Holdups at the TSA checkpoint can slow you down and damper your mood, turning your carefully planned trip into a hurried calamity! Experienced travelers know the basics – wear shoes that are easy to get on/off, keep your jewelry accessories to a minimum, etc., but we all have room to add efficiency to our travel routine. Here are a few tips you to keep in mind:
Plan Ahead – This one’s not exactly a secret, but like my high school guidance counselor said, failing to plan is planning to fail. Think through the screening process as you’re packing your carry-on bags. Keep your ID and boarding pass in the same pocket so you can get them both out quickly. Pack your laptop carefully in a place where it’s easy to access without unpacking multiple items. Make sure there’s nothing in your bag that won’t pass through inspection. That one should be obvious, but the gallery of confiscated items on @TSA’s hilarious Instagram shows plenty of people didn’t get the memo.
Bring a Jacket – Jackets are an easy travel hack; even on warm travel days, consider a light one. The right jacket will have plenty of pockets you need to keep things handy and secure, meaning less worry about loose items in the tray and a much lower risk of leaving something valuable behind.
Pick the Right Line – Take a moment to look at who will be in front of you, rather than just picking the shortest line. You wouldn’t get in a grocery check-out lane behind one person with an overflowing cart when the next line over has a handful of people with just a few items, so don’t make the same mistake at the airport. Be on the lookout for disorganized people and families traveling with children. Inexperienced and inefficient travelers are easy to spot; anyone who doesn’t look calm, collected and like they’ve done this dozens of times may be on the verge of slowing you down.
Consider Pre-Screening Options – TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are great options for frequent travelers. Even if you only have a few flights coming up, it may be well worth the $85 (PreCheck) or $100 (Global Entry) fee and brief interview – both clearances are valid for five years. This is a great way to skip the hassle of removing your shoes and taking permitted liquids out of your bag. Plus, the pre-check line is most likely to include only experienced, frequent travelers like you, who are just as prepared to breeze through the checkpoint quickly and efficiently.