, but not without feeling. Giving them space makes them feel understood, and once they have that, they will move closer to the people who understand them. They just need a lot of “me time” to get lost in thought (or just geek out playing games).

  • Gemini
  • Libra
  • Aquarius

Water signs

Water signs are emotional and heart-driven. They are sensitive souls who value connection, prioritize relationships over work and tend to read things into things. When that’s not the case, it’s OK to tell them, “It’s not that deep!” They have a great sense of humor and will laugh at their own intensity.

  • Cancer
  • Scorpio
  • Pisces

Zodiac quadruplicities

zodiac signs quadruplicities cardinal fixed mutable yellow green blue infographic on starry galaxy background

The quadruplicities, also known as modalities, are the three foundational qualities of the zodiac. They are divided into cardinal, fixed and mutable, and each contains a sign from one of the four elements (so there are four signs to a quadruplicity or modality).

“Quadruplicities” is a mouthful, so I call them the three zodiac modes. And here’s what this concept means in layman’s terms: Each sign leans in a certain direction based on the mode of its elements, and this is what makes it distinct from other signs with the same element. For example, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are all water signs, which tend to be deep and emotive, but Cancer is cardinal (the leadership mode) and can take charge. A fixed water sign like Scorpio is steady and good at seeing things through. And Pisces, the mutable water sign, is more adaptable but also more easily influenced. Here’s a more in-depth look at how these modalities affect the zodiac signs.

Cardinal signs

Cardinal signs are known for being the initiators of the zodiac. They know how to start projects and relationships; their challenge is getting past the excitement of new beginnings. They are also excellent at seeing the big picture.

  • Aries
  • Cancer
  • Libra
  • Capricorn

Fixed signs

Fixed signs are great with follow-through. Known for their loyalty, devotion and trustworthiness, they can be counted on, despite being a bit rigid. Don’t expect them to jump at a spontaneous invitation, as they prefer to plan and prepare. And when you do see them, plan to spend quality time with them, because they like to get comfortable and go deep.

  • Taurus
  • Leo
  • Scorpio
  • Aquarius

Mutable signs

Mutable signs are highly adaptable and go with the flow … sometimes a little too much. They are easygoing, which is great, but sometimes treat time as a loose concept. (Pro tip: Tell them the meeting time is 15 minutes earlier than it actually is!) Once you are with them, their agreeable natures tend to help everyone loosen up and have a good time.

  • Gemini
  • Virgo
  • Sagittarius
  • Pisces

The 12 zodiac signs

Think of the zodiac signs as characters in a story. Like the archetypes we see in literature, film and mythology, each zodiac sign has a distinct personality. Although other planet placements in a person’s chart have an influence, the sun sign reflects their most dominant energy. Here’s what you need to know about each of them.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background Aries

  • Symbol: The ram
  • Ruling planet: Mars
  • Ruling house: First house of personality
  • Key traits: Bold, enthusiastic, passionate, original, hotheaded

Aries people are known for their excitable natures—which is a nice way of saying that they approach life like it’s a four-alarm fire. They’re always looking for the action, and you can usually find them taking charge of a crisis or intense situation. Aries people don’t like to stay in a rut, and when they’ve taken an interest or hobby as far as they can, they move on to the next challenge.

Athletic and competitive, they do well on the sports field or playing any type of game. Although they play to win, they are also known for being good sports who inspire others with their enthusiasm and passion. In general, Aries folks are fine going it alone—whether that means going to a restaurant by themselves or starting a new project—since they are not needy and enjoy their own company.

Their one Achilles’ heel? A need for attention. They hate to be ignored! However, if they are given center stage to tell it like it is, they are all smiles. And they don’t just want to hear themselves talk: They value honesty, so you can count on them to tell you the truth … but they want you to be direct with them too. Pure of heart, they are straight shooters who do not manipulate others. What you see is what you get.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background taurus

  • Symbol: The bull
  • Ruling planet: Venus
  • Ruling house: Second house of income
  • Key traits: Reliable, strong, artistic, musical, stubborn

Bulls may have a reputation for being stubborn, but that’s just because they don’t like to be pushed to do anything—they’re cautious and like to take their time making decisions. They are solid and straightforward people you can count on in a crisis, and they are steady to be around day to day. In other words, you need a noon lunch date on Fridays? If that’s their routine, they will show up for you. A steady tennis partner? See you on the court! They won’t bail or show up late.

As earth signs, they are tactile and enjoy the feel of good-quality fabric. They are also good with money and would rather spend a lot on one great meal than a bunch of random dinners out. Yes, they like the finer things, but they don’t splurge every day. Tauruses also tend to be good cooks. Despite being somewhat predictable in their tastes (they like what they like!), they also possess elegant traits. Ruled by Venus, Bulls have a good ear, and many are natural musicians. Case in point: Adele, Barbra Streisand, Lizzo and Billy Joel are all Tauruses.

And while you can count on them to be chill, if they are pushed too far, they can really push back. If they have said “no” repeatedly and you keep coming back to wheedle them, they may get pretty ornery! They’re firm with their boundaries, but if you have earned their trust, they are sensual, loving and steadfast.

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background GEMINI

  • Symbol: The twins
  • Ruling planet: Mercury
  • Ruling house: Third house of communication
  • Key traits: Quick-witted, sociable, eloquent, curious, fickle

Geminis are fun little firecrackers who always know how to jazz up a gathering. They are sociable, spontaneous and usually ready to crack a joke or weigh in with the latest gossip. Geminis, ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication, are always in the know and love to spill the tea. They also can’t sit still—and pretty much invented multitasking.

People born under this zodiac sign tend to be flirty and attractive, but it’s the mental game that keeps them excited in love. They truly enjoy the art of conversation and can brighten a room with their Champagne-bubble lightness and frivolity. Geminis are also incredibly smart. They are great readers who can absorb knowledge like a sponge.

Their worst nightmare? Boredom. As a result, they tend to double-book and skip out if the party gets dull, which is why they have a reputation for being flighty and fickle. Geminis can also be a little too attracted to mischief. It’s fine to rib buddies, but they need to read the room! Since they’re ruled by the house of communication, they also need to be particularly wary during Mercury retrogrades.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background cancer

  • Symbol: The crab
  • Ruling planet: The moon
  • Ruling house: Fourth house of home and family
  • Key traits: Nurturing, home-oriented, funny, crafty, moody

Cancers are gentle folks who tend to feel best when surrounded by people they’ve known the longest, like family members and childhood friends. Having a home to entertain in is very important to them, and they make everyone else feel at home too. They are big homebodies themselves, so it works well to have all their peeps under one roof (their own). That said, sometimes they just want to turn off and cuddle up with a good book and their pet curled up next to them. Socializing is great to a point, and then their battery runs out.

They are also very physical and can be athletic, especially when it comes to sports involving water. They are water signs, after all. Plus, they’re symbolized by the crab and really do adore the beach. But water in astrology also stands for emotion, and these folks are deeply feeling. They are nurturing and have a strong maternal nature (regardless of gender), and they like to take care of loved ones. Highly sensitive and empathetic, Cancers will pick up on your mood and tend to your emotional state. In fact, they can truly feel your pain.

That said, when they are in pain, they will let everyone know it. But since they are ruled by the moon, they are apt to shift into a better mood fairly quickly because the moon changes signs every couple of days. In love, they value loyalty and domesticity.

Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background Leo

  • Symbol: The lion
  • Ruling planet: The sun
  • Ruling house: Fifth house of creativity and children
  • Key traits: Charismatic, strong leader, warm, decisive, self-centered

Leos need a lot of affection, attention and adulation, it’s true, but what they reciprocate is high in not just quantity but also quality. They truly want the best for themselves and those they love. Warm and inviting, they know how to bring people together. Not only do they love throwing parties, but they’ll also use any excuse to plan a soiree. Leos adore their friends and enjoy traveling in packs, and they’re also kids at heart and get along great with children too. But while they enjoy playing, they do not play head games.

That said, in matters of love, they are over-the-top romantics who love big, as if they and their special person are starring in a grand opera. Jennifer Lopez and Meghan Markle are both Leos, if that tells you anything! Incidentally, performing is also second nature to them, and they are at their happiest on stage in front of a crowd. They’re also born leaders who rule with integrity.

Hardworking and diligent, they sometimes need to go completely off the grid. It’s hard being the king of the jungle—er, zodiac—so after working hard, they love to relax with a capital R. This zodiac sign’s perfect vacations include ones that involve indulgence, and time in the sun is especially rejuvenating since they are ruled by the sun.

Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background virgo

  • Symbol: The virgin
  • Ruling planet: Mercury
  • Ruling house: Sixth house of health and daily work
  • Key traits: Detail-oriented, quick-thinking, down-to-earth, sensual, nitpicky

Virgos appreciate the simple things in life, like nature, time with loved ones and a healthy meal. Hard work gives them a sense of self-respect, and they shine when performing acts of service. Ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication, they appreciate precise language and are excellent analytical thinkers and communicators. Their motto? “If you are going to do something, do it right.” As a result, they pay attention to all the details.

Virgos are great with their hands and have the ability to make something practical and beautiful without even seeming to try. Time in the garden is probably where they are happiest. And they love to teach others the skills they have honed so well. Being earth signs, they are also extremely physical, with surprisingly fab moves on the dance floor and in the bedroom.

Like Geminis, they also need to pay attention to detail during Mercury retrogrades. That’s when Virgos, ruled by Mercury, may encounter schedules thrown into chaos, deadlines that don’t work and more—and this can throw detail-oriented Virgos off their games. Luckily, whatever is going on astrologically, one of their strongest traits is always having a backup plan … and a backup plan for the backup plan!

Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background libra

  • Symbol: The scales
  • Ruling planet: Venus
  • Ruling house: Seventh house of relationships
  • Key traits: Fair-minded, sociable, romantic, artistic, indecisive

Ruled by Venus, Libra is the zodiac sign that most desires a relationship. In love with love, people born under this sign prefer to do things in terms of “we” rather than “I.” That said, they are also air signs, so they spend a lot of time in their heads. They don’t like to make impulsive decisions and prefer to think things through, but as a result, they sometimes ruminate too much and simply can’t make up their minds. Luckily, Libras tend to keep friends close, so they’ll run their thoughts by a pal to help figure it out. They just need to be careful about hemming and hawing too much in romance since too much avoidance and ambivalence could put a relationship at risk.

Venus also gives them great taste and a love of beauty and luxury. With their eye for aesthetics, Libras make great photographers and artists. And with their fair-minded way of viewing life, they also excel at careers in the law. Their breezy attitude can also make them popular and unusually lucky. Just be aware that if you’ve made a plan to meet up with them, they’ll probably be late. And if they reply to a text about that lateness with “On my way!” or “In a cab!” they’re probably having a fashion crisis, with their clothes strewn around the room. It might be a while, but when they finally show up, they’ll look flawless and charm every single person in the room.

Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background scorpio

  • Symbol: The scorpion and the eagle
  • Ruling planet: Pluto
  • Ruling house: Eighth house of partnerships and transformation
  • Key traits: Deep, loyal, sexy, psychic, scathing

Scorpios run deep, and their emotions run high. You don’t want to get on their bad side because they can be sharp-tongued; they also tend to take things personally. While they are often described as mysterious, it is really just because they’re deciding whether or not you’re worth it. It sounds harsh, but once they decide you are and they trust you, they will be loyal friends and lovers who will keep your secrets in the vault.

Since they’re associated with the eighth house of transformation, they periodically evolve into various phases of growth. For example, they might pay the bills with a more superficial job for a while, then take the plunge into more meaningful work. But it feels natural for them. They also make great psychologists, delving deep and figuring out what makes you tick, as well as natural healers who are at their best when inspiring others to love themselves.

When crossed, they forgive, but they don’t necessarily forget. But despite all their intensity (or maybe because of it), they possess an excess of charisma that draws people to them. You will never find Scorpios following the crowd; they turn to themselves for guidance, then follow their hearts. It is this kind of depth and authenticity that makes them so loving and lovable. But while they have a sexy reputation, they are ultimately built for long-term love, not frivolous affairs.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background sagittarius

  • Symbol: The centaur and the archer
  • Ruling planet: Jupiter
  • Ruling house: Ninth house of travel and exploration
  • Key traits: Adventurous, hilarious, opinionated, talkative, avoidant

Sagittarians are wild at heart! Symbolized by the half-human, half-horse centaur, they are uninhibited, spontaneous and answer only to themselves. Since they rule the ninth house of travel, they are happiest when roaming to far-off places. When they can’t, they make do with studying them or reveling in their music and culture. They are talkers and thinkers, but more than anything, Sagittarians excel when they are experiencing life to the fullest. It’s not enough for people born under this zodiac sign to sit around bingeing TV shows. They need to follow their impulses to try novel things, like foraging for mushrooms or teaching themselves how to produce a podcast. The only problem? They can get so excited, they sometimes put their foot in their mouth, so bear with them.

Sag people tend to be late bloomers and may go through many career trajectories and relationships before they settle down. As they mature, they increasingly develop a desire to understand the meaning of life, and as a result, they are often very interested in understanding different religions and philosophies. Learning and teaching come naturally to Sagittarians. Just be prepared to hear a fascinating (and fanatical) lecture about one of their pet obsessions!

Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background CAPRICORN

  • Symbol: The goat
  • Ruling planet: Saturn
  • Ruling house: Tenth house of career
  • Key traits: Organized, clever, patient, ambitious, frugal, suspicious

Capricorn people tend to be serious since being respected is of the utmost importance to them. Ruled by Saturn, the planet of discipline and structure, they know what needs to be done first—they are the complete opposite of procrastinators. The first ones to get to the office and the last ones to leave, they are disciplined, patient and don’t mind doing the dirty work if it will get the job done. But while their work ethic is strong, so is their ambition. Eventually, they want to be the boss, and they’re likely to achieve their goals. That said, you will be surprised by their randy and wry sense of humor! No one can crack a dry or bawdy joke the way Capricorns can.

In relationships, they know what it means to “show up.” They give you their attention fully when you need it most. Like all earth signs, they are physical by nature, and romantically, they can be quite bold. If they are into you, they will seductively shift from straightforward conversations about work or politics to moving in closer to you, making deep eye contact and luring you in. They are pretty smooth when they want someone!

One of the things they can never get enough of is money. Prosperity is a great motivator for them, and they are frugal when it comes to building wealth. They treat money with respect, and it comes back to them many times over.

Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background Aquarius

  • Symbol: The water bearer
  • Ruling planet: Uranus
  • Ruling house: Eleventh house of friends and community
  • Key traits: Innovative, future-oriented, humane, wild, objective

Aquarians are the original originals. Ruled by progressive and innovative Uranus, they look at the world differently than everyone else, and with a lot more goodwill and optimism. Aquarians sometimes feel like they are from another planet, as they don’t understand a lot of the pettiness and self-sabotage of human behavior. As rulers of the eleventh house of friends and community, these folks excel in groups and tend to feel more at ease with their posse than just one person. Intimacy is not something that comes naturally to them, but they are so open-minded that they are happy to learn from those who are better at this than they are. They just need a lot of space and no pressure in order to feel truly connected.

Uranus is the planet of technology, and these folks are adept at sensing what important new invention is about to hit the mainstream. In fact, they may even be an inventor themselves! Those who have Aquarius as a rising sign are real iconoclasts too. In fact, they take pride in being the most eccentric people in the room. They would rather be labeled “weird” than normal and will go out of their way to prove how different they are. For example, they might dress up as themselves for a Halloween party, then come in cosplay gear to a family vacation! They always know how to shake things up with their outrageous takes on life.

Pisces: (Feb. 19–March 20)

Zodiac sign qualities on galaxy background pisces

  • Symbol: The fish
  • Ruling planet: Neptune
  • Ruling house: Twelfth house of spirituality
  • Key traits: Imaginative, sensitive, intuitive, eclectic, chaotic

Ruled by dreamy Neptune, Pisceans may seem as if their heads are in the clouds, but their fantasies can often lead to wonderful artistry and creative success here on Earth. Some famous creative Pisces include Michelangelo, Albert Einstein, Chris Martin and Drew Barrymore. These sensitive souls can feel overloaded by too much socializing or erratic activity in the world. When it gets to be too much, they need to hide out and spend time alone in a space of their own creation, one that will fit their many moods. Pisceans are also known for their compassion, and sometimes it is hard for them to be around people because they feel others’ pain so deeply.

With all that imagination, they also crack up their loved ones (and themselves) with sudden bursts of whimsy. They are not above putting on a wild costume or planning a wacky themed party when the mood strikes. Pisceans also tend to be deeply romantic, although it’s sometimes hard for them to see the other person clearly through their rose-colored glasses. They want to imagine the best in people, which means they’re often the first to fall for someone’s sob story and lend money they don’t have. They need to count to 10 before saying “yes.”

But that openheartedness often leads to good luck for them. They are the type to do a random act of kindness for a stranger and a month later get a fabulous surprise gift in the mail from their new “friend for life.”

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While there may not be any major holidays in August, there are plenty of fun, lesser-known observances—daily, weekly and monthly—that you’ll want to celebrate. What are these August holidays, exactly?

Well, August is home to National Friendship Day, so share a fun friendship quote or two. It’s also National Golf Month, perfect for any golfers looking for a reason to play even more. Kids and adults can enjoy National Coloring Day while also reading their favorite books in honor of National Book Lovers Day. And don’t forget National Beach Day. 

And that’s just the beginning. Check out our list below to discover what August offers each and every year!

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What are the popular August holidays?

Despite the lack of major federal holidays in August, there are a number of observances worth celebrating. Some of your favorites may be National Friendship Day on Aug. 4, Purple Heart Day on Aug. 7 and World Humanitarian Day on Aug. 19 (this is also the day of the next full moon). Not to mention, August is National Black Business Month. 

Daily August holidays and observances in 2024

August 1

  • DOGust Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs
  • Homemade Pie Day
  • India Pale Ale (IPA) Day
  • International Childfree Day
  • National Girlfriends Day
  • Lammas Day
  • Lughnasa (Gaelic festival)
  • National Minority Donor Awareness Day
  • National Planner Day
  • National Promise to Care Day
  • National Raspberry Cream Pie Day
  • Play Ball Day
  • Respect for Parents Day
  • Spider-Man Day
  • Start-Up Day Across America
  • Woman Astronomers Day
  • World Lung Cancer Day
  • World Scout Scarf Day
  • World Wide Web Day

August 2

Children Grabbing Water Balloons From A Bucket

  • International Beer Day
  • National Computer-Aided Design Day
  • National Coloring Book Day
  • National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
  • National Water Balloon Day
  • Tomboy Tools Day

August 3

  • Big Forehead Day
  • Clean Your Floors Day
  • Grab Some Nuts Day
  • Esther Day
  • National Clown Day (the Saturday during Clown Week)
  • National Disc Golf Day
  • National Mustard Day
  • National Twins Day
  • National Watermelon Day
  • Sandcastle Day

August 4

  • American Family Day
  • Assistance Dog Day
  • Hooray for Kids Day
  • International Clouded Leopard Day
  • National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day
  • National Friendship Day
  • National Psychic Day
  • National Sisters Day
  • National White Wine Day
  • Psychic Day
  • Single Working Woman’s Day
  • U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Birthday

August 5

Shot Of A Handsome Young Man Using A Laptop In A Coffee Shop

  • Blogger Day
  • Green Peppers Day
  • International Traffic Light Day
  • National Oyster Day
  • National Underwear Day
  • Work Like a Dog Day

August 6

  • Balloons to Heaven Day
  • Farmworker Appreciation Day
  • Hiroshima Day
  • National Fresh Breath Day
  • International Hangover Day
  • International Sailor Moon Day
  • National Fresh Breath Day
  • National Gossip Day
  • National Root Beer Float Day
  • Wiggle Your Toes Day

August 7

  • National Lighthouse Day
  • National Raspberries and Cream Day
  • National Sea Serpent Day
  • Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day
  • Professional Speakers Day
  • National Purple Heart Day

August 8

Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bowl On Marble Background

  • Digital Nomad Day
  • Dying to Know Day
  • Happiness Happens Day
  • International Allyship Day
  • International Cat Day
  • National Braiders Day
  • National Bullet Journal Day
  • National CBD Day
  • National Dollar Day
  • National Frozen Custard Day
  • National Mochi Day
  • National Pickleball Day
  • National Zucchini Day
  • Take a Penny/Leave a Penny Day
  • The Date to Create
  • Universal & International Infinity Day
  • Wear Your Mother’s Jewelry Day

August 9

  • International Co-Working Day
  • International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
  • National Book Lovers Day
  • National Hand-Holding Day
  • National Rice Pudding Day

August 10

  • Celebrate Your Lakes Day
  • Garage Sale Day
  • Herbert Hoover Day
  • International Vlogging Day
  • National Bowling Day
  • National Duran Duran Appreciation Day
  • National Lazy Day
  • National Shapewear Day
  • National S’mores Day
  • Shop Online for Groceries Day
  • Skyscraper Appreciation Day
  • Spoil Your Dog Day
  • Update Your Bio Day
  • World Lion Day

August 11

Family On The Beach Playing With Sand

  • Annual Medical Checkup Day
  • Gay Uncles Day
  • Hip-Hop Day
  • Melon Day
  • Mountain Day
  • National Align Your Teeth Day
  • National Face Mask Day
  • National Raspberry Tart Day
  • Play in the Sand Day
  • Presidential Joke Day
  • Son and Daughter Day

August 12

  • Baseball Fans Day
  • IBM PC Day
  • International Youth Day
  • Julienne Fries Day
  • Middle Child Day
  • Milkman Day
  • National Middle Child Day
  • Tisha B’Av
  • Vinyl Record Day
  • World Elephant Day

August 13

  • International Lefthanders Day
  • National Filet Mignon Day
  • National Prosecco Day
  • Women’s and Family Day

August 14

  • Love Your Bookshop Day
  • Military Marriage Day
  • National Creamsicle Day
  • National Financial Awareness Day
  • National Navajo Code Talkers Day
  • National Spirit of ’45 Day
  • National Tattoo Removal Day
  • National Wiffle Ball Day
  • Social Security Day
  • World Calligraphy Day
  • World Lizard Day

August 15

Schoolboys With Backpacks Walking Home After Classes

  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Chant at the Moon Day
  • Check the Chip Day (for pet microchips)
  • I Love Cowboys and Cowgirls Day
  • Lemon Meringue Pie Day
  • National Back-to-School Prep Day
  • National Leathercraft Day
  • National Relaxation Day
  • No SpongeBob Day
  • World Greatness Day

August 16

  • Hawaiian Shirt Day
  • Kool-Aid Day
  • National Airborne Day
  • National Authenticity Day
  • National Bratwurst Day
  • National Independent Worker Day
  • National Roller Coaster Day
  • National Rum Day
  • National Tell a Joke Day
  • National Work from Home for Wellness Day
  • Surveillance Day
  • True Love Forever Day

August 17

  • Baby Boomers Recognition Day
  • Banana Lovers Day
  • Balloon Airmail Day
  • Break the Monotony Day
  • Clear the Shelters Day (the third Saturday in August)
  • International Geocaching Day
  • International Homeless Animals Day
  • National Black Cat Appreciation Day
  • National I Love My Feet Day
  • National Nonprofit Day
  • National Thrift Shop Day
  • National Vanilla Custard Day
  • World Honey Bee Day

August 18

  • Bad Poetry Day
  • Long Tan Day
  • Mail Order Catalog Day
  • National Badge Ribbon Day
  • National Couples Day
  • National Fajita Day
  • National Ice Cream Pie Day
  • Never Give Up Day
  • Pinot Noir Day
  • Serendipity Day
  • Tu B’Av
  • World Breast Cancer Research Day

August 19

A Young Male Caucasian Hiker With A Camera Taking Photos Of The Alpe Di Seceda

  • International Bow Day
  • International Orangutan Day
  • National Aviation Day
  • National Patient Advocacy Day
  • National Sandcastle and Sculpture Day
  • National Soft Ice Cream Day
  • Potato Day
  • World Humanitarian Day
  • World Photography Day

August 20

  • International Day of Medical Transporters
  • Lemonade Day
  • National Bacon Lovers Day
  • National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day
  • National Radio Day
  • Virtual Worlds Day
  • World Mosquito Day

August 21

  • Brazilian Blowout Day
  • International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism
  • Internet Self-Care Day
  • National Spumoni Day
  • Senior Citizens Day

August 22

  • Be an Angel Day
  • Eat a Peach Day
  • International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief
  • National Burger Day
  • National Pecan Torte Day
  • National Surgical Oncologist Day
  • National Rainbow Baby Day
  • National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day
  • National Tooth Fairy Day
  • Never Bean Better Day
  • World Plant Milk Day

August 23

Cooked Corn On The Cob Served With Salt And Butter

  • Buttered Corn Day
  • Cheap Flight Day
  • Cuban Sandwich Day
  • Day for Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition
  • Find Your Inner Nerd Day
  • Hug Your Sweetheart Day
  • International Blind Dog Day
  • National Ride the Wind Day
  • National Sponge Cake Day
  • Slavery Remembrance Day

August 24

  • Can Opener Day
  • International Bat Night
  • International Strange Music Day
  • Kobe Bryant Day
  • National Knife Day
  • National Peach Pie Day
  • National Waffle Day
  • Pluto Demoted Day
  • Vesuvius Day

August 25

  • National Park Service Founders Day
  • Kiss and Make Up Day
  • National Banana Split Day
  • National Secondhand Wardrobe Day
  • National Whiskey Sour Day
  • Sacrifice Our Wants for Others’ Needs Sunday (the last Sunday in August)
  • Social Justice Sunday

August 26

Senior Woman Meditating In Beautiful Garden

  • Make Your Own Luck Day
  • Musical Yoga Day
  • National Cherry Popsicle Day
  • National Dog Day
  • National Toilet Paper Day
  • Women’s Equality Day

August 27

  • Crab Soup Day
  • International Lottery Day
  • Just Because Day
  • Kiss Me Day
  • National Pots de Creme Day
  • Tarzan Day
  • World Rock Paper Scissors Day

August 28

  • Crackers Over the Keyboard Day
  • International Read Comics in Public Day
  • National Bow Tie Day
  • National Cherry Turnover Day
  • Power Rangers Day
  • Radio Commercials Day
  • Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day
  • Red Wine Day

August 29

  • Chop Suey Day
  • Individual Rights Day
  • International Cabernet Day
  • International Day Against Nuclear Tests
  • Lemon Juice Day
  • Marine Corps Reserve Birthday
  • More Herbs, Less Salt Day
  • National Sports Day

August 30

  • College Colors Day
  • Frankenstein Day
  • International Cabernet Sauvignon Day
  • International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances
  • International Whale Shark Day
  • National Beach Day
  • National Grief Awareness Day
  • National Holistic Pet Day
  • National Toasted Marshmallow Day
  • Slinky Day
  • World Daffodil Day (last Friday in August)

August 31

Caucasian Family Of Four Having Picnic In Park

  • Eat Outside Day
  • International Cabernet Day
  • International Day for People of African Descent
  • International Overdose Awareness Day
  • Love Litigating Lawyers Day
  • National Matchmaker Day
  • National Trail Mix Day
  • National Zoo Awareness Day
  • Speak Kind Words Saturday (last Saturday in August)
  • We Love Memoirs Day
  • World Distance Learning Day

Weekly August holidays in 2024

  • Be Kind to Humankind Week (Aug. 25–31)
  • Elvis Week (Aug. 9–17)
  • International Assistance Dog Week (Aug. 4–10)
  • International Clown Week (Aug. 1–7)
  • National Aviation Week (Aug. 19–25)
  • National Balayage Week (week of Aug. 16)
  • National Bargain Hunting Week (Aug. 12–18)
  • National Cleanse Your Skin Week (Aug. 1–7)
  • National Composites Week (Aug. 26–30)
  • National Exercise with Your Child Week (Aug. 4–10)
  • National Farmers Market Week (Aug. 4–10)
  • National Health Center Week (Aug. 4–10)
  • National Management Training Week (third full week in August)
  • National Resurrect Romance Week (Aug. 11–17)
  • National Simplify Your Life Week (Aug. 5–11)
  • Stop on Red Week (Aug. 4–10)
  • World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1–7)

Monthly August holidays in 2024

  • American Adventures Month
  • American Artist Appreciation Month
  • ARRR-Gust: International Pirate Month
  • Back to School Month
  • Black Business Month
  • Brownies at Brunch Month
  • Boomers Making a Difference Month
  • Child Support Awareness Month
  • Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month
  • Eat Dessert First Month
  • Family Fun Month
  • Get Ready for Kindergarten Month
  • Happiness Happens Month
  • Learn Japanese Month
  • MedicAlert Awareness Month
  • National Anti-Frizz Month
  • National Breastfeeding Month
  • National Crayon Collection Month
  • National Catfish Month
  • National Dog Month
  • National Eye Exam Month
  • National Goat Cheese Month
  • National Golf Month
  • National Hair Loss Awareness Month
  • National Immunization Awareness Month
  • National Minority Donor Awareness Month
  • National Motorsports Awareness Month
  • National Road Victim Month
  • National Sandwich Month
  • National Traffic Awareness Month
  • National Water Quality Month
  • National Wellness Month
  • Neurosurgery Awareness Month
  • Panini Month
  • Peach Month
  • Psoriasis Action Month
  • Read-a-Romance Month
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month

Why trust us

At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. We rely on reputable primary sources, including government and professional organizations and academic institutions as well as our writers’ personal experience where appropriate. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing, and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.

Unless you’re made of money, knowing how to travel on a budget is the key to visiting more places, more often. And if traveling is on your agenda for 2024 and beyond, Iceland should be at the top of your list. It’s rapidly becoming one of the most popular destinations in the world. In fact, according to the Icelandic tourist board Ferðamálastofa, Iceland had more than 2.2 million tourists arrive at Keflavík Airport in 2023, making it the second-busiest year on record. It may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime splurge, but once you know the best time to visit Iceland, you can plan a trip that lets you save money while seeing a breathtakingly beautiful country.

As a seasoned traveler who visited more than 10 countries before age 26, I can confidently say Iceland is a must-see. When I visited the capital, Reykjavík, during the last week of May, I was captivated by the stunning snowcapped mountains, charming streets and incredibly friendly people—not to mention the unforgettable experiences. Exploring waterfalls and soaking in hot springs, including the famous Blue Lagoon, cemented Iceland as a favorite destination.

So if you’re hunting for cheap places to travel, do yourself a favor and keep reading. I spoke with Íris María Stefánsdóttir of Visit Reykjavík and Ann Peters of the tour agency Ice Pic Journeys to find out when, exactly, is the best time of year to visit Iceland. Whether you’re booking a trip based on the cost, the weather, the attractions (hello, Northern Lights!) or the crowds, this guide has you covered. But be warned: You can expect major wanderlust ahead!

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When is the weather the best in Iceland?

water and town in iceland

According to Peters, the weather is the best in Iceland during the summer months of June, July and August. That’s when average temperatures can range from 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit. “My personal favorite month is August because history shows we have less rain, warmer temperatures and calmer conditions,” she says.

But as Peters points out, “good” weather means something different to everyone. “There are cold-weather lovers who flock to Iceland during the winter months to get the chance to experience the Northern Lights and blue ice conditions, whereas others embrace the warmer temperatures and greener landscapes,” she says.

When I visited Iceland toward the end of May, the weather was warmer than I had expected. Despite bringing my gloves and bundling up in layers, I enjoyed temperatures in the mid-40s—with highs even reaching the 50s some days. The only exception was the intense, rapid wind by the waterfalls, especially at Skógafoss and Goðafoss. Overall, it was quite manageable and made for a pleasant, quick trip.

That said, Stefánsdóttir describes Iceland’s weather as “diverse” and “unpredictable,” so even if you book a trip with your desired weather in mind, you may find yourself basking in the opposite. “The weather in Iceland is influenced by its location in the North Atlantic, where warm air from the Gulf Stream meets the cold Arctic air, resulting in frequent and dramatic weather changes,”  she says. “In a single day, you might encounter sunshine, rain, wind and even snow, regardless of the season.”

What is the most popular month to go to Iceland?

June, July and August are the most popular months to visit Iceland, so keep this in mind when booking a flight and hotel. In fact, in 2023, Iceland had more than 1.9 million visitors in June and more than 2 million visitors in July and August.

These summer months are popular for their mild (although still unpredictable) temperatures and nearly 24 hours of daylight (which I enjoyed to the fullest!). “The midnight sun allows for extended outdoor adventures, from hiking and horseback riding to glacier tours,” says Stefánsdóttir. “Reykjavík, the capital, also comes alive in summer with a vibrant nightlife. The city is filled with life, hosting numerous events and festivals.”

When is the best time to visit Iceland to see the Northern Lights?

Colorful northern lights

The best time to see the Northern Lights is between September and March, during autumn and spring. But even though Iceland is one of the best places to see the aurora borealis, catching a glimpse of the awe-inspiring lights is not guaranteed. “The conditions need to be just right: clear skies and strong solar activity,” says Stefánsdóttir. 

The aurora’s elusive nature is what leads tourists to join guided tours that specialize in chasing the Northern Lights, “where [they] venture into remote areas with minimal light pollution to increase their chances of a sighting,” Stefánsdóttir says. If spotting the lights is on your bucket list, you may have to get strategic. Peters recommends booking your stay at countryside locations and giving yourself five to 10 days of flexibility to increase your chances.

The winter months of December, January and February are also some of the best months to see the Northern Lights, thanks to Iceland’s longer and darker nights—up to 20 hours, in fact! However, unlike the climate in September through March, the weather can be harsh during this time, with lots of rain and snow, which can ultimately ruin your chances of seeing the lights.

Pro tip: If you find yourself missing the Northern Lights, as I did when traveling in May, visit Reykjavík’s natural history museum Perlan to see Áróra, its Northern Lights show. At the exhibit, you’ll learn where the Northern Lights come from, how they form and more.

When is the best time to whale watch in Iceland?

The best time to visit Iceland to go whale watching is during the peak season: June, July and August, according to Peters. Still, whale watching is an activity that you can enjoy year-round—even during the shoulder season and offseason—with Reykjavík serving as an excellent base for the activity.

Tours operate in all seasons, offering the chance to see humpbacks, minke whales and sometimes even orcas,” says Stefánsdóttir. “While spotting whales is not guaranteed, guided tours expertly navigate the waters to maximize the chances of encountering these majestic creatures.”

When is the best time to visit Iceland’s hot springs?

turquoise blue water in iceland

Determining the best time to visit Iceland’s many hot springs is a matter of pinning down the things that matter most to you. Are you set on dipping your toes into a specific hot spring? Does your ideal experience involve hours of exploration … or the perfect contrast of cool air and hot water? Once you know that, you can better decide on a time to visit.

During the summer, Iceland’s warm weather and extended daylight make exploring natural hot springs more convenient. Early fall offers a unique charm, with cooler temperatures and reduced crowds. And the winter chill makes for an adrenaline-pumping experience—but keep in mind that snowy conditions might render some hot springs inaccessible.

For a visit to the iconic Blue Lagoon, which welcomes guests year-round, some experts suggest going during the offseason to avoid the throngs of tourists. Personally, I found late May to be an excellent time, especially when arriving an hour after its 7 a.m. opening. In fact, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on a weekday, the Blue Lagoon was surprisingly tranquil.

If you prefer to escape the crowds altogether, I suggest exploring lesser-known hot springs like Hvammsvik. This hidden gem offers eight natural hot springs set against the stunning backdrop of black-sand beaches and majestic mountains, which I found provided a serene and intimate experience away from the hustle and bustle.

When is the cheapest time to go to Iceland?

waterfall in iceland

The cheapest time to visit Iceland is during its off-peak season (which is also when it’s less crowded), from September to November. Peters also recommends bargain hunters visit between January and April, noting that a little research goes a long way when it comes to landing great travel deals.

Whether you’re booking a hotel or motel, plan your trip early, do your research and track prices if you have the time, Peters suggests. “Many apps work on supply and demand, so booking direct with places often has savings attached,” she says.

And if you’re looking to save money while you’re in Iceland, Stefánsdóttir recommends purchasing a Reykjavík City Card, which provides access to many of the city’s museums and geothermal swimming pools, unlimited use of public transportation and discounts at various other attractions. The card also includes entry to the Reykjavík Zoo and Family Park, the Reykjavík Maritime Museum, the National Gallery of Iceland and Árbær Open Air Museum. 

Here’s a personal travel tip: I booked my stay during the week of May 18, which is annually known as International Museum Day. Many of the museums were free that day, which saved me plenty of money while museum-hopping. You can also fly to and from the country on a budget airline. I booked my Iceland trip with Icelandair, which offered a flight package with hotel and activities included.

When is the worst time to go to Iceland?

mountain landscape with snow in iceland

If you want to dodge the crowds of tourists, steer clear of Iceland’s peak season, July and August. These summer months draw the most visitors, especially to hot spots like the Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle and South Coast. Instead, consider venturing to the more secluded Westfjords or East Iceland. These regions boast stunning fjords and waterfalls that rival the popular sites near the capital.

It’s worth noting, though, that Iceland’s beauty shines year-round, regardless of the weather. “Iceland is a destination with something for every traveler, offering countless once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” says Peters. Whether you’re zip lining over a glacier, exploring ice caves or spending a night in a floating hut on a glacial lagoon, Iceland promises unforgettable adventures.

About the experts

  • Íris María Stefánsdóttir is the marketing manager for Visit Reykjavik, the official tourism organization for the city of Reykjavík in Iceland.
  • Ann Peters is the business development manager at the tour agency Ice Pic Journeys. She is also the founder of Iceland Wedding Planner, a team of American wedding planners and photographers in Iceland.

Why trust us

At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. We rely on reputable primary sources, including government and professional organizations and academic institutions as well as our writers’ personal experience where appropriate. For this story on the best time to visit Iceland, journalist Mariah Thomas drew from her recent travels to Iceland and then spoke with Íris María Stefánsdóttir of Visit Reykjavik and Ann Peters of Icelandic tour group Ice Pic Journeys to ensure all information is accurate. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.

Sources:

Imagine landing your dream job, only to realize it was an elaborate ruse to defraud you. It sounds like a nightmare, but it’s happening. A lot. Posing as companies or independent contractors, fraudsters are offering job hunters remote work—then pulling the rug out from under them. Instead of lucrative companies, these cybercriminals are running work-from-home scams that’ll steal your personal information or convince you to pay a small amount up front for something. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down.

The popularity of work-from-home jobs, coupled with the increased number of people looking for extra income in a challenging economy, has created a perfect storm, of sorts. In fact, the Better Business Bureau reports that an estimated 14 million job seekers are confronted with job scams annually, resulting in more than $2 billion in direct losses.

“Like other types of scams, these fraudulent jobs are a scheme to take your identity, bank information or money,” says Catherine Fisher, a career expert at LinkedIn who often writes and talks about job scams. “Work-from-home scams prey on people who want to make money working remotely and can be for job titles such as ‘mystery shopper,’ ‘virtual personal assistant’ or ‘caregiver’—and so you want to be vigilant when applying for these types of job opportunities.”

With the help of three renowned experts in this space, I’m laying out the tech tips you need to know to avoid work-from-home scams. I’ve been writing about technology for 30 years (and even host the Tech Impact TV show and Tech It Out radio show and podcast), so I know how to translate tricky topics in a way that’s easy to follow. Ahead, I’ll do just that to help you spot the red flags and take action if you fall prey to a work-from-home scam.

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What are work-from-home scams?

As the name suggests, work-from-home scams are fake job postings that promise part- or full-time employment from home but are designed to trick you into paying them instead of the other way around.

Work-from-home scams tend to fall into one of two categories:

  • Fake applications: The “company” asks you to fill out a (phony) application, and then fraudsters steal your personal info, which could lead to identity theft.
  • Fees and fake payments: The “company” asks you to pay a fee of some sort, perhaps for a (fake) background check, certification, training or equipment purchase.

The goal, however, is the same: to defraud you.

There are also work-from-home scams that involve you in criminal activity—often without your knowledge—such as having you ship illegally purchased goods out of the country.

“Scammers want your money and/or your personal information,” says Rhonda Perkins, chief of staff for the Division of Marketing Practices at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). “Scammers place fake ads on job search sites, and often the position may be fake, or the scammer copies an ad by a real employer and swaps in their contact information.”

While these schemes have been around a long while, they’ve typically existed as phone, email and text message scams. But they’re increasingly migrating to direct messages on LinkedIn, WhatsApp and other social media sites and are focusing on many job seekers’ desire to work from home.

Who’s at risk of falling for a job scam?

Anyone looking for a new gig could fall for a scam, but if you’re looking for a work-from-home job, in particular, you’re especially at risk.

We hear a lot about elder fraud and scams targeting older adults, but perhaps unsurprisingly, young people have a greater risk of falling victim to work-from-home scams. As reported recently in the Wall Street Journal, fraudsters are often targeting college graduates, who are understandably eager to land their first jobs.

8 popular work-from-home scams

Work-from-home scams come in all forms and evolve regularly, but the following are a few of the more common ones you’ll come across today.

Pay-for-training scams

roll of money with graduation cap

In a pay-for-training swindle, the “company” will tell you that you got the job. So far, so good. But shortly after sharing the good news, the fraudsters will ask you to pay for a certification they say is necessary for the role and/or for virtual training. In some instances, they claim they’ll reimburse you for the costs, adding those fees to your first check or direct deposit.

They’re banking on the fact that hopeful job seekers tend to go above and beyond for their new role. But there’s no job, and the training is bogus. By paying for it, you’re putting money in the hands of the bad guys.

Resume refresh scams

“Another scam we’re seeing is when fake job recruiters tell people to pay for a more professional-looking resume or, they’re told, they won’t find work-from-home opportunities,” says Toni Frana, the lead career expert at FlexJobs, the top job-searching site for remote work.

These phony recruiters can be hard to spot. “Even if these scammers are overseas, [generative] AI is helping them communicate with better spelling and grammar,” Frana adds.

Equipment-buying scams

Medical billing is a great work-from-home opportunity, but that plum gig may be a scam if your new boss asks you to buy your own equipment first. The company may tell you the products are necessary for getting the job done. It might promise to reimburse you along with your first payment. It’s all lies, courtesy of the scammers behind the fake job.

(This employment scam is related to another tactic: Someone reaches out to you with an offer of a “free” brace, wheelchair or walker. Medicare will pay for it, they assure you. But to process the benefit, the seemingly generous good Samaritan will ask you for your private Medicare info. You guessed it: The goal isn’t to gift you free medical devices; it’s to steal your info.)

Overpayment scams

High angle view of American Dollar banknotes and computer mouse on blue background

Your new work-from-home job may seem legit until the company sends you your first check for much more than it owes you. “Oops! Our bad,” your new boss may reply before asking you to send back the difference. Do it, and you’re falling hook, line and sinker for an overpayment scam.

Here’s how the con works: You send back the difference in payment by wire or check. When you attempt to cash the check your employer originally sent you, it will bounce—and your bank may notify you of this after the fraudsters cash your money.

Perkins says the scammers may also “ask for gift cards or cryptocurrency” when you return the extra cash that had been “accidentally” added to your paycheck. The reason is simple: They’re both difficult to trace. If that sounds like an unreasonable request, know that they “may come up with a reason why they’d like to be reimbursed by those methods,” she says.

Identify theft scams

When applying for a work-from-home job, you may be asked to fill out forms that seem innocent enough—with requests for your name, address, phone number and such. But in an identity theft job scam, these forms can graduate to asking for more sensitive details, often under the false claim of needing to perform a background check on you. The scammers’ ultimate goal is to gather enough information to steal your identity.

MLMs and pyramid schemes

Yes, there are legit multi-level marketing (MLM) companies, or companies that sell products via person-to-person sales. But as the FTC points out, there’s a very fine line between MLMs and pyramid schemes. If a multi-level marketing company promises you money for recruiting others to work for them—not based on your retail sales alone—it’s a pyramid scheme, the organization says.

How do you know that an MLM is up to no good? You earn a commission based on what the people you recruit sell, and you’re first asked to buy the company’s products with your own money. Don’t think that a recognizable name means a company is legit; pyramid schemes may sell products you’ve heard of. And don’t be lured by promises of wealth. The con artists often tout the potential to make big bucks, but you’re likely to spend more than you can ever earn.

Reshipping scam

shipping box in trap

Jobs that promise high earnings for minimal work, all done from the comfort of home? No wonder job seekers are jumping at such opportunities. Unfortunately, these are often scams—and ones where fraudsters rope unwitting employees into assisting in the con.

Without realizing it, you may be performing illegal tasks as part of your lucrative new work-from-home “job.” That’s the case with a reshipping scam. As part of this con, a company may send small boxes for you to repack and mail with labels it provides. In reality, you’re unknowingly smuggling drugs or other items.

Mystery shopper scams

In another common scam, mystery shopping jobs by fake retailers or faux recruiters promise to find you high-paying “secret shopper” jobs in your area—for a small fee. Once you pay up, the scammer will disappear … with your money.

Some versions of the scam ask job seekers to pay for training or products, while others tell them to pay for access to surveys that promise compensation when completed. In all cases, once you pay, you’ll never hear from the scammers again.

12 telltale signs that a work-from-home job isn’t legit

Your Spidey sense should be tingling if you see any of these red flags in the job post or while corresponding with someone at the company.

  • It sounds too good to be true. (Because it is!) Take, for instance, an ad promising that you can make $1,000 per week in your pajamas—no experience necessary.
  • The job offer is unsolicited (a work-from-home opportunity you never applied for) or the offer comes far too easily, maybe after only one short interview.
  • The job description is vague.
  • Information about the company is sparse or nonexistent.
  • The offered wage is higher or lower than the average wage for that job. Here’s your reminder to check current wages on the internet!
  • The company or recruiter isn’t willing to chat via phone or video call, conducting all aspects of the hiring process over text or direct message. They may say they’re traveling or live out of the country and can’t talk.
  • You are asked to pay for supplies, training, certification or equipment.
  • There are no employees on LinkedIn and no company reviews.
  • The recruiter or company quickly suggests moving the conversation off LinkedIn to another messaging platform. As Fisher points out, scammers will do this often. Similarly, they may ask you to download encrypted software to chat with them.
  • A company or recruiter asks you to provide personal info or banking details very early on in the application process.
  • You receive a check for more than you expected, and your company instructs you to send the additional cash back.
  • Your new “boss” asks to ship you boxes and requests that you send them to a third party.

How to avoid work-from-home scams

A Roll of Opened Caution Cordon Tape on Blue

To sidestep work-from-home scams, you need to know they’re out there, understand what they may look like and be aware of the fact they can evolve over time. From there, you can best avoid becoming a victim of a job scam by taking the following advice to heart.

Look up the company

Frana says she always advises people to check out the company’s website to see if it exists. If the company is fake, there may not be a website for it. If there is a site, stay skeptical while you poke around—and consider it fishy if there’s no contact information.

Look for the company’s affiliation with organizations like the Better Business Bureau. But overall? “Just trust your gut,” says Frana.

Verify the recruiter

If the company seems legit, determine if the person contacting you actually works there. A scammer may pretend to work for a legitimate business or recruitment agency. If you can’t find them listed on the website or on social media tied to the company, it’s probably a scam.

Another quick way to spot a scammer is by looking at the sender’s email address. If the person works for a big recruitment agency or large corporation, why are they corresponding with you from a Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook account? The likely answer: They’re trying to con you.

Official communication should come from verified company email domains—not a generic address.

Look for a verification badge

When job-searching on LinkedIn, look for a verification badge on the hiring manager’s profile and job post, advises Fisher. “When users see verifications on job posts, that means there is verified information about the company and job poster—including, for example, if the poster is affiliated with an official company page, has verified their association with a particular workplace or has verified their identity through Clear or one of LinkedIn’s other identity-verification partners,” she says. “And most of all, if something doesn’t feel right, report it.”

Be wary of classified ads

Those looking for work may (understandably) look for opportunities on various employment platforms, such as LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor. But know that con artists frequently use classified ad sites like Craigslist to advertise phony jobs.

Scammers are essentially exploiting the limited verification processes inherent in these free-for-all platforms. You’ll often find postings for envelope-stuffing jobs from home (reminder: scam!), while bigger corporations generally use more formal recruiting avenues.

What to do if you’ve fallen for a work-from-home scam

Scammers are smart, so there’s a chance that even the most careful job seeker can fall prey to fraud. So what should you do if you’re a victim of a job scam? “If you lose money to a scam, immediately contact the company or bank you used to send the money, report the fraud and ask to have the transaction reversed if possible,” says Perkins. “Then report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.”

In other words, the smartest thing to do when you’re a victim of a work-from-home scam is to take these steps:

  • Report the fraud and reverse the transaction. The FTC has a handy chart that lists exactly how to do this, based on the payment method you used when paying the scammer.
  • If you gave a scammer your Social Security number, go to IdentityTheft.gov to see what steps to take, including how to monitor your credit.
  • If you gave a scammer your username and password, immediately create a new, strong password. Did you use the same password anywhere else? If so, change it there too.

Falling for a work-from-home scam isn’t ideal, but the faster you act, the better your chances are of getting your money back. A quick reaction can stop scammers in their tracks—before they have a chance to access your financial accounts or steal your identity.

About the experts

  • Toni Frana, the lead career expert at FlexJobs, oversees a team that, among other things, informs job seekers and helps keep them safe. She raises awareness of new and common remote job scams and the best practices for safe job searching
  • Rhonda Perkins, an attorney and chief of staff for the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Marketing Practices, often speaks about how to detect employment scams, including fake work-from-home opportunities, and how to report work scams.
  • Catherine Fisher has worked for LinkedIn for more than 11 years and is the company’s consumer-facing expert on job trust. She regularly educates consumers and LinkedIn members about work-from-home scams, discussing the topic on shows including Good Morning America and CBS Mornings.

Why trust us

Reader’s Digest has published hundreds of articles on personal technology, arming readers with the knowledge to protect themselves against cybersecurity threats and internet scams as well as revealing the best tips, tricks and shortcuts for computers, cellphones, apps, texting, social media and more. For this piece, Marc Saltzman tapped his experience as a technology journalist of 30 years, author of several books (including Apple Vision Pro for Dummies) and host of the syndicated Tech It Out radio show and podcast. Then Chuck Brooks, the president of Brooks Consulting International and a consultant with more than 25 years of experience in cybersecurity, emerging technologies and other tech topics, gave it a rigorous review to ensure that all information is accurate and offers the best possible advice to readers. We rely on credentialed experts with personal experience and know-how as well as primary sources including tech companies, professional organizations and academic institutions. We verify all facts and data and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.

Sources:

  • Rhonda Perkins, attorney and chief of staff for the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Marketing Practices; email interview, June 17, 2024
  • Toni Frana, lead career expert at FlexJobs; phone interview, June 17, 2024
  • Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn job trust expert; email interview, June 14, 2024
  • Better Business Bureau: “Job Scams Study”
  • CNBC: “Americans lost $68 million to job scams so far this year—here’s what to look out for”
  • The Wall Street Journal: “New Job Scams Are Flourishing. Young Workers Are Especially Susceptible”
  • FTC: “Multi-Level Marketing Businesses and Pyramid Schemes”
  • FTC: “FTC Halts Bogus Envelope-Stuffing Scam”
  • FTC: “Mystery Shopping Scams”

Are you finally ready to book that fabulous trip that you’ve been daydreaming about? Maybe it’s a wine tour in Italy or a cruise around Japan. Lucky you! It’s going to be amazing, we’re sure. What isn’t going to be quite as amazing? Renewing your passport before you go. It can be a hassle to schlep to an in-person appointment or even to gather everything you need to mail in. Or, rather, it was a hassle until now. The U.S. Department of State just launched an online passport-renewal program that will make the process a whole lot easier.

However, the program is still in the beta test phase and has a few restrictions. So what will that mean for you and your attempt to take care of this task online? Here’s what you need to know.

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Can anyone renew their passport online?

As of right now, no. There are a few restrictions to the beta program that customers need to consider before attempting this. To renew your passport online:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • This cannot be your first-ever passport. To get your first passport, you have to apply and schedule an in-person appointment with the Department of State.
  • The passport you’re renewing needs to have been issued between 2009 and 2015.
  • You must be 25 years old or older.
  • You are not changing your name, gender, date of birth or place of birth.
  • You live in the United States (either state or territory), not a foreign country, and you don’t have an Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) address.
  • You are applying for a regular (tourist) passport, not a special-issue (diplomatic, official or service) passport.
  • You can upload a digital passport photo.

When the program rolls more fully, some of the restrictions above may change, though others likely won’t (such as being a U.S. citizen). If you don’t meet these requirements, you won’t be able to move forward in the application process online.

How to renew your passport online

For the next several months, the system will open up for a limited midday window, starting at 1 p.m. ET, then close when it reaches the number of applications allowed in one day. And that window can reportedly close fast, so be ready to go when the portal opens.

If you are among the lucky ones who make it, here’s what the renewal process will entail:

  • Creating an account through MyTravelGov and starting an application.
  • Filling out the DS-82 form online and electronically signing the paperwork.
  • Submitting a passport photo that is 2-by-2-inches. It should be a clear image of you with a white background and a neutral expression on your face.
  • Paying the passport fee.
  • Mailing in your most recent passport.

Ta-da! You’re done.

How much does renewing a passport online cost?

It costs $130 to apply—which is the standard amount for a routine passport renewal at, say, the post office or other government office. Right now, the only form of available payment is a credit card.

How long does it take to get a passport that’s been renewed online?

The process takes six to eight weeks, just like a routine passport renewal in person or via mail. So if you’re looking for the fastest way to apply for a passport, this program unfortunately isn’t it. If you need your passport quickly, mail in your application with the extra $60 fee for expedited service, and you should get it in two to three weeks. There are also passport-renewal services you can find in your area that charge a heftier fee for an even faster renewal—between one and four days.

Can you use your current passport while waiting for the new one?

No. Similar to when you apply for a passport by mail, you’ll have to send your old passport to the U.S. Department of State, so don’t plan on traveling out of the country during the time you’re waiting for your renewed passport. The government will eventually send back the old passport to keep for your records, but the new one will arrive first.

When will online passport renewal be available to everyone?

It is unknown when this online system will be available to U.S. citizens outside the allotted few who are able to get access to the program right now. The Department of State says it is testing out this online program over the next “several months” and will be preparing for a full launch with an updated online passport-renewal system in the future.

Why trust us

At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. We rely on reputable primary sources, including government and professional organizations and academic institutions, as well as our writers’ personal experiences where appropriate. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.

Sources:

As a child who had to take a lot of medication—I grew up in the era when they gave you antibiotics if you sneezed twice—I had quite the collection of those plastic orange pill bottles with the white caps. I remember wondering vaguely why they were that strange color and then deciding that they must have been designed in the 1970s because everything from that decade seemed to have that weird sepia tone to it.

It turns out that I wasn’t far off chronologically. Plastic began being used in pill bottles after World War II, but the modern plastic pill bottle as we know it today, with its distinctive orange hue (technically, it’s called amber) and its white “push and turn” cap, wasn’t introduced until 1968. But I was wrong about the reason for the color.

I asked Jennifer Bourgeois, a pharmacist and health expert for SingleCare Pharmacy, to help me get to the bottom of this mystery. Read on to find out the reason behind pill bottles’ characteristic color and more interesting facts about your prescriptions.

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Why are pill bottles that clear orange color?

My childhood hunch was wrong; the amber color isn’t just hippie aesthetics. “Prescription pill bottles are clear orange for a few important reasons,” Bourgeois says.

To keep medications potent

“It’s important that we protect medication from light, as it can degrade or lose potency when exposed to UV light,” Bourgeois explains. The color orange helps filter out the UV light so it does not alter the medication. Nearly every type of medication, from antidepressants and antibiotics to pain relievers and sleep aids, is dispensed in these bottles. They’ve become as ubiquitous as those over-the-counter bottles stuffed with cotton.

To keep medications visible

If you wanted to block all UV rays, you’d just make the pill bottles opaque (and many are shipped from the manufacturer this way for this reason), but that would make it harder for patients to use them. So at the pharmacy, techs will often take the pills from the opaque bulk manufacturer bottles and dispense them into clear amber containers so the patient can see the medication inside.

“This is designed to help one identify the medication, as well as know how much of their prescription is left,” Bourgeois says.

To make medications recognizable

From a safety and marketing standpoint, making pill bottles one unique color is a smart move. “Orange prescription bottles have been accepted as the standard practice, and when someone sees an orange bottle, they connect this with prescription medication,” says Bourgeois. This connection is so strong that it communicates across languages, ages and cultures that whatever is in the bottle is medication and should be treated with care.

What about the special white cap?

This is a safety precaution to protect kids. “This is especially important for young children so they cannot easily access potentially harmful medicine,” Bourgeois says. Often, child-resistant caps have a specific technique to open, such as pushing down while twisting. The most common childproof cap in use today is the “palm and turn” cap.

It was invented by Henri Breault, a pediatrician who launched a public-health campaign in the early 1960s to reduce accidental poisonings in children after seeing far too many deaths in his young patients. The public-awareness campaign did little, however, so he partnered with an engineer to create the first childproof cap, designed to fit the amber bottles, in 1967. It inspired the United States to pass the Poison Prevention Packaging Act in 1970, mandating the use of childproof caps. It made a huge difference—rates of accidental medication-poisoning deaths in children under 5 have decreased by more than 80% since the act passed.

Do pill bottles have to be orange plastic?

No. Pill bottles can and do come in a variety of colors and materials. Some are designed, from a marketing perspective, to help patients with brand recognition. Others are designed with a specific purpose to protect the medication—for instance, medications that really need to be kept out of sunlight, such as some types of antibiotics, often come in opaque bottles. But the amber color is by far the most popular since it is considered the standard.

Bourgeois adds that pharmacies generally don’t choose the color or style of pill bottles they use, opting instead to order the standard sizes in bulk from a wholesale supplier—another reason they all tend to be the same.

Is your medication safe in these bottles?

Yes, you can trust that if your medication comes in a particular package, then it will be adequately protected. One problem pharmacists often see, however, is when patients remove the pills from the manufacturer or pharmacy packaging and put them in daily pill dispensers. Many of these are made from cheap plastic that is neither UV-resistant nor airtight, and that can degrade your medications. It also makes it less safe by making it easier for children and pets to get into.

How to store medication properly

While the packaging will protect your medication, it will do so only up to a point. You still have to store it correctly. In addition to keeping your meds in their original packaging or bottles, which also ensures that the right person is taking the right meds at the right dose, here’s what you need to know.

  • Store it at the appropriate temperature and humidity. Generally speaking, this means storing it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, but check your bottle (or ask your pharmacist) to make sure. Some medications will need to be refrigerated, and if that’s the case, keep them in the fridge at all times. Helpful hint: “Proper storage” will never entail stashing your pills in a hot, damp bathroom!
  • Keep things tidy. Organize your medicine cabinet, making sure the storage area is clean and inaccessible to pets or children.
  • Toss it after the expiration date. Just like food, medications go bad over time. Routinely check the expiration dates on the bottles (yet another reason to keep your pills in their original bottles!), and destroy them after that date. Bourgeois does not recommend throwing old medications in the trash or flushing them down the toilet, as that can cause environmental problems. Instead, ask your pharmacist about their pill-recycling days, or use this handy online tool to find a pill-recycling center near you.

About the expert

  • Jennifer Bourgeois, PharmD, is an integrative health pharmacist with more than 15 years of experience and a pharmacy and health expert for SingleCare Pharmacy. She is the CEO of Well & Free and the founder of A New View, a nonprofit that recycles and repurposes used eyeglasses.

Why trust us

At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. We rely on reputable primary sources, including government and professional organizations and academic institutions, as well as our writers’ personal experiences where appropriate. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.

Sources:

If you’re completely transfixed by the British royal family, you’re not alone. There’s drama, sordid affairs, underdog stories, tragic betrayals—it’s like a modern-day soap opera! And, of course, we aren’t just curious about past events, like what really went wrong between Charles and Diana, but also what will happen next. Will Prince Harry ever reconcile with William and Charles? How will the next generation of royals rule? It’s not as arbitrary as you might think … at least according to astrology. If you look at the astrological charts of the British royal family—from Queen Elizabeth’s to Prince William’s zodiac signs—you’ll start to see a very clear picture.

As an astrologer and entertainment journalist, I often look to the stars for these sorts of explanations. Interestingly, the royals’ zodiac signs don’t just influence their personalities or even their day-to-day decisions about the monarchy. Many of their birth charts also predicted that they were destined for greatness.

Ahead, find out each royal family member’s zodiac sign, along with how they influenced—or will influence—the course of their lives.

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King Charles: Scorpio

king charles scorpio zodiac

Birthdate: Nov. 14, 1948

Ruled by Pluto, the planet of destruction and rebirth, Scorpios have a deep understanding of the sacrifices required to lead and are keenly aware of power’s cyclical nature, as well as the necessity to embrace new beginnings. That encapsulates King Charles to a T. After Queen Elizabeth’s death, he made the strategic decision to connect her passing to his ascension—something that many other zodiac signs might have avoided. But Charles’s water-sign energy allowed him to skillfully handle people’s feelings around the passing of his mother and their doubts about him, guiding the country through their mourning and the monarchy’s transition.

Scorpios are also uniquely capable of transforming situations for the better, and Charles successfully navigated these tricky waters in the court of public opinion. His affair with Camilla Parker Bowles soured many people on him and even made them question his ability to lead. Over time, though, he was able to move past that and establish himself as a ruler worthy of his title.

While his fallout with Harry and his own recent cancer diagnosis have marred his short reign, he has not let either interfere with his duties. In fact, since Charles was born during an eclipse, he is also a king who is likely to bring about significant change and progress, which may be reflected in his environmental initiatives and his efforts to streamline a bloated monarchy.

Camilla Parker Bowles: Cancer

Birthdate: July 17, 1947

As the queen consort, Camilla Parker Bowles embodies the regal grace of her sign. Cancers are known for their empathetic, warm natures, and they excel at putting others before themselves—all excellent qualities for a queen. However, they can also be selfish when their emotions run wild, and Camilla definitely let her heart guide her into some less-than-ideal situations with Charles early on. As a result of their affair, the country despised her for decades … but in true Cancer form, she was eventually able to smooth things over, first with Queen Elizabeth and then the public.

And it does seem like true love between her and Charles, something we can also attribute to astrology. Not only is Cancer a sign of lasting and nurturing love, but since Cancer and Scorpio are both water signs, their connection runs deep. They were always meant to stand the test of time, despite not being able to marry each other originally. Camilla has been an unwavering pillar of support since the queen’s death and Charles’s illness, all the while still maintaining a full roster of royal duties.

Prince William: Cancer

prince william cancer zodiac

Birthdate: June 21, 1982

There are quite a few Cancers in the royal family, and Prince William is one of them. This sign is known for its warmth, openness and compassion, and these qualities have shaped his approach to life, family and royal duties. He is naturally inclined to care for those around him, often putting the needs of others before his own. This is evident in both his philanthropic endeavors and his support of his father and wife amidst their recent health challenges. As he steps into a fuller role within the monarchy while also being a rock for his children, he showcases the tough outer shell and soft heart that Cancers are known for.

Incidentally, the late Princess Diana also shared Prince William’s zodiac sign—and both were born during eclipse seasons. According to astrology, that makes them fated to transform the world around them in some way. Diana’s loving and devoted nature also influenced William, helping him to become a considerate future king. That has translated into William’s ability to connect with people from all backgrounds, earning their trust and admiration. Prince William may use his future reign as king to listen more and bridge the gap between the past and present, reshaping the monarchy for the modern age.

Princess Kate: Capricorn

Birthdate: Jan. 9, 1982

As the sister sign of Cancer, Capricorn naturally complements Cancer’s traits, creating a balanced and harmonious relationship between the future king and queen. While William may lead with his heart as a Cancer, Kate’s Capricorn nature will keep William on track with her practicality, pragmatism, discipline and ambition. While that all sounds very business-like, her sign has also allowed her to navigate the complexities of royal life with grace. And despite rumors that William was unfaithful, Kate has remained calm (at least in public). She may be more forgiving than others would be, but she prefers to handle matters privately, unlike King Charles and Camilla, who dealt with their issues in a more public way.

In short, she is astrologically built for the pressures of royal life, which is why this former commoner moves through that world so seamlessly. Like her husband and father-in-law, Kate was born during an eclipse, which means her role in the royal family could be significant for the nation.

Prince George: Cancer

 Prince George cancer zodiac

Birthdate: July 22, 2013

Prince George, who’s now 11 years old, shares Prince William’s zodiac sign (and Princess Diana’s). As the future king, he will grow up under immense pressure and attention, much like his father did. But while other, more rebellious signs (Aquarius, looking at you) might push back against a predetermined future, Cancer is a natural leader who embraces life’s challenges gracefully. The idea of being Britain’s future monarch won’t faze him.

Cancers are often seen as protectors, and this trait could manifest in George’s dedication to his country. Between this and his moon in Capricorn, which gives him a grounded and mature emotional sensibility for his age, his leadership style may be characterized by a genuine concern for others’ well-being.

So how will he differ from his father, who is also a Cancer? Without getting too technical, his sun and moon signs and his relationship to his mother will give him a more grounded and practical approach to ruling than his dad. He can take his emotions out of the equation to do what’s best for others, allowing him to build an even bigger legacy on top of whatever he inherits from his father. And since his rising sign is Scorpio, Prince George could be the key to reestablishing respect for the British monarchy in a way we haven’t seen since Princess Diana was alive.

Princess Charlotte: Taurus

Birthdate: May 2, 2015

Princess Charlotte is a Taurus who shares her zodiac sign with her younger brother, Prince Louis, and her late great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. While Taurus is often seen as stubborn, this trait is better understood as being steadfast, success-oriented and focused on the future. These qualities will ensure that Princess Charlotte remains grounded. As a fixed earth sign, she will be able to handle the pressures of public life while maintaining her confidence. Fixed signs love to be in charge, which might cause a bit of tension with her siblings, especially since George is next in line for the throne after their father. But her cosmic alignment alongside her fair and balanced Libra moon ensures that, over time, Princess Charlotte will navigate the challenges of royal life with resilience.

And a word of warning for her mother: She and Charlotte share a zodiac element—earth—and may have disagreements as Charlotte begins to challenge and test authority figures. Charlotte will be quick to call out anything she doesn’t see as fair, whether it’s a small disagreement with her brothers or something she perceives as wrong with the country’s leadership. This energy likely means that Charlotte will be a very vocal member of the monarchy, driven to use her power for positive change.

On a fun note, with Taurus as her sun sign and Libra as her moon sign (both of which are ruled by Venus, the planet of love, romance and luxury), she will have a deep love of possessions and aesthetics. Keep an eye on her fashion sense in the coming years—we just might have a royal influencer on our hands!

Prince Louis: Taurus

Prince Louis Taurus zodiac

Birthdate: April 23, 2018

With an older sister who has the same sign, it might be challenging for the youngest royal sibling to establish himself at first, and he and Charlotte might clash in terms of power. But for now, Prince Louis has established himself as the wild child and fun-loving goofball of the royal family, thanks to his moon in Leo. A natural performer who lives for applause and attention, this could actually lead him to lean into Taurus’s softer, more reserved and artistic side. There’s a good chance that this young royal will develop a love and passion for the arts—either as a performer himself or possibly as a patron and philanthropist.

As he gets older, Prince Louis may find himself becoming more involved in the structure of government. Taurus is ruled by Venus, which governs money and finances, and this may prompt him to involve himself in matters of state, working to bring financial stability and abundance to the country. Being fourth in line to the throne, Prince Louis is likely to have a more adventurous life filled with youthful escapades and fun. However, he will eventually grow into his responsibilities as a royal while maintaining his charming connection with the public the entire time.

Prince Harry: Virgo

Birthdate: Sept. 15, 1984

Virgos are known for their practicality, attention to detail and strong sense of duty. Despite his wild younger years, Prince Harry took his responsibilities seriously as an adult, both while serving in the military and acting as a husband and father. This isn’t surprising since he’s a mega earth sign. Aside from his sun in Virgo, his moon sign is Taurus and his rising sign is Capricorn. This has manifested itself in the very public drama he’s had with his family. From the abdication from his royal duties to his tell-all book, Prince Harry’s extreme honesty and conviction are at the heart of his decisions—traits typical of a Virgo.

Virgos are also known for their humility and modesty, which partially explains why he was willing to give up his royal status to protect and plan a future with his new family. (The other component, of course, is that he’s always felt the weight and burden of his royal lineage.) He was able to make a difficult decision that sacrificed his status and power to do what he thought was right. That said, while earth signs are known for their stubbornness, they are also secretly sentimental, meaning there’s definitely a chance for reconciliation with his family in the future.

Meghan Markle: Leo

megan markle leo zodiac

Birthdate: Aug. 4, 1981

As a fire sign, Meghan doesn’t naturally blend with the water- and earth-heavy influences in the British royal family, which could explain why her energy was such a shock when she first arrived on the scene. Leos tend to like being the center of attention, which isn’t surprising given her acting career, but they are also incredibly charismatic and love fiercely. But Leos can be very polarizing too. Their confidence and warmth can rub people the wrong way.

The thing is, Leos live their truths—even if not everyone is happy about it. Meghan was honest about how the pressure of the royal family was more intense than her life on the red carpet, and she was unafraid to leave it all behind to live her life authentically. Again, that was not something the royal family was prepared for, especially as she and Harry made their way to America to start a new life. But with her natural ambition and creativity, she will be able to juggle multiple projects as well as be a rock-solid mom to her two kids, Archie and Lilibet.

Queen Elizabeth II: Taurus

Birthdate: April 21, 1926

Queen Elizabeth II was a Taurus, just like her great-grandchildren Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. This earth sign, ruled by Venus, is known for stability, practicality and a strong sense of duty—traits that make an exceptional queen and were evident in Elizabeth throughout her reign as the U.K.’s longest-serving sovereign. Tauruses are fiercely loyal and dedicated, which meant unwavering commitment to her role and her people.

As an earth sign, Tauruses are also generally calm and composed, even in stressful situations, which helped Elizabeth maintain a steady and reassuring presence as queen over the course of seven decades. From unexpectedly ascending the throne at age 25 to navigating the challenges of Charles and Diana’s divorce and Diana’s death, her practical nature ensured decisions were made with careful consideration and a focus on long-term benefits. From the first day of her reign until the day she passed, she built her empire with traditional Taurus patience and a vision for success.

Princess Diana: Cancer

Princess Diana cancer zodiac

Birthdate: July 1, 1961

Loving, protective and family-centered. These adjectives perfectly describe Cancers, as well as the “People’s Princess.” Princess Diana embodied all the characteristics this water sign is famous for, which made the world quickly fall in love with her. And she was not only a devoted mother to two sons but also a die-hard philanthropist. She was a champion of women and children, and worked with marginalized groups, including those affected by landmines and HIV patients at a time when few dared to. She was fearless in helping others and wanted to do what she knew was right, and she was someone the common person felt they could connect with. Despite the embarrassment of her husband’s affair and her own mental-health struggles, she was the epitome of selflessness and unconditional love that this water sign is known for.

Even after her tragic death, she continues inspire compassion and kindness worldwide. Born during an eclipse, like many in the royal family, Diana’s legacy shines on as an example of how the British royal family looks and acts at its best. She remains an excellent example of Cancer’s warmth, love and compassion—qualities that her son, Prince William, and his son, Prince George, will likely embody when they ascend the throne one day.

Source:

Why trust us

At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. We rely on reputable primary sources, including government and professional organizations and academic institutions as well as our writers’ personal experience where appropriate. For this piece on the British royal family’s zodiac signs, Lauren Ash tapped her longtime experience as an astrologer and astrology writer for outlets including Parade.com, Astrology.com and Horoscope.com. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing, and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.

I’ve flown countless times, but one fateful trip will forever stand—or should I say “strand”?—in my memory: I had just settled into my seat for a cross-country trip when a young woman with long blond hair sat down in front of me. After takeoff, she reclined her chair … and threw her hair over the back of the seat. It dangled over my screen, nearly to my tray table and the sandwich I’d just set there to eat. Despite all my efforts to gently tuck it back into her seat (and one attempt to talk to her about it), her hair stayed in my face for the entire trip. How rude!

If you’ve ever traveled by plane, chances are, you have a similar story. Rude airplane passengers are way too common, and the trend in travel may be getting worse—78% of Americans feel airline etiquette has declined sharply, according to a survey conducted by Solitaire Bliss. Though perhaps we should be pointing the finger at ourselves first: The majority of survey respondents copped to committing at least one rude behavior on a plane.

To get to the bottom of the issue, I pored over the survey from Solitaire Bliss, then talked to an etiquette expert who offered tips for staying polite when flying the friendly skies. Keep reading to find out which flight faux pas Americans are most guilty of—and which states have the most and least polite passengers.

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How did the survey determine travel etiquette?

The 2024 survey asked Americans to share what “naughty” behaviors they’ve done in an airport or on an airplane, as well as what they’ve seen other people do. More than 2,000 people, representing every state in the nation, responded and spilled their guts. (That said, the researchers couldn’t use the data from Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont or Wyoming because they didn’t get enough responses from people who live in those states.)

Here’s how the survey went down: Participants read through a list of bad travel behaviors and marked whether they had committed the etiquette offense themselves and/or if they’d seen someone else do it. Solitaire Bliss then tallied the numbers to create a Naughty Travel Habits score, which ranged from zero to 100. Each state received a rank according to its score.

While no state scored zero (perfectly polite), there was one state that scored nearly 100 on the naughty scale. Even the nicest state had plenty of room for improvement. Read on to find out which states’ citizens are the most polite while traveling and which need to go back to etiquette school.

Which state has the most polite airline passengers?

Friends take their seats, excited for their summer holiday.

The nicest state when it comes to air travel is Arkansas, with a Naughty Travel Habits score of 54.58. People from this state were the least likely to say they used a bag to save a seat in a terminal, recline their seat without asking or “forget” to put their phone on airplane mode. They were also less likely to pass gas during the flight and leave their garbage in the seat.

And perhaps there is some truth to the stereotype of “Midwest nice” and “Southern manners,” as the 10 states with the nicest airline passengers include only two states outside those regions:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Alabama
  3. Florida
  4. Ohio
  5. Kansas
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Michigan
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. North Carolina
  10. Maine

Which state has the rudest airline passengers?

Admit it: This is what you really want to know! The No. 1 naughtiest state when it comes to air-travel etiquette is Iowa, with a Naughty Travel Habits score of 94.29. (So maybe the “Midwest manners” stereotype isn’t true.)

Not only are Iowans the most likely to save seats and recline instead of keeping their seats upright, but they’re also the ones most likely to stick their feet in the aisle, drink too much, talk too loudly on their phones, ask to switch seats and go barefoot.

The top states with the rudest airline passengers include:

  1. Iowa
  2. Illinois
  3. Virginia
  4. Texas
  5. Georgia
  6. California
  7. Washington
  8. Nebraska
  9. Utah
  10. Colorado

What other facts about airline etiquette did the survey discover?

Beyond the “naughty” and “nice” lists, the survey uncovered some other interesting travel tidbits:

  • Nearly 33% of travelers copped to passing gas on a plane.
  • Almost 13% of travelers have witnessed a physical confrontation in an airport or on a plane. (Yikes!)
  • Respondents were most likely to associate budget airline Spirit Airlines with bad travel behaviors.
  • Gen Zers are the generation most likely to commit “naughty” travel behaviors.

What are the top etiquette rules to remember when traveling?

Most etiquette rules can be boiled down to one thing, according to Jan Goss, the founder of Show Up Well Consulting and the author of Protocol Power. “Treat everyone with respect, kindness and empathy,” she says. “Double that for airline travel when you’re all cramped into such a tight space.”

Beyond that, the list of worst behaviors from the survey provides a great etiquette to-do list when you consider the opposite actions:

  • Sit in your assigned seat.
  • Ask before reclining your seat.
  • Pick up your trash.
  • Go to the bathroom to pass gas or take care of any hygiene needs.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode, and use headphones if listening to something.
  • Follow the directions of flight attendants and the seatbelt sign.
  • Don’t have more than a drink or two.
  • Keep your shoes on.
  • Keep your cool, and don’t fight with other passengers or airline staff.

Goss would like to add one more: Teach your children good airplane etiquette. Practice by “playing airplane” before going on your trip.

The bottom line? The next time you’re on an airplane, “worry less about whether or not people are doing the ‘right’ thing and more about doing the kind thing,” Goss says, adding that other people behaving badly isn’t an excuse for rudeness. “An act of kindness is never wasted, but it’s even more powerful when those around you may be behaving badly.”

No doubt about it, travel can be stressful! Having good etiquette can make it easier for everyone.

About the expert

  • Jan Goss is the CEO and founder of Show Up Well Consulting, through which she has provided training in all areas of etiquette for more than 30 years. She focuses on a commonsense approach that blends protocol with kindness. She is the author of Protocol Power.

Why trust us

At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. We rely on reputable primary sources, including government and professional organizations and academic institutions as well as our writers’ personal experience where appropriate. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing, and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.

Sources:

If you’ve been searching for a way to simplify your cleaning routine, then your first step should be investing in a vacuum-mop combo. These machines, which are a genius combination of the best vacuums and the best mops, literally cut cleaning time in half. We’ve put dozens of these vacuum-mops to the test, and a few really stood out. In fact, of all the machines we’ve tested, the Dreametech H12 wet and dry vacuum earned the Best Overall spot.

This cordless machine earned our top spot for its powerful suction, dual cleaning modes, auto mess detection, self-cleaning feature and long runtime. But before we bestowed such an honor, we had our Product Testing Team take it into the Testing Lab for closer inspection. Once our testing was complete, we compiled all of our findings in this comprehensive Dreametech H12 review.

What is the Dreametech H12 wet and dry vacuum?

The Dreametech H12 wet and dry vacuum is an upright machine that vacuums and mops sealed hard floors at the same time. It’s lightweight, easy to maneuver and has a self-clean function to save you even more time and prevent you from getting your hands dirty. It’s also the quietest machine we tested, which is a huge bonus to those who are sensitive to loud noises or use baby’s nap time to get the household chores done. Another plus? This machine is equipped with a light-emitting diode (LED) screen that displays battery life, dirt level, mode and a host of other useful information.

The LED screen also displays the machine’s two cleaning modes: Auto, for everyday cleaning, and Suction, which allows you to suck up messes without mopping. The Dreametech H12 also features intelligent mess detection, which automatically identifies dirt and grime and adjusts suction power accordingly.

Once you’re finished cleaning, return the Dreametech H12 to its charging base and press the self-clean button. In just two and a half minutes, it’s clean and ready for another mess. The base even has spots to hold your brush roller and filter when drying.

The brand also makes the Dreametech H12 Pro, a wet and dry vacuum with hot air drying capability and an upgraded water tank, among other extras that the regular model doesn’t have. From there, the Dreame H12 Dual takes it a step further by becoming a detachable vacuum-mop, converting into four different versions to clean nearly every crevice of your home. Deciding which one to get depends on your cleaning goals.

Dreametech H12 Wet And Dry Vacuum VIA MERCHANT

We Tried It

Dreametech H12 Wet and Dry Vacuum

Thanks to its wet and dry cleaning capabilities, this machine tackles all kinds of messes, including spills.

How we tested it

First things first: Our Product Testing Team began by charging the Dreametech H12 wet and dry vacuum and found that it takes four hours and 45 minutes to reach full battery life. According to the manufacturer, this machine can run for over 30 minutes on a full battery. Our testers were able to run it for 37 minutes and five seconds on Auto mode before the battery died.

With a fully charged battery, it was time for our team to do their dirty work. They started by spilling breadcrumbs on the floor and setting the machine to Suction mode to test its edge-to-edge cleaning capabilities. The end result? An impressive score of five out of five. Our testing team was also impressed by Dreametech’s maneuverability. “The machine self-propels, auto-adjusts suction power (a feature that actually works pretty well) and swivels decently,” notes the Product Testing Team.

Next, our expert product testers spilled cereal and milk, dirt and egg with shells over vinyl flooring. It’s worth noting that some vacuum-mop combos can be used on sealed hard floors and low-pile area rugs. According to our testers, the manual for this machine doesn’t specifically state any incompatibilities with carpet. But since all the product pictures on the box only show hard floors and tiling, they only tested this machine on vinyl flooring.

After everything was spilled over the floor, our testers ran the vacuum-mop over each mess for three passes and evaluated how much had been cleaned. Overall, they were impressed with this machine’s performance and by how little water it left behind. It sucked up the egg and shells in one or two passes, and cleaned up all of the cereal and milk in three passes, automatically changing suction power to best clean the mess. However, they noted that it took multiple passes to clean up the dirt. “More like five or 10 swipes, depending on how stuck the mud is to the floor,” the Product Testing Team explains.

Dreametech H12 Wet And Dry Vacuum Test

Once the floor was clean, our testers got to cleaning the Dreametech H12. They utilized the machine’s self-cleaning function, which is activated by pressing a button when the vacuum is resting on the charging base. Just note the vacuum must be charging and must be above 15% battery to operate the self-cleaning function. Our testers were impressed by how well the self-cleaning function worked compared to other machines they’ve tested. “This was one of the better ones,” says the Product Testing Team. “They all function fairly similarly, but we observed it kick some debris loose from the inside of the roller-head cover and suck it up. After the vacuum was through with the cycle, the roller head cover was almost entirely clean. A huge improvement from the others.”

In addition to the self-cleaning function, the manufacturer recommends cleaning the brush roller cover, brush roller and water tank every three to six months. Our testers, however, disagree with that assessment. “It should probably be cleaned after every use, especially if you’re cleaning food,” advises the team.

 Pros

  • Powerful suction
  • Dual cleaning modes with auto mess detection
  • Excellent edge-to-edge cleaning
  • Self-cleaning feature
  • Can vacuum without mopping

Cons

  • LED screen not immediately intuitive without manual
  • Some of the manufacturer’s instructions and specifications are unclear

Why you should trust us

At Reader’s Digest, we know how important it is to find quality products that help you work smarter, not harder. This especially applies to cleaning products, as our editors and testers all have homes full of pets, children and guests to keep clean. We have years of experience testing the best vacuums and mops on the market, including popular models from Shark and Dyson to the best vacuums on Amazon.

Our product testing experts on the Product Testing Team spent hours in our Testing Lab getting up close and personal with a variety of vacuum-mop combos, including the Dreametech H12 wet and dry vacuum. Our goal is to recommend only the very best products using honest and fair testing and reporting practices, and we will never recommend a product we don’t stand behind.

Dreametech H12 Wet And Dry Vacuum VIA MERCHANT

We Tried It

Dreametech H12 Wet and Dry Vacuum

This smart machine does the work for you by automatically identifying messes and responding accordingly.

If there’s a cardinal rule of grocery shopping, it’s this: Always check the sell-by date before buying milk. It’s usually easy to spot, printed toward the top of the milk carton in black letters. And it’s what saves us from doing the sniff test the minute we get our milk home from the store. (We save that for Week 2, naturally.)

But did you know there’s another important number—sort of like a “secret” code—printed just beneath the sell-by date? If you’ve never noticed it before, you certainly will now. Like milk label colors (which also have secret meanings!), this string of numbers might just change the way you shop for milk from here on out. Read on to learn what it means and how to find it on your next gallon.

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What do the numbers on your milk jug mean?

Here’s a fun fact: Those seemingly random numbers near the top of your milk container are not arbitrary at all. Usually located just beside or beneath the sell-by date, they’re a little-known code that tells you where the milk was bottled before it was delivered to your grocery store.

Pay attention, and you’ll spot these codes on other dairy products too. The numbers are printed on containers of butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream and more.

How do you decipher the code?

The code on your milk may seem like a jumble of numbers at first, but it’s actually a smart and easy-to-follow system if you know how to read it. Here’s how to interpret those numbers:

  1. Find the secret code, which is usually near the sell-by date. Hint: It always begins with two numbers followed by a dash and ends with a series of one to five additional numbers and/or letters. It will typically look like this: 01-2345 or 01-23.
  2. Visit Where Is My Milk From and type in the code.
  3. Voila! You’ll see exactly where your milk was bottled.

Curious how those numbers can point to the diary that produced your milk? Let’s break it down: The first two numbers, which range from 01 to 56, indicate the state where your milk came from. The series of numbers (or numbers and letters) after the dash tells you the dairy farm it came from.

Why is it important to know where your milk came from?

Sometimes knowing where your milk was bottled before it made its way to your fridge is just fun, pure and simple. This is doubly true for kids. Just think of how a child’s imagination could run wild thinking about their moo juice’s journey from the dairy farm to the grocery store to their cookies-and-milk dessert.

And both adults and kids may find it interesting to learn whether their milk was sourced from a local farm or came from another state.

But there’s another reason you may be interested in where your milk originated, especially if you try to stick to an organic diet or prefer to purchase organic dairy. According to the Cornucopia Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on finding the truth behind organic agricultural practices, not all farms that claim to use organic practices abide by the rules as strictly as they should. Paying attention to the supply chain of your milk can help you avoid purchasing products from farms that use industrialized practices that strip away healthy fats.

Do these numbers have anything to do with the milk’s expiration date?

The code that tells you where your milk was bottled usually appears beside the milk’s sell-by date, so does it have anything to with how long a carton of milk will last? Nope! The two numbers are unrelated.

Milk bottled at any location can have any expiration date. It all depends on when it was produced.

What if my milk doesn’t have a code?

If you can’t find the code on your container of milk, don’t worry. Not all dairy products have codes. Sometimes this is because the product is dairy-free—you won’t find this code on oat milk or almond milk, for instance.

Another reason you’re looking at a codeless carton of milk? It was produced at a new dairy farm that has not yet been added to the Where Is My Milk From database.

In short, this code isn’t essential, but if it appears on your carton, it can provide useful info and fun insight into your milk’s journey to your refrigerator.

Sources:

Few products are more convenient than vacuum-mop combos. These innovative machines are a combination of the best vacuums and best mops, meaning they do both at the same time. The end result? They simplify your cleaning schedule and leave your floors spic-and-span. We’ve done our homework and tested some of the best vacuum-mops on the market, including the popular Bissell SpinWave. But there’s another top performer you’ll want to get your hands on: the Tineco Floor One S7 Pro.

This model is on the pricier side compared to other vacuum mops. To determine whether it’s worth your money, our Product Testing Team took it into the Testing Lab for closer inspection. We also sent it home with one of our testers to see how it fared in an actual home with real messes. Once our testing was complete, we compiled all of our findings in this helpful Tineco Floor One S7 review.

What is the Tineco Floor One S7 Pro?

The Tineco Floor One S7 Pro is an upright machine that vacuums and mops sealed hard floors simultaneously. It’s lightweight, easy to maneuver around furniture and has a self-clean function to save you even more time. Better yet, it takes the guesswork out of the entire cleaning process, thanks to its user-friendly liquid-crystal display (LCD) control panel that provides real-time cleaning stats.

Rda24 Tineco Floor One S7 Pro Ivis Estrada Ssedit 02

The LCD screen also displays the machine’s four cleaning modes: Auto, Ultra, Suction and Max. In Auto mode, the Tineco Floor One S7 automatically detects the amount of dirt and debris on your floor and adjusts the detergent, water, roller pressure and suction power to accommodate each mess. And unlike regular mops, which push dirty water around your floors, this machine features two tanks: one for clean water and one for dirty water, so your floors are always being cleaned with fresh water.

Once you’re done cleaning, simply put the Tineco on its docking tray, select which self-cleaning cycle you want and let the machine do the rest. The docking tray also serves as its storage place when not in use.

We Tried It

Tineco Floor One S7 Pro

This smart vacuum-mop comes with a docking station and self-clean function to make storage and maintenance a breeze.

How we tested it

Once they got it into the Testing Lab, our Product Testing Team found that it takes four hours and 35 minutes to fully charge the Tineco Floor One S7 Pro. According to the manufacturer, this machine can run up to 40 minutes on a full charge. Our testers were able to run it for 28 minutes before the battery died.

After the machine was fully charged and ready to go, our team of expert product testers turned it on and were greeted by an interactive quick-start tutorial on the screen. “This machine speaks to you,” notes our Product Testing Team. “The tutorial was a nice feature that walked us through everything upon opening and setting up.”

Our testers began by spilling breadcrumbs on the floor and testing this machine’s dual-sided edge cleaning capabilities. It passed with flying colors. “It took one or two passes to get everything from the edges, but it was ultimately able to suck up all the crumbs except for those directly in the corner,” explains the team. They added that while the floor was wet to the touch, it was no more than what a Swiffer might leave behind.

Rda24 Tineco Floor One S7 Pro Ivis Estrada Ssedit 01 A

With the first test behind them, our Product Testing Team moved on to perform what they refer to as a high-stress test. During this test, they spilled cereal and milk, dirt and egg with shells over vinyl flooring. Then, they ran the vacuum over each mess for three passes and evaluated how much had been cleaned. They found that this machine worked great and sucked up all of the egg and shells and all of the dirt (though it took more than three passes). And while it did suck up the soggy cereal and milk, it became clogged and shut off, requiring the team to clean the machine.

Our team cleaned this machine per the manufacturer’s instructions, opting for the super self-cleaning mode. During cleaning, the screen gives a play-by-play of what’s being cleaned throughout the process. The self-cleaning function cleans the brush, pipe and roller. The team was impressed by how clean the pipe was and that the roller was free of debris. However, they were disappointed to find that the inside of the roller cover head was completely covered in gunk, and the machine’s air-dry function didn’t actually dry the roller. “The dock is pretty gross, too. It definitely needs to be wiped down,” adds the Product Testing Team.

While our Product Testing Team was getting down and dirty in the Testing Lab, our tester, Ivis Estrada, was putting this machine to work in her own home. Estrada was impressed by how easy it was to maneuver around her furniture, though she points out that since the head doesn’t swivel, some tighter spaces are more difficult to reach.

Overall, Estrada found this machine to be a tremendous time-saver. “I love using this mop to clean my floors. It makes the entire process really easy, convenient and quick,” she says. When cleaning up liquid spills, Estrada notes that the Tineco is able to suck up the mess in just one pass. For dirt, grime or, in her case, crushed potato chips, she says that it takes a few passes before it’s able to catch all of it, but ultimately, it does a great job.

Another thing to consider is how long it’ll take to clean all of the floors in your home. According to Estrada, it can take a minute or so for the machine to get going, depending on the mode you select. “Auto and Max will start automatically,” she says. “If I choose the Ultra mode, it’ll have to take a minute or so to load and prepare the cleaning solution. Sometimes, the loading part for the Ultra mode makes it so that sometimes I’d rather just use paper towels to clean up the mess rather than wait for the vacuum to be ready.” Additionally, you’ll have to stop and empty the dirty water tank every 15 to 20 minutes. In some instances, the vacuum will instruct you to return it to the dock for cleaning, according to Estrada. “If I’m just vacuuming up one room, this is plenty of time for me to get the floors cleaned,” she says. “But if I’m doing an entire house cleaning, there will need to be many breaks in between rooms for cleaning maintenance.”

Speaking of maintenance, we would be remiss if we didn’t share this pro tip. Both the Product Testing Team and Estrada stress the importance of emptying and cleaning this machine as soon as you finish cleaning, even if the dirty water tank isn’t completely full. They point out that it gets smelly rather quickly.

Pros

  • Easy to maneuver
  • Strong suction
  • Doesn’t leave floors soaking wet
  • LCD screen is very user-friendly
  • Cordless with a 28-minute runtime
  • Lightweight at 13.65 pounds with filled clean water tank
  • Has a self-clean function
  • Comes with a docking tray

Cons

  • Head doesn’t swivel
  • Some messes can clog the machine

Why you should trust us

At Reader’s Digest, we know how important it is to find quality products that make your life easier. This especially applies to cleaning products, as our editors and testers all have homes full of pets, children and guests to keep clean. We have years of experience testing all sorts of vacuums and mops, from vacuums especially for pet hair and the best vacuums on Amazon to hands-free robot mops and robot vacuums.

Our product testing experts on the Product Testing Team spent hours in our Testing Lab getting up close and personal with a variety of vacuum-mop combos. Several of those hours were spent with the Tineco Floor One S7 Pro. We also sent this machine home with a tester for long-term testing to see how it holds up to real-life messes. Our goal is to recommend only the very best products using fair testing practices, and we’ll always be honest if we come across a product we don’t love.

We Tried It

Tineco Floor One S7 Pro

Our team was able to use this cordless Tineco model for an impressive 28 minutes before the battery died.

There are some fast food pairings that just work. Cheeseburgers and french fries. Chicken and waffles. And, in my humble opinion, a Starbucks iced coffee and a breakfast sandwich. It’s always my go-to order when I’m traveling or need something quick while I’m running an errand, and thankfully, the folks at Starbucks completely understand. Or at least I think they do, given their brand-new Pairings Menu, which is now available at Starbucks locations nationwide.

Starting at just $5 a pair, Starbucks’s sweet deal for the summer will get you that coffee (or tea!) with a savory breakfast that will fill you up and fuel you for the day. Here’s what’s on the new Pairings Menu, what you can (and can’t) swap in and a few other things you need to know before making your next Starbucks run.

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What is the new Starbucks value pairing?

As of right now, the Pairings Menu is simply a pair (ha, get it?) with two items currently on the menu. The first is a 12-ounce iced or hot coffee or tea—including Starbucks’s newest iced-coffee blend—paired with a butter croissant for $5. Starbucks’s shaken iced teas (green tea, passion tea and basic black tea) are also included in this pairing.

If you want something a little more substantial for your morning meal, you can get a sandwich with that iced coffee for $6 total. Sandwiches included in this deal are the Sausage, Cheddar & Egg Sandwich; the Bacon, Gouda & Egg Sandwich; the Turkey Bacon, Cheddar & Egg White Sandwich; and the Chicken, Maple Butter & Egg Sandwich.

As you can see, this Pairings Menu isn’t as limited as you might have thought. Starbucks is allowing all types of customization options depending on what you’re craving in the morning. For $7, in fact, you can get the Double Smoked Bacon or Impossible Breakfast Sandwich options. You can also upgrade your Starbucks cup size or customize what’s in your coffee for an additional charge of anywhere from $0.50 for a Grande to $1.50 for a Trenta.

How much can this save you?

breakfast sandwich from starbucks with tea

While original prices may vary depending on which Starbucks location you’re at, if you compare the average prices of these items alone to the items put together in a pair, you’re saving quite a bit of money. For example, a Bacon, Gouda & Egg Sandwich is priced around $5.95 per sandwich at Starbucks. This means that you’re practically getting your beverage for free with this pair! (An iced coffee costs around $2.95.) You’re even spending less money if you order a Chicken, Maple Butter & Egg Sandwich, which costs an average of $6.95 per sandwich.

An important note if you love your caffeine: One Reader’s Digest editor who has made very good use of the Pairings Menu since its launch highly recommends ponying up at least $0.50 for a bigger drink. The 12-ounce drink is pretty small, especially if you’re used to Starbucks’s larger sizes, and the upgrade is still an incredible deal.

Are there any restrictions?

Yes. While there are some options to customize your coffee and tea, as well as two sandwich upgrades, Starbucks is keeping this menu simple with the options noted above. Fancy beverages such as boba refreshers and Frappuccinos are not included, and you can’t switch or substitute pastries or breakfast options if you don’t want a croissant or sandwich.

How long will these deals last?

As of right now, the Pairings Menu is a limited-time offer for the summer, and products will vary depending on the store you visit and what’s available. There isn’t any specific information on whether this Pairings Menu will stay for good, but I can only hope that it remains. It would make my Starbucks order far easier when I’m waiting in line!

How does Starbucks’s deal compare to other value pairings?

Starbucks isn’t the only fast-food restaurant with value pairings as of late. The head honchos of the major chains are trying to bring customers back into their establishments after slumping sales, the result of sky-high fast-food prices and general inflation. The strategy? Deals for you! If you’re also looking for an easy and cheap deal to grab for lunch, stop by one of these spots to make the most of your money.

  • Burger King: The “$5 Your Way Meal” allows customers to pair a burger with fries, chicken nuggets and a soft drink.
  • Wendy’s: This restaurant’s “$5 Biggie Bag Meal” is similar to Burger King’s, with a sandwich, four-piece nugget, junior fry and soft drink in the bag.
  • KFC: The “Meal for One” offers two pieces of chicken (drum and thigh), mashed potatoes and gravy, and a biscuit for just $4.99.
  • Panera: You may know the “You Pick Two” option at Panera, but this chain also offers a Value Duets deal with set soup/sandwich/salad options for just $7.99, compared with the usual “You Pick Two” prices, which vary depending on the items you choose.
  • McDonald’s: The “$12 Dinner Box” went viral online because of how much food it contains—it could feed a family of five, according to one very impressed TikTokker. Plus, who could forget the McDonald’s Dollar Menu items, with breakfast sandwich options priced at $3 or less?

Sources:

  • Starbucks: “Meet the Starbucks Pairings Menu”
  • Starbucks: “Starbucks Breakfast Menu with Prices 2024”
  • Good Morning America: “$12 dinner box McDonald’s order goes viral on TikTok”

Gettyimages 1242585928 Rdd24 Wendys Saucy Nuggs Courtesy Nina Derwin 01 Jvedit

Step aside, McDonald’s—there’s a new chicken nugget in town, and it just may become your top choice this summer. Wendy’s is giving its signature chicken nuggets a flavor-packed glow-up with the launch of Saucy Nuggs and seven new flavor combinations that range from smoky to sweet and tangy to spicy.

But what are Saucy Nuggs, exactly, and are they worth the switch from your tried-and-true favorites at Wendy’s and elsewhere? We had the chance to try them, and let’s just say that a trip to Wendy’s should definitely be included in your summer travel plans. Ahead, find out what to expect and which other popular fast-food chain just might give the Saucy Nuggs some serious competition.

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What are Wendy’s new Saucy Nuggs?

Wendys Saucy Nuggs in container on tray, buffalo

Wendy’s new Saucy Nuggs are the fast-food chain’s traditional chicken nuggets tossed in one of seven mouthwatering sauces. These aren’t for dipping—the nuggets are fully immersed in the sauces. They’re kind of like Buffalo wings in that sense, but the chicken is tossed and coated in the chosen sauce after cooking.

Saucy Nuggs come in seven flavor combinations. Each features either Wendy’s signature Crispy or Spicy Chicken Nuggets tossed in one of the four new sauces: Garlic Parm, Honey BBQ, Buffalo or Ghost Pepper. The pairings are classified as “Not Hot,” “Kinda Hot” or “Real Hot.” Here’s what you can choose from:

  • Garlic Parm (Not Hot)
  • Honey BBQ (Not Hot)
  • Spicy Garlic Parm (Kinda Hot)
  • Spicy Honey BBQ (Kinda Hot)
  • Buffalo (Kinda Hot)
  • Spicy Buffalo (Real Hot)
  • Spicy Ghost Pepper (Real Hot)

The “spicy” varieties use Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets, which have spicy breading, while the other varieties stick to the classic Crispy Chicken Nuggets. You can order Saucy Nuggs in 4-piece, 6-piece, 10-piece or 20-piece sizes, and each order of Saucy Nuggs includes your choice of ranch or blue cheese dipping sauce.

What are people saying about the Saucy Nuggs?

two flavors of Wendys Saucy Nuggs up close detail shot

Full disclosure: I’m a vegetarian, so I couldn’t try the Saucy Nuggs myself. Instead, I enlisted the chicken-nugget connoisseur in my life, my husband, to help out, and he made a pit stop at Wendy’s during a recent road trip. He took this research task very seriously and ordered 4-piece boxes of the Spicy Ghost Pepper, Garlic Parm, Honey BBQ and Buffalo Nuggs. He loves spicy food, so I wasn’t even remotely surprised when he said that Spicy Ghost Pepper was his favorite.

What did surprise me, though, was the difference he noticed between the Saucy Nuggs that use Crispy Chicken Nuggets and the ones that use Spicy Chicken Nuggets. The Saucy Nuggs that have Spicy Chicken Nuggets as the base are much crispier, even when drenched in sauce, than the classic Crispy Chicken Nuggets. That said, he did find all of them to be pretty tasty and said he would definitely order them again.

The internet tends to agree with my husband’s review: Saucy Nuggs are delicious! This TikTokker, who filmed herself enjoying Spicy Garlic Parm Nuggs, said it “might be the best Parmesan garlic sauce” she’s ever had. Another noted that the Honey BBQ sauce has “a very rich and classic honey barbecue flavor” and that the nuggets are crunchy and well coated in sauce.

How much do Saucy Nuggs cost?

Wendy’s prices vary by location, but at the restaurant in Southern California that my husband visited, prices started at $2.79 for a 4-piece size. The 6-piece, 10-piece and 20-piece sizes were $3.79, $6.19 and $10.99, respectively. You also had the option to turn your Saucy Nuggs into a combo with medium fries and a medium drink for an additional $4.80. (The famous Wendy’s baked potato isn’t included in the combo offer, FYI.)

How long will they be available?

Wendys Saucy Nuggs BBQ

There’s no telling how long Wendy’s Saucy Nuggs will be on the menu, so if you’re thinking of trying them, head to your nearest restaurant sooner rather than later. Wendy’s frequently offers limited-time menu additions but, of course, also adds new additions to its lineup, so only time will tell if Saucy Nuggs are here to stay.

What other chain just announced its own saucy nuggets?

Wendy’s has a little competition in the Saucy Nugg category! KFC also recently launched its own Saucy Nuggets, which come in five flavors: Honey Sriracha, Korean BBQ, Sticky Chicky Sweet ‘n Sour Sauce, Nashville Hot and Georgia Gold. Despite being known for fried chicken, KFC has only had chicken nuggets on its menu for a little over a year, and with its Saucy Nuggets, it has officially entered the chicken-nugget competition arena.

KFC’s Saucy Nuggets come in 8-piece, 10-piece and 12-piece sizes, and like Wendy’s offerings, they can be turned into a combo meal for an additional charge. While prices vary between KFC locations, a 10-piece order of Saucy Nuggets is currently priced at $5.99 nationwide, making it $0.20 cheaper than a 10-piece order of Wendy’s Saucy Nuggs.

Are Wendy’s or KFC’s saucy nuggets better?

Public opinion is split right down the middle (at least according to our very official Instagram and TikTok research). The most noteworthy difference between the two is the nugget itself. Wendy’s chicken nuggets are a traditional take on the classic finger food, while KFC’s are more like chicken bites, using whole chunks of white-meat chicken. Since we can’t give you a clear-cut answer, you’ll just have to go out and try them yourself!

Sources:

  • Wendy’s: “Saucy Nuggs”
  • Wendy’s: “Got Sauce? Wendy’s Launches Next-Level Saucy Nuggs Dripping in Flavor”
  • KFC: “KFC Takes Finger Lickin’ Good to a Whole New Level with New Saucy Nuggets in Five Dripping Flavors”

What did you think of Sharon, Great Britain’s longest-reigning monarch? Chances are, not much—you’ve probably never heard of her, even if you consider yourself a dedicated fan of the British royal family. And you might not be familiar with Danny Collins or Daphne Clark either. But we bet you’d recognize their faces instantly.

Like many other public figures, the royals use secret names and royal nicknames to mask their real identities. Read on to find out some of the most senior royals’ past and present code names. Spoiler: You might have guessed it by now, but Sharon was the late Queen Elizabeth II!

Get Reader’s Digest’s Read Up newsletter for more royal family insights, humor, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.

What are royal code names?

“Royal code names are used for security reasons,” explains Laura Windsor, a London-based expert on the British royal family. The tradition goes back decades, starting when switchboard operators had to manually connect the royal family’s private calls.

“These switchboard [operators] could hear in on every conversation, so royal code names were used to prevent them from finding out any important news before the royal family did themselves,” Windsor adds.

Today, switchboards are a thing of the past, but hackers pose a new security threat. As the royal expert notes, the code names, often “fictional or references to famous British landmarks,” remained in place for those on the royal family tree to confuse would-be hackers, though they also come in handy for travel planning. “Arrangements involving the royals take a long time to unfold, so using code names doesn’t arouse any suspicion,” Windsor says. “In a way, it’s like with actors: When they travel and stay at hotels, they also don’t give their real names.”

Queen Elizabeth II: London Bridge and Sharon

When Queen Elizabeth II died in 2022, the palace informed its inner circle and other important figures in the U.K., including the prime minister, that “London Bridge is down.” The royal code was a reference to Operation London Bridge, the plan for the monarch’s passing that had been in place since the 1960s, just a decade after Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. While it’s not clear how the royals came up with the term, Windsor assumes it might simply be “because of the bridge’s proximity to the palace, and also because ‘London Bridge is down’ is a nursery rhyme.”

News about Operation London Bridge broke a year before the queen’s passing, and thanks to the significance of both the security plan and her death, the code “London Bridge” is most closely tied to the monarch. But it’s not the only code name she used during her lifetime.

According to The Sun, Elizabeth’s security staff and inner circle referred to her as “Sharon” or “S,” while her late husband, Prince Philip, called her “Lilibet” and “cabbage” in private.

King Charles III: Menai Bridge and unicorn

While King Charles III is very much alive and well following his recent cancer treatment, he also has a royal code name assigned in the case of his death: Menai Bridge. Operation Menai Bridge—which the king’s death will trigger—is named after a suspension bridge in Wales (in fact, the first iron suspension bridge in the world) that spans the Menai Strait between the island of Anglesey and the mainland.

Menai Bridge seems like a great fit, given Charles’s close relationship with Wales, where he studied and frequently visited throughout his life. The name first came to light when Charles, then Prince of Wales, disappeared during an avalanche in the Swiss Alps in 1988, an event you’ll catch in the Netflix hit The Crown.

Windsor mentions another royal code name connected to Charles: When he was touring the United States in 1971, the Secret Service dubbed him “unicorn,” a nod to Scotland’s national animal.

King George VI: Hyde Park Corner

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King George VI, Elizabeth’s father, was reportedly the first senior royal to receive a code name prior to his death (in 1952): Hyde Park Corner. “Before George VI, there were no phones somebody could hack, so code names were not needed,” explains Windsor.

Hyde Park Corner is a major junction at the southeastern corner of London’s most famous park. Interestingly, it’s the only known code name for a senior royal’s passing that is not a bridge. “Maybe because it was the first time a code name was invented, there wasn’t yet a symbolic reference for crossing the bridge from life to heaven,” Windsor says.

Prince Philip: Forth Bridge

When Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, died in 2021 at age 99, Operation Forth Bridge came into effect.

Forth Bridge is an iconic steel railway bridge in Scotland, connecting county Fife and Edinburgh. The royal code name seems only fitting considering Prince Philip also held the title Duke of Edinburgh.

Princess Diana and the Queen Mother: Tay Bridge

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Plans for a royal’s death don’t always get a unique code name. According to British media reports, Princess Diana, who died in 1997 when she was just 36 years old, adopted hers—Tay Bridge—from the Queen Mother, who’d been assigned the code name more than a decade before Diana’s tragic accident. “Princess Diana died very suddenly,” explains Windsor. “She was so young that nobody thought she would be dying anytime soon, so she had not yet been given her own code name.”

The Queen Mother passed away five years after Diana at the age of 101. When she did, the crown initiated the code name a second time. Tay Bridge is a rail bridge in southwest Scotland, connecting the county Fife to the city of Dundee, and it’s one of the country’s most famous bridges.

Prince William and Princess Kate: Danny Collins and Daphne Clark

While the code names established in the case of Prince William’s or Princess Kate’s death—should they already exist—are unknown, their royal code names leaked to the press a few years ago. When they were still the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, they reportedly went by Danny Collins and Daphne Clark, the initials a reference to their royal titles.

Windsor says it’s likely that “their royal code names changed now that Kate and William are Prince and Princess of Wales, especially considering people found out about them.”

Fun fact: Kate once got away with simply introducing herself as “Mrs. Cambridge” when a Welsh store owner failed to recognize her and asked for her name.

Prince Harry and Meghan: David Stevens and Davina Scott

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Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, famously ditched the royal family for a new life in the United States, so nobody really knows what happened to their code names. “They’ve probably changed them or no longer even have code names,” says Windsor.

While the pair was still part of the firm, however, British media outlets such as the Independent suggested they went by David Stevens and Davina Scott, the initials referencing their titles as Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

About the expert

  • Laura Windsor is an expert on the royal family and the founder of the Laura Windsor Etiquette Academy in London. She received her etiquette training from a former member of the Royal Household of Her Majesty the Queen.

Why trust us

At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. We rely on reputable primary sources, including government and professional organizations and academic institutions, as well as our writers’ personal experiences where appropriate. For this piece on royal code names, Astrid Hofer tapped her experience as a London-based journalist with more than 20 years of experience covering topics including the British royal family. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing, and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.

Sources:

  • Laura Windsor, royal expert and founder of the Laura Windsor Etiquette Academy in London; interview, June 12, 2024
  • Independent: “Operation Forth Bridge: What do the code names for royal deaths mean?”
  • Independent: “What is Operation Menai Bridge?”
  • Metro: “The story behind Prince Philip’s adorable nickname for the Queen”
  • Metro: “Why is it called Operation Menai Bridge?”
  • Daily Beast: “Call Me Mrs. Cambridge, Says Kate”

The Tineco Floor One S7 Steam wet-dry vacuum changed my life. I’ve sworn by my Dyson V7 animal stick vacuum for years, but now I no longer need it. This Tineco model does the job of three cleaning tools in one product. It vacuums, mops and steams—all at once.

My prior cleaning regime involved first vacuuming with my Dyson vacuum and then making a second round with the Swiffer WetJet. It took double the time of one go-around with the Tineco Floor One S7 Steam.

What is the Tineco Floor One S7 Steam? 

The Tineco Floor One S7 Steam vacuums, mops and steams the floor simultaneously. This three-in-one vacuum is a major time saver, and it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver. I can achieve a deep clean in half the time!

In auto mode, it automatically detects the amount of grime on the floor and cleans accordingly. Two additional steam cleaning modes are available for heavier messes. And better yet, this vacuum cleans itself. 

I Tried It

Tineco Floor One S7 Steam Wet-Dry Vacuum

This three-in-one cleaning wizard vacuums, mops and steams simultaneously. It automatically detects the amount of grime on the floor and cleans accordingly.

Tineco Floor One S7 Steam features 

Tineco Floor One series models are smart and automatically detect how dirty the floor is. The vacuum then applies the appropriate amount of detergent, water, roller pressure and suction power for the perfect clean every time.

Hot steam melts away messes at 284 degrees Fahrenheit, accompanied by a roller that thoroughly cleans floors with water. There are three cleaning modes: auto mode for general cleaning, steam mode for stains and boost steam mode for heavy dirt. The max button activates the boost steam mode, which offers higher speed and a stronger spray for set-in stains and larger messes. Auto mode doesn’t use steam. After pressing the button to activate steam, the clock counts down while the unit heats up. You can visually see the steam rolling out the front of the vacuum head.

Brushes are continuously washed with Tineco’s MHCBSTM technology. Dirty water is recycled with an internal brush scraper that continually washes and rinses with fresh water at 450 revolutions per minute (RPMs). Depending on how dirty the floor is, the suction power ranges from 15 to 30 air watts. 

Tineco Floor One S7 Steam Wet Dry Vacuum LED Lights

The vacuum head’s light-emitting diode (LED) lights highlight dirt, illuminating the floor to ensure you don’t miss a spot. Dual-sided edge cleaning reaches baseboards and corners within 0.20 inches on both sides. Water from the vacuum dries quickly without streaks. And with its lithium-ion 25.2 volt (V) 4,000 milliampere-hour (mAh) battery, the Tineco Floor One S7 Steam runs for 30 to 40 minutes on a full charge, and the vacuum takes just 4.5 hours to charge fully. To complete the setup, a smart LED display shows the cleaning status.

The Tineco Floor One S7 Steam is cordless and lightweight at 21.4 pounds, making this vacuum-mop easy to transport and maneuver. It self-propels and glides on its own, and the clean water and dirty water tanks hold 0.8 liters. It’s designed for use on non-carpeted floors, like vinyl, tile and sealed wood. Keep in mind that the vacuum can’t be used for dry vacuuming, as it’ll damage the brush roller.

In self-cleaning mode, fresh water and heat deep-clean the brush roller and tubing. Centrifugal drying removes water to prevent decontamination. To activate the self-cleaning mode, place the vacuum on the charging dock. Empty the dirty water tank. The clean water tank should be one-third full. Press the self-cleaning button with the water droplet shape on the top of the handle to start self-cleaning. Once clean, the vacuum automatically powers off. This takes roughly two minutes.

While the Tineco Floor One S7 Steam flushes out its inner system with clean water and rinses its roller brush, there are a few minor manual steps in the clean-up process. Dump the water from the dirty water tank, and remove clumps of dirt and dust from the filter. But that’s it! It’s important to note that you must empty the dirty water tank and press the button for auto-clean mode immediately after each use. The machine will stink if you let it sit for a few days. I know this from experience because my boyfriend decided to do so.

As many smart products do, this intelligent wet-dry vacuum is accompanied by a Tineco app. The Floor One S7 connects to Wi-Fi, so you can update software and adjust cleaning settings. However, you can change settings on the vacuum and don’t need an app. It also provides detailed cleaning reports. Personally, I chose not to use the app.

To top it off, the Tineco Floor One S7 Steam produces 78 decibels (dBA) of sound and is fairly quiet for a vacuum. It also has a two-year warranty.

How I tested it

Tineco Floor One S7 Steam Wet Dry Vacuum Test

The Tineco Floor One S7 Steam arrived in one box with two parts. To assemble, I clicked the handle on the body—that’s it. The vacuum lives on a charging dock with additional sections to store filters and brush rollers. (Note that the dock has a 12-by-12-foot square of floor space and a 6-foot-long charging cord.) It should fit in most closets but may be worth measuring if you don’t want to display it in the open.

All I had to do was press the power button, and the wet-dry vacuum was ready for action. It self-propelled in auto mode and did all the work for me, automatically applying the proper amount of water and suction power. The cloud steam button on the central power button switches between steam and boost steam modes. Selections appeared on the screen, as it took a moment to heat up to 284 degrees Fahrenheit. I used the boost steam mode sparingly, as it drains the battery quickly. But the vacuum head’s LED lights highlighted dirt I didn’t even know existed.

I have a German shorthaired pointer who sheds a lot for a short-hair breed. The Tineco Floor One S7 Steam effectively sucked up dog hair, and I didn’t even find dog hair wrapped around the roller.

Tineco Floor One S7 Steam Wet Dry Vacuum Chocolate Stain

I went to my boyfriend’s house, where three men live, to test for the vac-mop against deep, set-in stains. I found a concerning, large stain under their trash can. Two swipes of the Tineco Floor One S7 Steam in boost steam mode, and the mark was gone! I also squirted chocolate syrup all over the floor, and it cleaned right up in two swipes in auto mode. Old stains vanished quickly from the kitchen floor in the steam mode and even faster in the boost steam mode. His floors dried quickly and without streaks.

Pros 

  • Three-in-one: vacuum, mop, steam clean
  • Smart technology analyzes how dirty the floor is
  • Applies the proper amount of detergent, water, roller pressure and suction power
  • Two steam modes at 284 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Self-cleans
  • LED lights illuminate grime
  • Self-propelled design
  • Floors dry fast
  • No cleaning solution needed
  • Operates quietly
  • Only takes 4.5 hours to fully charge

Cons 

  • Only runs for up to 40 minutes on a full charge, on auto mode
  • Boost steam mode drains battery quickly

FAQ 

Tineco Floor One S7 Steam Wet Dry Vacuum FAQ

How do I clean the Tineco Floor One S7 Steam?

After each use, activate the self-cleaning mode once the vacuum-mop is on the charging dock. Empty the dirty water tank and remove clumps of dirt and dust from the filter.

Is Tineco better than Dyson?

Personally, I prefer my Tineco One S7 Steam over my Dyson V7 vacuum. I like Tineco’s ability to steam, vacuum and mop simultaneously, as well as its smart dirt sensor for automatic suction power and water adjustment. Many people also debate Shark vs. Dyson.

Can I use Tineco S7 without water?

No, the vacuum-mop can’t be used for dry vacuuming, as it will damage the brush roller.

Are Tineco vacuums good?

Over the years, I’ve tested various vacuums from top brands, such as Dyson, Shark and Tineco. I used to praise my Dyson, but the Tineco One S7 Steam changed my life! I spend half the time cleaning now.

What other reviewers had to say

The recently released Tineco Floor One S7 Steam doesn’t have a whole lot of reviews (yet), but so far, people are enjoying the three-in-one model. Here’s what real-life shoppers are saying in their Tineco reviews:

“This vacuum-mop can cut through any mess and does so without any chemical solution. Just add water!” says Kimberly Prescott, a verified purchaser. “The combination of the brush and the powerful suction are on par with a professional cleaning company. It digs into my porous tile and pulls everything out.”

“I’m obsessed!! Instead of vacuuming multiple times a day, I just do it once with my Tineco,” shares Lolita, another verified buyer. “The steam mop helps keep it cleaner longer and reduces my time cleaning, especially when I have two little ones to look after and constantly making a mess, plus the two dogs. It’s the most satisfying cleaning experience, and best of all, I just need water, no extra soaps or cleaning agents. Definitely worth the splurge.”

Five-star reviewer, Mo, says his floors have never been this clean. “This thing is incredible! Those complaining about battery life don’t understand how energy-taxing igniting heating elements is. The fact that this thing can last 20 minutes while pumping extremely hot steam while on [the] battery is amazing. While on auto mode, it’ll go for 40 minutes easily. We’ve lived in our home for almost three years and, until now, have vacuumed our floors and used an O-Cedar mop and bucket post vacuum. It worked alright, but vacuuming and mopping took forever, and it seemed like we were just pushing the dirt around. Our floors haven’t been this clean ever, and it takes less than half the time to clean our floors, with much better results.”

Product comparison

Tineco has four models in the Floor One S7 series: Floor One S7 Steam ($650), Floor One S7 Flashdry ($769), Floor One S7 Pro ($800), Floor One Switch S7 ($900). Tineco Floor One S7 models have additional special features over Floor One models, including a balanced-pressure water flow system, smooth power bi-directional propulsion, dual-sided edge cleaning, a head-lit brush and an optimized iLoop smart sensor. Many Tineco models require a cleaning solution, and the One S7 Steam doesn’t. The Tineco Floor One S7 Steam sanitizes, steams and sucks all at once.

Final verdict

Tineco Floor One S7 Steam Wet Dry Vacuum Final Verdict

I don’t enjoy the process of cleaning, but I love the satisfying effect when everything is spotless. I look forward to vacuuming and mopping the floors with the Tineco Floor One S7 Steam. (My mom never thought that sentence would come out of my mouth!) Once I start, I can’t stop. Why own a vacuum cleaner, Swiffer and steam cleaner when you could simply own all three functions in one unit? Plus, this wet-dry vacuum cleans itself—my dream!

If you have a dog or tiny humans, you need the Tineco Floor One S7 Steam vacuum-mop in your arsenal of cleaning products.

Where to buy the Tineco Floor One S7 Steam 

I Tried It

Tineco Floor One S7 Steam Wet-Dry Vacuum

This vacuum-mop is a major time saver. It has two steam cleaning modes, is easy to maneuver and cleans itself.

The Tineco Floor One S7 Steam wet-dry vacuum is available on Tineco and Amazon for $650. It’s more affordable than the $799 S7 Pro, which doesn’t have the steam capability.

Pop quiz: How many times has someone tried to scam you today? Beyond the spammy emails and phone calls, take a look at your texts. Chances are, there are a few scam text messages mixed in—and you weren’t sure if some of them were legitimate messages or not. As we change the way we use technology (nope, not answering an actual call!), scam texts are becoming cybercriminals’ preferred mode of attack. In fact, spam texts now surpass spam calls in frequency, and since March 2024 alone, Americans received 19.2 billion of them, according to a study by SlickText. Even worse? The FTC reports that people lost $10 billion to these so-called smishing scams in 2023.

“Scam text messages often pretend to be reputable companies to steal your personal information,” says fraud expert Dawn Sarno, director of the AVANT Lab at Clemson University. “They will include real company logos, threaten you to respond within a deadline, scare you into thinking you will lose money or offer you things that are too good to be true.” Even as a longtime tech journalist who specializes in cybersecurity issues, I occasionally do a double-take when I get one of these messages.

So how can you stay safe from smishing attacks? By being aware of the telltale signs that a text isn’t what it seems. To help you figure out what’s real and what’s not, I spoke with Sarno and Rachel Tobac, a hacking expert and the CEO of SocialProof Security. Ahead, these digital privacy experts will identify 2024’s most common scam texts—and help you stay safe with a few essential tech tips.

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Bank text scam

Scam Text Messages Gettyimages 1

Issues with your bank account are a huge cause for concern—you need to be able to access your money and want to ensure it remains safe and secure. That’s why spam texts disguised as bank alerts were the most popular types of scam text messages in 2023, according to SlickText.

This type of scam involves impersonating your bank, leveraging its authority and creating a sense of urgency that your money or ability to access it is in trouble. Because it’s so high stakes, people are susceptible to clicking a link or calling a phony number without giving it a second thought. “These fear-based attacks are often successful because they mimic real scenarios we have to worry about on a daily basis,” Tobac tells Reader’s Digest. FYI, Wells Fargo text scams are particularly prevalent.

Pro tip

On their websites, banks including Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America state that they never ask for personal information such as your online banking password, pin or account information through a text, so you can rest assured that if you get a text like this, it is a scam. Contact the bank directly if you have any questions about your account.

USPS text message scam

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Text messages posing as alerts about your package delivery—often impersonating the USPS, UPS or FedEx—were another one of the most popular text scams last year. They also work similarly to bank scams, posing as an institution you trust (like the post office) and creating a sense of urgency that you need to address something important to you (an issue with a package). Some of these texts will alternatively say your package has been delivered, playing on your excitement to receive a package, or in the case you didn’t order anything, preying on your curiosity to know what it is.

“Cybercriminals pretend to be anyone that you’re likely to believe and take action on,” Tobac says. “If you’re used to seeing texts from delivery companies, coupons from meal-delivery services, etc., then the attacker will pretend to be from that group to trick you into clicking, divulging sensitive information, passwords, money and more.” If you don’t want to get hacked, don’t fall for it!

Free gift text scam

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Whereas bank and delivery scams often try to convince you there’s a problem you need to urgently address, free-gift scams are meant to entice you with the promise of something you’d want.

“Scammers will promise targets they’ll receive free prizes, coupons or gift cards if they click a link within a text message,” explains Sarno. “These are effective because potential victims are distracted by the promise of gaining something and ignore the important indicators that the message is a scam.”

This type of message was also hugely popular in 2023, accounting for 9% of all text scams, according to SlickText.

Overdue toll charge text scam

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This is a newer scam that’s been going around in 2024. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a consumer alert with the following straightforward warning: “That text about overdue toll charges is probably a scam.” According to Sarno, these emerging text message scams also often include warnings that you need to pay immediately to avoid a late fee. Like many other text message scams, it creates a sense of urgency to get you to act.

“The text message will include a link to have you fill out personal information like your bank account or credit card, license plate number, and name and address,” Sarno says. So pay attention to those sorts of scammer red flags.

Job offer text scam

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If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This age-old sentiment is important to keep in mind when looking out for any type of scam, and it’s part of the technique that makes the phony job offer text scam so effective. Last year, phony job offer messages accounted for 8% of all text scams, according to SlickText.

Often, these texts promise jobs with lucrative pay and flexibility, such as working on your own schedule from home. Other times, instead of a work-from-home scam, the job just sounds like a dream, offering you to get paid to shop or work with luxury merchandise. For those who are unemployed, having trouble finding work or simply unhappy at their current jobs, the promise of a fantastic opportunity may cause them to let their guard down and pursue the bogus opportunity.

Like other types of scam messages, the goal is often to get you to divulge personal information they can use to steal your identity. Scammers may also convince you to send payment for a computer and other equipment you’ll need for work, promising you’ll get reimbursed soon.

If you think the job might really be legit, do your research. “Look up the name of the company or the person who’s hiring you, plus the words ‘scam,’ ‘review’ or ‘complaint,'” the FTC says. But inputting any information over text is not advised.

Student loan forgiveness text scam

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Student loan forgiveness would be life-changing for many, so it’s no surprise scammers are dangling it in front of people to steal their information. Like the scams saying you’ve won an amazing prize or reward, it’s effective because people are so enticed by what the message promises that they ignore the red flags. Often, this type of scam text message also creates a sense of urgency, stating that enrollments are “first come, first served.”

“Hearing a lot about federal student loan forgiveness in the news? You’re not alone—scammers are too,” states an FTC consumer alert from April. The agency warns to not be fooled by official-looking government logos and to never share your FSA ID login information.

Amazon text scam

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Amazon is another trusted entity scammers often impersonate. Similar to other scam text messages, these messages usually say there’s been a security issue with your account. They might threaten that if you don’t secure your account within a certain time frame, your account will be deleted. Another approach is to frame the message similar to the real two-factor authentication messages Amazon will send when you log in.

“This is a successful tactic because most targets have an Amazon account and are worried about the security of their account,” Sarno says. “Often, these scams will have victims click on a link within the email to ‘secure’ their account.” Once you click the link, she explains, you will most likely be taken to a webpage that looks like Amazon to sign in. But in reality, it’s a fake webpage meant to trick you into divulging your account information.

In 2023, messages posing as Amazon accounted for 7% of all text message scams, according to SlickText.

Wrong number text scam

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Another category of spam text messages involves strangers who try to strike up a friendly conversation. Sometimes they address the text to another name, act as if they’ve gotten the wrong number and then transition into trying to get you to engage in a conversation. Other times, they act like they know you, preying on your curiosity of who this person is that you can’t seem to remember, in order to get you to chat. These conversations start off innocent, but over time, the scammer works to get you to divulge personal information or send them money.

As you may have guessed, this often leads to romance scams. “People fall for these scams because there is an epidemic of loneliness that has only increased since the pandemic—where many folks have found themselves isolated, without others to talk to and with the desire to forge real human connections,” Tobac explains. “Attackers start with an ‘oops wrong number’ text and then take their time telling their sob story, building rapport or building a romantic connection. Later down the line, they’ll then ask for money, sensitive personal details or photos to blackmail with.”

What to do if you receive a suspicious text

It’s important to be wary of any text that doesn’t come from a contact in your phone. Never click on a suspicious text, open any attachments or download any files, which could infect your phone with a virus. If you receive anything that looks suspicious, we have two words for you: delete and report. “If you think a text message is suspicious, report it right away,” Sarno says. “For instance, Apple has an option under text messages that you can report the message as junk.”

You can also report the message to the FTC or FCC. These government agencies have been increasingly cracking down on scam text messages, as well as scam calls and other types of fraud. “Reporting these messages is crucial for information-security professionals,” Sarno says. “It alerts them to new scams and allows them to block them in the future for other targets.”

Overall, remember this: If anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and if an official institution is telling you to “act immediately” via text, something is up. Instead of clicking that link, get in touch with any entity contacting you directly through their website, app or direct phone number—never through a link or contact information received in a text.

About the experts

  • Dawn Sarno is the director of the AVANT Lab at Clemson University and author of a recent research paper exploring people’s susceptibility to scam text messages and other types of fraud.
  • Rachel Tobac is the CEO of SocialProof Security. She works with consumers and businesses to educate them on social-engineering hacking techniques to help keep their data safe.

Why trust us

Reader’s Digest has published hundreds of articles on personal technology, arming readers with the knowledge to protect themselves against cybersecurity threats and internet scams as well as revealing the best tips, tricks and shortcuts for computers, cellphones, apps, texting, social media and more. For this piece on scam text messages, Sage Lazzaro tapped her experience as a tech journalist with nearly a decade of experience. Then Chuck Brooks, the president of Brooks Consulting International and a consultant with more than 25 years of experience in cybersecurity, emerging technologies and other tech topics, gave it a rigorous review to ensure that all information is accurate and offers the best possible advice to readers. We rely on credentialed experts with personal experience and know-how as well as primary sources including tech companies, professional organizations and academic institutions. We verify all facts and data and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.

Sources: