The holidays are here and that means more travelers hitting the airport to visit friends, families or possibly just take advantage of a rockin’ travel deal. There’s no doubt that the airport will be crowded with travelers and lovely people picking up and saying goodbye, but the busiest place won’t be the stores or eateries, or even the waiting room, but the security line. No one likes to wait in it and everyone thinks it’s a hassle, even though it’s kind of exciting, because you’re going somewhere, hopefully, fun. While your airport might be more organized than some others out there, they still need you to do your part in making security an easier process for everyone. Here are some tips to help you get through security quickly and easily, even if they pull you aside and dig through your bag.
Have your photo ID and boarding pass in-hand – You can’t even get to the security conveyor belts and scanners if you don’t make it past the TSA agent in the line. Make sure to be prepared and keep the line moving, by having your photo ID (or passport) and boarding pass at the ready. Nobody wants to wait for you to dig around in your bag to find it and you will just make enemies of those people in line behind you.
Have your 3-1-1 bag out – Don’t wait until you get to the airport to start rummaging around in your toiletry bag and finding all your liquids and gels. Buy a TSA-approved 3-1-1 bag online or at the store or pick up a box of 1-liter zip-top bags and fill it up before you leave home. It will make you less stressed and you’ll know that everything fits in there.
Wear easy-on, easy-off shoes – Do you want to spend 20 minutes untying your hiking books to take off and put in the security bin? Probably not. Also, the people behind you do not want to wait for you either. Make sure you wear shoes that can easily be taken off and put back on, so you can make security procedures that much less painful for you and everyone else involved.
Do not wrap your gifts – TSA is all about seeing everything in your bag. Even if you only have one gift in your bag, don’t wrap it. 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. By all means, bring those staples with you to wrap at your destination if you have room in your bag.
tip: Flat sheets fit easily in that front pocket of your bag, but you can always pre-cut your sheets from a big roll, write the name of the recipient on the back and then roll them up and slip them in one of those small tube mailers so they don't get munched. Look for those flat bows that you pull on and they fluff up like nobody's business. I love these, because they never get squashed in my bow box and when employed, they are awesome looking.
Make sure your laptop is easily accessible – If you’re bringing a laptop, netbook or iPad, make sure you can quickly access it and slide it in and out of your carry-on. It will make the security line that much faster when you have to dump all your individual things into a bin: shoes, jacket, purse, pocket contents, laptop, 3-1-1 bag. The quicker these things can be put into a bin, the faster you can push them towards the X-Ray machine and make room for other travelers’ items and bins on the counter.
tip: Usually, the left-hand security lines go faster, so jump in one of those if possible, since most people tend to stray to the right.
Now, look at your being less stressed while everyone else looks like they want to pull their hair out in the security line.
Where are you traveling this holiday season?