We all know the difficulties of maneuvering the security zones at airports nowadays. You feel you’ve timed the trip just right only to be thwarted by the long lines of clueless travelers that are most certainly the opposite of prepared. But it’s difficult not to feel just as clueless as the next guy when our friends at the TSA are constantly altering the rules. It seems all but the most frequent of travelers tend to find themselves reading (and re-reading) the regulations the night before a flight.
Questions abound. Will the x-ray’s harm my camera? What about my laptop? Should I wear these knee-high lace-up boots? And perhaps, most importantly, what do I do with this bottle of water I just bought? Lucky for you, we have some packing tips to get you through security quickly and with some semblance of sanity remaining when you reach the gate.
Don’t Over Pack
With most items under some element of scrutiny and checked baggage becoming pricier per pound, be sure to pack only what you need. Not only will this clear clutter for your own sake, neatly packed layers allow items to be seen more clearly during scanning. A jumble of clothes and innocent items can be easily mistaken for contraband.
Tote Your Technology
Pack your digital cameras, computers and i-everything in your carry-on rather than checked baggage and pack it on top. You will need to take these out for screening, so keep e-items accessible. If you’re still lugging around undeveloped film, be sure to let security workers in on the secret to prevent exposure during the x-ray process.
The TSA’s standing on liquids has been as fluid as your Ziploc bag’s contents. Currently, the ruling is a catchy “3-1-1.” One plastic bag that is one quart in size containing only 3.4 oz size containers of liquids or gels. Products such as lotion, hairspray, and liquid makeup are all included in the rule. Luckily the beauty product industry is hip to the rule and now sells most products in true travel sizes of 3.4 ounces or less. Certain items, such as medications or baby formula aren’t subject to the size rule, but be prepared to declare them. For all liquids, ensconced in clear plastic or not, keep them handy so they can be sent through the screener with the rest of your items.
Dress to Impress
The security team that is. After all that careful packing, be sure to wear clothing that will cause the fewest snags as you snail through the line. Rather than donning that pull-over sweater, opt for a cardigan that can easily be removed. Tuck metal items into coat or sweater pockets so when it comes off, they come off. Please wear shoes without laces. No one wants to wait for the time it takes to untie and then retie a pair of shoes, least of all you. Pick a pair of boots that zip, or better yet, slip-ons. They’re the simplest option and offer the added bonus of allowing you to slide them off and settle in on long flights.
Hopefully, with a bit of preparation and some forward thinking, the security area of your home airport won’t be the most exhausting part of your trip. Unfortunately, however, you will have to toss that bottle of water.
This article was contributed by Kyle Telenko, a writer for a website providing homeowners insurance quotes, homeownersinsurance-qutoes.org. Kyle primarily writes about home and travel insurance, but also writes about home maintenance tips and travel safety.