"" Writer's Wanderings: Save Yourself The Security Hassle For The Hoidays

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Save Yourself The Security Hassle For The Hoidays

Traveling by air for the holidays? Bringing gifts along? Afraid to check them? Here are some ideas to help save you the hassle through security.

First off DO NOT buy anything that resembles a weapon for your grandchildren. We were taking home a Buzz Lightyear gun from Disney World once for our grandson. It was obviously a toy, bright yellow and lime green colors and plastic. It wasn't wrapped but it was in its box. When we checked in, the attendant told us we had better take it out of the box and put it into our checked luggage because she was sure it would not go through the security check.

No matter how gifty something may be, if it has liquid or gel in it and cannot fit in your 3-1-1 bag, it goes in checked luggage or if you're afraid of it breaking, send it home or on ahead of you. Case in point: my sister-in-law wasn't thinking about her small snow globe ornament she bought as a souvenir as a liquid. She was stopped at TSA check in and my brother-in-law had to scurry to a mail service in the airport to have it mailed home because our luggage was already checked.

Keep your gifts to a reasonable size if you intend to carry them on. Do not wrap them (even if you check them in your luggage). When we carried gifts to our grandkids one Christmas, we carried them all on along with a roll of wrapping paper and some scotch tape. I had a small little piece of plastic that I could use as a cutter (fold the paper and run the plastic along the fold) and we wrapped the gifts after we got through security. If your kids aren't meeting you at the airport, you can probably wait to wrap them. I was afraid they'd be into our bags before we could get their gifts wrapped.

And then the usual routines. Keep your pockets empty--completely empty. Even a tissue in your pocket (or a forgotten cruise card tucked in your back pocket) will get you wanded if you go through one of the imaging machines for screening.

Most of us all know the 3-1-1 rule but just to refresh: no more than 3 ounces of liquid/gel in 1 container and all containers must fit into a 1 quart see through (read self-seal plastic) bag.

Traveling with a laptop? It must come out of your bag and go into a tray by itself. Cell phones, e-readers, tablets can stay in your carry on but do put your cords in a plastic bag and do not leave them attached to your electronics inside your bag.

If you've been hoping for that white Christmas and it looks to be cold enough to accommodate you, keep in mind that you will have to shed coats and cardigans before going through security. And those boots will have to come off. It might be better to shed the boots before security and pop on some slip-on shoes to get you through a little faster.

Remove a belt with a buckle or wear something that doesn't require it.

The more you can do ahead of time to make the transition through security easier, the faster it will go for you and everyone will be jollier in the holiday crunch.

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