With more than 2 million travelers going through U.S. airports every day, long lines are a given. Especially those for security. But don’t think worst-case scenarios. Follow these tips and you’re bound to sail through with enough time to refill your water bottle and grab some snacks before your boarding call.
Check-In the Day Before
By checking into your flight 24 hours ahead of time, you can pay for your checked luggage online, skip the airline kiosks when you arrive, and head straight to the separate, and normally shorter, line to quickly check your luggage. Once you’re done, you’ll have your boarding pass in hand and can stride to the security checkpoint.
Stick to the Limit
Leave your Costco-sized shampoo and conditioner bottles at home or put them in a checked luggage bag. All liquids in your carry-on can be no more than 3.4 ounces. That includes gels, creams, and pastes. Buy travel-sized toiletries and place them all into a clear quart-sized bag. Keep your resealable bag in an outer pocket so you can easily whip it out at checkpoint security. If you are checking a bag, make sure you adhere to the size and weight limits for your carrier. They vary and you don’t want to get stuck paying a fee!
Dress for Travel
Focus on dressing comfortably for the airport with easy-to-remove outerwear, belts, and shoes. Skip the laces and opt for sandals or slip-on shoes instead. Avoid watches, belts, and other items with metal buckles or buttons. If you’re running late, you don’t want to get pulled aside for additional screening or waste time fiddling with complicated clothing, shoes, or accessories!
Have Documents Handy
The hustle and bustle of airports can get you rattled and result in losing sight of important documents. Make it a habit to store your boarding ticket, ID, and passport in the same place every time – preferably an easily accessible but secure waist pouch. Depending on where you’re traveling to and for how long, you may also need a visa and immunization records. Do the research.
Gather Your Gadgets
Avoid overstuffing your carry-on bag because laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, cell phones, and other electronics need to be x-rayed separately from the rest of your belongings. The lighter you pack, the less you have to keep track of, and the quicker you’ll be on your journey.