Saturday, January 4, 2014

Five Tips for Getting Through Airport Security Smoothly

I have been very fortunate in the last few years to travel quite a bit. With that traveling I have come to figure out little tips and tricks about making the whole process a bit smoother.  Today I want to share my tips for getting through airport security. This can sometimes be super stressful, so if you prepare and know what you're going into, you can totally minimize the stress and get through the line nice and quick before heading to your gate.

1. Dress Appropriately
Everybody likes to dress differently when flying. I personally like to dress in what I call a "comfy-chic" way - a cotton dress, tights, cardigan, and an infinity scarf. I look put together but feel super comfy. Other people like to wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt, or somewhere between the two.  Whatever your style, make sure your outfit doesn't have too many parts. By this I mean don't wear clothing, accessories, or footwear that is going to prolong the security process - excessive chunky jewelry that you'll have to remove and put back on, layer after layer after layer that you'll also need to remove and put back on all while the bins pile up behind you but no one can get to them because you're still dressing, tall boots that you have to unlace and lace up again, you get the idea.  There are many things you can wear that can make your experience more difficult, and why would you want to do that? Really think about what you're wearing - do you need to have it on your body while travelling, or could you pack it in either your checked bag or carry-on?

2. Know Your Electronics
Different airports have different requirements when it comes to electronics going through security.  I have found that most Canadian airport security departments only require you to remove your laptop from your bag but let you leave your iPod, iPad, cell phone, kindle, camera, etc. in your bag while it gets scanned.  I haven't found consistency in whether they expect you to remove your laptop from the protective case, so I just always do to avoid holding up the line.  What is important to note about this point is that this can vary between airport security personnel; one person may be fine with you only removing your laptop and leaving it in the case, while another might expect you to place every single electronic you are carrying into the bin with no cases.  To avoid issues with this I always make sure I know exactly where my other electronics are, in case I am asked to remove them.

3. Pack Your Liquids
I almost always see that one person frantically searching through their carry-on(s) to find their liquids and squish them into the bags just before security (if you're at an airport that provides them). To avoid delays or not having enough room in the bag for every liquid you have on you, pack your liquids ahead of time. Take only those that you will actually need during your time in the airport, on the plane, or if your bag were to be delayed in reaching your destination.  This all should very easily fit into the 1 litre (1 quart) bag that is allowed. Everything else can go in your checked luggage.

4. Do Not Feel Rushed
It is very easy to pick up on the nervousness or rushed-feeling that other passengers portray, it is also very easy to feel like the airport security personnel are trying to rush you through the line. Yes, you need to keep the line moving, but you do not need to feel as though you are going too slow. If you are prepared and you are following the rules, then you are doing what you are supposed to do. Do not stress yourself out by worrying and trying to rush through the line. You're traveling after all, enjoy yourself!

5. Do Not Be Afraid
This one kind of goes with #4, but I felt it was necessary to emphasize. No matter how prepared you are, going through airport security can actually become quite terrifying, especially if you do not do it often. For every nice person working airport security it seems as though there are two or three not-so-nice ones.  If you suffer from anxiety or anything similar, the interactions that airport security presents to you can be a lot to handle. Just take things one step at a time, breathe, and think about your final destination. Soon you'll be through the line, through the scanner, in possession of your scanned items, and relaxing at your gate with plenty of time to spare.

This is definitely not a comprehensive list, but things that I have noticed time and time again while making my way through security. What are some tips that you have? I would love to hear them!

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