7 Tips for a Better TSA Experience

a black rectangular container on a conveyor belt

Going through security is often the most frustrating part of flying — one that strips you of almost all dignity and convenience. So here’s a few tips to help avoid hassle and improve the experience.

  1. Don’t take large sums of cash or conspicuously valuable items. Keeping an eye on it at all times may seem like a good idea, but law enforcement can seize it (and keep it) without ever charging you with a crime.
  2. Do take water bottles through security. Just make sure they’re empty. So instead of throwing out that just purchased bottle next time, just pour it out and refill at the water fountain. Or invest in a collapsible water bottle and have space saving access. Want to see what else is legal? Download the TSA App or visit the “What Can I Bring” online site.
  3. Leave the glitter at home. Whether it’s part of your daily look or you just attended a crazy good party the night before, glitter can show up on TSA machines the same as bomb residue.
  4. Forgot your socks? Keep antibacterial wipes permanently stashed in your bag for the times you have to walk through the security area barefoot. They will help kill germs and get rid of any grime.
  5. Request fresh gloves. If you or your bag are flagged for inspection ask the agent to put on fresh gloves. In front of you. The few times I’ve tested positive initially for a dangerous residue was when I didn’t see them donning their gloves and they claimed they’d just put them on.
  6. Getting a patdown? Minimize the touching by wearing as little clothing as possible. Agents avoid bare skin so tank tops, collarless shirts, shorts, and short skirtswill shorten the time and the contact. etc. For bonus points wear a one-piece to negate the need for hands down your pants.
  7. Go retro with free TSA Pre-check. Having TSA pre-check means your light jackets and shoes stay on, your laptop and liquids stay in, and you get to go through a regular metal detector. Just like the old days! And many loyalty programs, including Orbitz Rewards, and credit cards will cover the $85 enrollment fee.



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One Comment

  1. I once made the mistake of wearing a scarf through the TSA check in a frigid cold airport. It had some metallic threads in it and, much like the glitter perhaps, alerted the scanner and they pulled me in for a very embarrassing upper body check. Now I don’t even let a frigid airport convince me to leave any scarf on, metallic or not.

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