Nobody likes the security process at the airport. However, it doesn’t have to be so bad! There are many ways to get through security faster and lessen your chances of a pat-down. You can speed up the process and make your trip more enjoyable if you follow these five tips.
1 TSA Pre-Check
The Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck Program allows travelers to zip through security without long lines. If you apply for the precheck program, you will have to fill out information on the TSA Precheck website and pay $85. If you are eligible, you’ll be able to cross through security with your shoes on and your laptop in your bag. The pass lasts five years before you’ll need to renew.
2 Dress for Success
Don’t be that guy who slows down the entire line with a stubborn belt that just won’t come off. When you’re heading to the airport, avoid wearing a belt or anything metal. Choose shoes that slip on comfortably, and wear socks to avoid the “yuck factor” of walking on the floor with bare feet. Be sure to empty your pockets—you can get a pat-down for snack wrappers or too much bling on your clothes! If you’re taking a jacket, stow it in your bag or take it off ahead of time. Put everything else—keys, phone, and wallet—in your carry-on bag.
3 Check Your Luggage
The surest thing to slow you down is prohibited items in your luggage. Pop cans, perfume, and scissors do not belong in carry-on bags! As you’re packing, watch what goes into your bag. Always start packing your carry-on from scratch so your grandpa’s pocket knife doesn’t stow away and get confiscated. Be sure all your liquids are in approved-size bottles and individual plastic bags. Also, be sure that your innocuous items aren’t on the banned list. I found out the hard way that peanut butter is considered a gel—so much for my lunch. I bet they confiscated someone’s crackers next.
4 Prepare Your Papers
Avoid fumbling around and slowing yourself down. Before you head to security, make sure you have your ticket, passport, and ID out and ready. When you get there, you can show to the agent and slide through with no delay. When you’re done with your documents, slide them into your bag or place them in a bin with your shoes.
5 Be Organized
Of course, none of this can happen if you’re not organized! A quick trip through security starts with careful packing and good planning. It’s better to spend an extra ten minutes preparing than to spend as much or more time in security, being stressed and rushed. Pack the day before your trip, and lay out your travel clothes ahead of time. Apply for TSA precheck plenty of time before your flight, if you choose to go that route. Before you go to the airport, check in online and print your tickets. Arrive early to beat the crowds at security.
If you follow these tips, you’ll find that your time at the airport will be much more relaxed and enjoyable! You can’t bypass security lines altogether, but you can certainly cut down on the time you spend in them. Have a safe and relaxed trip!