Tips From The TSA To Make Your Holiday Travel Plans Run Smoothly

Passengers with luggage waiting in line at airport

Photo: izusek / E+ / Getty Images

Our destinations this holiday season , as usual, take us across town and across the state. No major vacay plans this Christmas. But if we were joining the masses in really taking significant trips these tips would really help. - Matt Appleby

Wherever your holiday travels take you, if you’re flying to your destination, be prepared for a bustling airport. The Transportation Security Administration is expecting airport security checkpoints to be even busier during this year’s winter holiday travel season than last year’s. The official end of the year holiday travel period kicks off tomorrow (Thursday, December 21st) and continues through Tuesday, January 2nd.

The busiest days are expected to be tomorrow, December 29th and January 1st, when the TSA will screen more than 2.5-million passengers a day. If you’re going to be one of them, the TSA shares these tips to make getting through airport security easier and less stressful.

  • Pack smart by starting with an empty bag - That way you’re less likely to have a prohibited item in your bag that you forgot about, like a firearm, explosives, fireworks, knives or razors.
  • Arrive early - The airport will definitely be busy, so get there two hours before your flight is scheduled to depart, giving yourself plenty of time to get through security.
  • Bring an acceptable ID - And have it out in the screening lane so you don’t have to dig it out.
  • Leave gifts unwrapped - If you’re traveling with presents, the TSA recommends having them unwrapped or in gift bags so they can be inspected if required. You can also put wrapped presents in your checked bag.
  • Prepare, pack and declare firearms - You can travel with guns, but they need to be unloaded and properly packed in a hard-sided, locked case and put in checked baggage. You’ll also need to declare the firearm with the airline at the ticket counter.
  • To find out if an item is prohibited - Check the TSA website under "What Can I Bring?" or text @AskTSA.
  • If traveling with food - “If you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, then it is subjected to the 3.4-ounce liquids rule limitation,” the TSA explains. So pack that wine and maple syrup in your checked bag, don’t carry it on. As for solid foods, like cakes or other baked goods, those can go through the TSA checkpoint and are subject to screening.

Source: Transportation Security Administration

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