10 Tips to Breeze Through Airport Security

on plane resized1

A version of this post was originally published on The Trend Tribe, May 8, 2012.

You’ve arrived at the airport, checked in and are giddy with excitement about your trip. You find yourself practically skipping with joy. Sun, sand, spa, cocktails, here I come! Nothing in the world could possibly damper your happiness, nothing at all. Then you see it. The dreaded sign that casts a dark cloud over your sunshine, SECURITY CHECK. Your big smile quickly turns into a frown as your eyes follow the long line around the corner. Talk about a buzz kill.

Dealing with airport security is never a fun thing but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom either. The fact of the matter is that it’s simply part of air travel these days. It definitely isn’t my favorite part of traveling but instead of dreading it I’ve come up with some ways to make it less painful and maybe even speed up the process.

1. Dress for plane travel. Of course comfort is key if you’ll be spending a decent amount of time on the big bird. What’s also important is to remember you will most likely be removing your shoes, belts, sweaters, jackets, heavy jewelery, hats and more when you go through security. Yes I know we’re all asking ourselves why don’t we just completely strip down?! Do yourself a favor and wear slip on shoes, minimize the bling and simplify your outfit so things are easy to get on and off.

2. Organized carry-on luggage. No need to add to your stress levels during the security process panicking because you can’t remember whether or not you have a bottle of water rolling around at the bottom of your bag. Having an organized carry-on bag will make your life easier going through security and also if you’re one of the lucky ones chosen for the random bag search.

3. Have your passport/ID and boarding pass in hand. Don’t even think about putting these precious documents away until you clear security.

passport photo

4. Have your electronics easily accessible. Make sure you can easily grab your laptop and/or iPad out of your bag. Be prepared and get them out while you’re waiting so you’re not fumbling around at the last minute. Ask if you need to remove your iPad/tablet from your bag. I’ve noticed this varies country by country.

5. Prepare a 1-quart sized, clear, plastic zip-top bag of liquids before you leave home. They do have small bags at security but you don’t want to be “that person” holding up the line because you didn’t think of it in advance. Make sure you know and follow the guidelines for liquids for your particular flight. I even have this handy dandy bag made just for this purpose available on Ciao Bella Travel.

ciao bella bag

6. Know what food and gifts you can’t bring on board. This will also vary by destination so be sure you’re aware or the hours you spent picking out those yummy treats for Mom, Dad, Uncle Bob, Aunt Flo and cousin Joe will have been wasted.

7. All children’s items must go through the x-ray machine.  Make sure your little ones know they will have to part with their Mr. Teddy Bear for 5 minutes while he takes a trip through security.

8. Be responsible only for your belongings. I’m all for helping people out but if the person behind asks if you can keep an eye on their bag for a minute in the security line because they think they dropped their boarding pass earlier I’d advise you to politely decline. You don’t want to run the risk.

9. Find the business travelers. Get behind them in line. Think of them as pros when it comes to air travel. They are very organized and move swiftly like ninjas, exactly what you want in this situation. I always do this myself and it has yet to fail me.

keep calm & travel on

10. Remember the three Ps! Be Prepared, Patient and Polite. Being impatient and frustrated won’t make the process go any faster and it surely won’t do your blood pressure any favors. This isn’t the time to complain to the security officer rummaging through your carry-on. In fact I can almost guarantee they move slower if a traveler has an attitude so I wouldn’t play that game.

Finally, remind yourself the minutes of your life you spend going through the airport security line isn’t going to ruin your trip or your life for that matter. Even more importantly you just can’t put a price on your own safety these days.

What are your tips for getting through airport security with your sanity?

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