I absolutely love to fly on airplanes. It’s my favorite form of travel. If I’m on a plane, I’m heading someplace good for a new adventure. But not all my clients feel the same way and most of the pushback I receive about flying isn’t always about the price of the airfare or the smaller seats—it’s about the hassle and stress involved with getting through airport TSA security checkpoints. Yes, it’s not always the greatest experience and sometimes the agents can be downright obnoxious at times (as can we), but there are certainly some simple ways to make the whole process of navigating the TSA checkpoints a more pleasant experience for everyone involved. In a recent document sent to me by a hotel supplier of mine, International Holidays, titled “Navigating The TSA—A Client Guide,” the author shares several tips for ensuring your next trip through security goes smoothly. Here are excerpts from the article:
  • Make sure you have what you need before you go through any TSA line. You don’t want to find yourself having to circle back for a forgotten necessity. Transversely, don’t bring anything you shouldn’t. Having to forfeit your favorite pair of scissors isn’t a fun way to start a vacation;
  • Be comfortable. Know that you may need to remove your shoes or belt. Make sure those shoes don’t lace up to your knees or require a small fortress to pull them off. Wear comfortable shoes that are easily removed and put back on.
  • Leave the jewelry at home; avoid removing and misplacing your favorite accessories;
  • Pack a snack! Airport food prices can be exorbitant. While there are many liquid restrictions (3.4 ounces) on what you may bring through the TSA, solid foods are allowed. A long line can be a bit more digestible when accompanied by a delicious and affordable snack. Don’t wait until you’re stuck in line and hear your stomach growling;
  • Arrive early. Airport lines are about as predictable as the weather. You’ll want to arrive early. Check your airport’s website for any recommended arrival times. Any seasoned traveler will tell you, “The TSA does not care if you miss your flight.” Nor will they typically go out of their way to make sure you get to your flight on time. With that fact in mind, don’t take a gamble showing up at the last minute. You could easily find yourself stressed beyond belief. Get a rejuvenated start by electing to kick off your vacation at an airport hotel;
  • Fully charge your mobile devices. Leaving electronics off until necessary will help preserve the battery. Investing in a small battery bank can allow you to re-charge your own device, if everyone seems to be hogging charging station ports. Battery banks can come in useful when traveling with children who could use some ever-needed entertainment;
  • Beware of battery banks that are built into luggage as these are often unacceptable as carry-ons or checked luggage. “Smart Luggage” can sometimes by dumb luggage. You don’t want to find yourself buying alternative luggage at those ever so pricey airport boutiques.
  • Global Entry and TSA Pre-check are both pay for services that allow for expedited airport travel. TSA Pre-check provides expedited security screening benefits for flights departing from U.S. airports. Global Entry provides the TSA Pre-check benefit plus expedited U.S. customs screening for international air travelers when entering the United States. TSA Pre-check costs $85 and Global Entry costs $100 for a five-year membership. Travelers interested in Global Entry must apply through the Trusted Traveler Program website.
Whether you’re flying to a port somewhere to get on a cruise, heading off to enjoy an escorted tour somewhere, or even just heading to another state to visit relatives, flying is an efficient and oftentimes much faster and safer way to get to where you want to go. With simple strategies you, too, can be a pro at breezing through TSA security checkpoints in airports around the globe. Regardless of the type of exploring you’d like to do, I’m here to help provide you with the information you need to make an informed travel-buying decision. I’ll help you sort through the options, make your travel arrangements, and provide you with additional tips on how to navigate through security checkpoints—whether you are in an airport, cruise port, or a train station. I’ll provide you with the tools and skills you’ll need to easily navigate your next adventure! Contact me by phone (309) 256-2984, by email Jennifer@JenniferWalkerTravel.com, or by completing a Contact Request form on my website to get started planning your next trip! Until next time, Jennifer