Traveling through the airport security line can be a very stressful experience – especially for inexperienced travelers. The lines are long, and the process can seem very tedious and confusing.
After all, let’s be honest. No one wants to be that person who holds up the line because they don’t know what to do.
But I’m here to help make it a little smoother (and less embarrassing) for you!
Here are 5 Stress-Free Ways To Clear Airport Security Faster (And Without Losing Your Mind):
1. Sign up for TSA Pre-Check
With TSA Pre-Check, you can skip the long airport security line and beat much of the wait. You’ll usually only be in line with other Pre-Check members, resulting in a much (usually) shorter security line.
And there are other benefits of TSA Pre-Check! You don’t have to take off your shoes, belt, coat, check your laptop, or remove the liquids from your luggage, resulting in a faster overall procedure.
Once you’re a Pre-Check traveler, your Known Traveler Number (KTN) will be automatically entered on to the boarding pass when flying with any airline serving America’s airports!
As of the time of this article, more than 200 airlines and 56 airports participate in this program, so it’s highly likely that your preferred airports and airlines do. The cost? Approximately $85 for a five year membership.
2. Review the Rules of Airport Security Before Traveling – They’re Always Changing!
It’s always wise to update yourself on TSA’s policy for what is and is not allowed through security, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve traveled.
The rules are always changing – what was allowed last year might not be this year.
As of the time of this article, you’re allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. You’ll pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters into your checked baggage.
When going through security, you’ll have to place the liquid bagged items into a tray that goes through the screening process.
They do allow an exemption for medicines that are necessary to take with you in your carry-on. If you are bringing liquids, gels or aerosol medication that exceeds 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters), you’ll have to declare them at the checkpoint for inspection by a TSA officer prior to going through security. It helps if the medication is clearly labeled and in the original container whenever possible. You’ll also need to declare any associated accessories needed (such as ice packs, IV bags, etc.) before you begin the process.
The TSA will also allow a small amount of baby formula and breast milk through the checkpoint if you are traveling with an infant or small child. These items will also need to be screened separately, so make sure to gather them in one spot while prepping for your security screening.
Adults over 13 will also have to remove your coats, shoes, belt, laptops & other electronics and place them into trays. You’ll also have to empty your pockets when you walk through screening if you fall into that category. There are some modified screening processes for children under 12 and seniors over 65.
And a quick parenting tip – make sure your stroller is empty and is folded up ahead of time, you’ll have to put it on the conveyor belt, too! Infants will need to be carried through the x-ray, but toddlers will need to walk with or without assistance through the screening in most cases.
(This information is not comprehensive, so double-check the TSA website before you travel- just to be sure you’re up to date on the latest procedures.)
3. Dress for “Ease” and Be Prepared for A Random Pat-Down
If you want to get through security easily, this isn’t the time to don large, chunky jewelry, multiple layers of bulky or difficult-to-remove clothing.
TSA may need to do a pat-down if you’re wearing loose fitting clothes or if they cannot get a clear image of what’s underneath your clothing with the x-ray machine.
So if you want to avoid a pat-down, try to wear form-fitting or close-to-the-body clothing, and avoid heavy layers.
If you are selected for a pat-down, the TSA officer will use the back of their hands to pat down your front side and will use their fingertips to pat down from your mid-thigh to your ankle. (You can request a private screening if you’d like – just let the officer know.)
Don’t worry – just because you’re selected for a pat-down doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Stay calm and follow the directions of the TSA officer and you’ll be fine. They’re just doing their job.
Long story short, wear simple attire.
4. Keep Your Id and Boarding Pass Easily Accessible
The TSA officer will need to see your identification and boarding pass as you enter security, so having them easily accessible will help things go more quickly.
If you’re traveling with a group, most officers require each individual to be holding their own documents. Therefore, distribute the passports and boarding passes amongst your group so that everyone has what they need ahead of time.
No one wants to be the person in line who is fumbling through their carry-on bag or wallet trying to find their ID, right?
5. Download the MyTSA App
This app is a must-have for anyone who travels frequently. The MyTSA app provides real-time updates on security wait times, so you can plan accordingly.
But that’s not all it helps with!
It also has a “Can I Bring?” feature where you can type in an item and it will tell you if you’re allowed to bring it through security.
You can also sign up for push notifications so you always know what’s going on with security at your particular airport.
This app is a great alternative to sprinting through the airport because you didn’t get there in time to clear security!
By following these tips for clearing airport security, you can help make the screening process a little bit easier – and a lot less stressful.
And if you love the idea of “stress-free travel”, we’d love to help you plan your next stress-free vacation! Just click the button below to send me an email here at Love of The Magic Vacations or call to chat – we’re here to help.
And in the meantime, happy travels!