No one likes when airport security slows them down on their way to see the world. But while we travelers don’t have the power to shorten long lines, there are definitely a few small things we can do to make the experience a whole lot easier.
Skip the tricky clothing
Wearing easy-to-remove clothing is crucial for breezing through security. Shoes should be easy to slip-off and put back on without requiring you to sit down (we’ve all done the partially-shod limp to the closest bench while precariously clutching our carry-on, jacket, belt, etc. Let’s not do that anymore). No lace-up shoes or tight boots. Wearing layers is always advisable to combat temperature changes when traveling, but make sure any bulky over-layers are easy to remove and put back on. Avoid wearing a belt, scarf or jewelry at this point in your trip—you can always put accessories on when you arrive to your destination.
Know what you’ll need to remove from your bag—and pack accordingly
Keep up-to-date with what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires you to take out of your luggage and place in a separate bin, such as electronic devices and all liquid items, and make sure these items are easily accessible. Keep your plastic bag full of liquids at the top of your suitcase so minimal zipping and un-zipping is required to remove it. Make sure your laptop is easy to remove by keeping it in an outside or easy-to-reach pocket.
Check permitted carry-on items
Be sure to read the TSA’s most recent list of items that are prohibited in your carry-on, as detection of any of these items will lead to a full-bag inspection and eat up some serious time. Some items on the list are obvious no-nos, but some may catch you off-guard—snow globes and screwdrivers are okay, ski poles and spray paint are not. Beverages won’t make it through the checkpoint, so pack an empty water bottle and fill it up at a water fountain near your gate if you want to avoid buying pricey bottled water in the terminal.
Have your boarding pass and ID accessible
Slip your travel documents into an easy-to-reach pocket. A zippered compartment on the outside of your bag or a pocket inside your jacket are great options, just be sure your chosen place is secure. Besides easy passage through security, it’s great to designate a place for your documents for your own peace of mind—always put them in the same place and you’ll never be wondering if you dropped them, left them at home or just aren’t looking in the right pocket.
Scope out the lines
It might seem that the shortest security line will be the fastest moving, but that isn’t always true. Take a second to size up who’s in each line before choosing your course. Suit-clad solo travelers may travel frequently for work and can be more efficient with the security process, whereas families with small children will take longer to move through. Also, people tend to pick the closest, middle lines after having their boarding passes checked. Instead of following the pack, look for the outside lines or lines that have just recently opened.
Do you have any tips for hassle-free travel? Tell us in the comments!