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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Be an Airport Security Pro 12.17.11

Don't forget to enter the holiday giveaway! You have until Sunday to get your name in to 
                                                         win fabulous (travel) prizes!



Pretty much everyone hates airport security and those that don’t hate it are like me and tolerate it, because if you don’t go through it, you don’t get to go anywhere fun. I don’t mind a few minutes of inconvenience for a week of adventure, so I don’t complain about it. It forces me to pack less and be more creative with what I bring and wear and has helped me find some nifty travel gadgets along the way. Unless you are a road-trip-only kind of person, you endure the airport security line like the rest of us. Want to be a pro and whiz through as quickly as possible? Here are some tips, and possibly you can set an example for those in line around you…or else you can make some copies of this post and hand them out to the clueless you see! (I also have plenty of STC postcards if you would like to hand some out for me…) 


Keep your ID and boarding pass handy - Nobody likes waiting in line, but having to wait for someone to dig around in their bag for things they know they need is like when you're stuck behind the person in the checkout line that waits until the checker rings up everything and tells them the price before pulling out their checkbook. You know what I'm talking about. Don't be a check-writer. Have your ID or passport and boarding pass in your hand by the time you get to the TSA agent letting you into the lines for security screening. 

Bag your liquids - The 3-1-1 bag can be a pain and sometimes hard to pack, but don't make it harder by not packing it ahead of time like some people. It has been a rule for years, so when you either don't pack your gels and liquids in one before you get to the airport and are trying to hunt and gather for them in your carry-on while in line, it just makes people angry that they are behind you. You can buy quart-size zip-top bags at the grocery store and discount stores, like Target. Pull together all your toiletries and pack your 3-1-1 before you leave home. You'll save time, make friends and make sure that everything you want to take fits inside it. It's good to also place it near the top of your carry-on, so you can easily pull it out and throw it in a bin.


Wear some shoes you can slip on or off - Every airport you go to will make you take your shoes off to go through security. Why not make it painless for you and everyone behind you by wearing shoes that don't take forever to get off or on. Leave your combat boots at home and opt for more reasonable options, like loafers or sneakers. Heck, wear your stilettos if you must be glam, as they will take seconds to remove and put back on. Other travelers will thank you when you can grab all your stuff from the other side of the conveyor and get out of the way for them.

Keep your gifts unwrapped - As much as you'll want to wrap any gifts you're bringing before you leave home, resist the urge, because TSA doesn't like them. While they can x-ray your box, wrapped gifts are still suspicious, so you will have spent all that time and energy making it look pretty and then getting it into your bag, only to have an agent rip your paper to shreds to find out what you packed. Bring small gifts that can be packed without boxes and wrapping paper. You can always bring those staples with your and wrap them at your destination.


Make your laptop easily accessible - Yes, yes, you have all that other stuff you need to have in-hand and now I'm adding another. It's one more thing that will need to go in the bin, next to your shoes, 3-1-1, jacket and contents of your pockets. If you're bringing your laptop, netbook or iPad, make sure you can quickly slide it in and out of your carry-on. The faster you can get all your belongings into a bin, the sooner you can push them towards the conveyor belt and the X-Ray machine, making room for other travelers' belongings and causing everyone around you to be happy that you're helping to move the line along as best as possible, so they can get to their designated gate with minimal hurdles. 


Do you have other tips for surviving the airport security line during the holidays? 
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