Have you ever watched a frequent business traveler go through airport security? They’re pros — by the time they get to the front of the line, they have everything ready to drop in the bins. If you've ever wanted to know travel tips from these pros, read on. The trick to this strategy is great packing and preparation. To start, be prepared for the security requirements. While you’re waiting in line, take off your jacket, hat, and belt, and be ready to put them in the bins. Empty your pockets completely — even a crumpled-up tissue can get you flagged for a pat-down. If you’re wearing large jewelry, such as a statement necklace or oversized earrings, it’s a good idea to take it off, as well. Unless you have Pre-Check, you’ll also need to take off your shoes. Among the most useful travel tips? Make it easier by wearing shoes that slip on and off quickly. If that’s not possible, untie your shoes or untie your boots while you wait. That way, you don’t have to stand around in your socks on the dirty airport floor, and you can get your footwear in the bin in seconds when it’s time.
How to Pack Your Carry On so It’s Security-Friendly
The way you pack your carry-on luggage also has a big impact in how fast you get through security at the airport. A thoughtfully packed bag makes it easy to stick to the security rules — that way, you’re never the one who’s holding up the line!
At airport security, agents require you to take out any electronics bigger than a cell phone, including laptops and tablets. Instead of digging around a messy backpack or rifling through your suitcase to find a tablet, keep your electronics handy. Invest in luggage that has a separate laptop and tablet compartment — that way, you can simply slip them out without spilling the rest of your belongings. If you’re packing in a suitcase, leave your electronic devices on top so you can get to them easily. After security, you can stow them wherever you like.
Travel Tips for Packing Cosmetics and Toiletries
Because so many cosmetic and toiletry products are liquids, creams, gels, and aerosols, the agents pay close attention to them. What does that mean for you? Your makeup bag is probably going to get examined closely by an agent, either in person or through the X-ray machine.
The best thing you can do to get through security faster is to organize your makeup and personal-care supplies carefully. Put any liquids, gels, creams, pastes, and aerosols into your quart-sized bag before you arrive at the airport. Make sure every container is under the 3.4-ounce limit. If you have powder foundations or loose dry-shampoo powder, make sure they’re less than 12 ounces to avoid extra screening.
What about the rest of your supplies? Instead of leaving them loose in your luggage, make security agents' jobs easier by keeping them organized. That way, the agent doesn’t have to dig through your luggage to identify a stray tube of lipstick. A dopp kit like the Vetelli Paolo can help — it has clear pockets, so agents can identify everything clearly. Plus, since it’s small and light, this upscale dopp kit slips easily into your carry on. If you want to make packing easier, subscribe to our list to secure the new Paolo dopp kit — there are only 100 available at a special price of 50% off.
Keep Belongings Organized
Organization is key for the rest of your bag, too. When things are neat and orderly, agents can identify everything using the X-ray machine. When they’re all jumbled up, the process takes longer.
To start, make the most of the pockets in your luggage. Put your shoes in the built-in pouches, for example, and store accessories in the mesh pockets. Instead of tossing in clothes randomly, fold or roll them and stack them neatly. Layers are easy for agents to analyze. Keep your dopp kit near the top so you can pull it out if necessary.
Another of our favorite travel tips is to use packing cubes. These small fabric cubes have zipper tops, so you can keep your belongings separate. Keep in mind that in some airports, agents may need to look through your packing cubes.
Not sure if the airport security will allow something on the plane? It’s almost always better to put it in your checked baggage or leave it at home. Sure, an agent might not notice a 4-ounce bottle of expensive eye cream — but if they do, you’ll be forced to take it out of your dopp kit and dispose of it before you can get through to the gate.
Other Travel Tips for Getting Through Airport Security Faster
In some cases, the lines at airport security are what prevent you from getting though quickly. There’s not much you can do to stop these lines, but you do have a a few options to get to the gate faster. They’ll cost you — but if you’re a frequent traveler, the extra money might be well worth it.
One of the easiest ways to speed up your progress through airport security is to sign up for the TSA Pre-Check program. You’ve probably seen the signs at the airport — usually, which much shorter, faster lines. When you sign up, the agency looks at your background and verifies that you’re a low-risk traveler. The application requires an in-person background check. This program costs $85 and is good for five years. WithPre-Check, you can go right to a special security line. When you go through, you don’t need to take off your shoes, jacket, belt, or jacket. Plus, you can leave your liquids and electronics in your bag. This program is avoid at more than 200 airports in the U.S.; check the Pre-Check website to see if your favorite airports are on the list.
CLEAR is a program that uses biometrics to verify your identity at airport security. Instead of waiting in line before security to have an agent check your travel boarding pass and ID, you simply go to a CLEAR station. It uses an eye scanner and fingerprint sensor to verify that you’re you, so you can pass through to security faster. Combined with Pre-Check, CLEAR can lead to a big time-savings at the airport.
The catch? CLEAR is only available at a limited number of airports. It’s also relatively expensive, coming in at $15 per month — that fee is billed annually, though, so you can expect to part with a significant amount of cash up front. If you travel frequently, though, it may be worth it.
Travel can be stressful, but getting through airport security doesn't have to be. When you're up to date on the TSA's rules, it's easier to pack travel bags that are compliant. That way, you can buzz through security and get to your destination faster.
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