Travel can be stressful, I know this because I find myself in airports WAY too often. Holiday travel is worse. The airports are crowded, people are stressed, and it makes for a tough time. Today packing expert Susan Foster is our guest writer. Susan is the author of Smart Packing for Today’s Traveler. Susan offers sage advice to help you arrive at your destination more relaxed and ready to enjoy your time away from home.
1. Allow lots of time to get to the airport: bad weather, heavy traffic on the way, full parking lots, and crowded airport transportation systems all add to travel stress.
2. Arrive at the airport early! Security procedures add to the chaos of holiday travel as many infrequent (holiday) travelers travel to see family. Allow time to have a relaxed meal, shop at interesting airport stores, make phone calls, or check messages.
3. If traveling with a carry-on only, remember the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) 3-1-1 ruling for liquids/gels/lotions. All carry-on liquids etc must be less than 3 ounces, placed into one 1-quart zip-top baggie (do this at home!), one baggie per passenger. Be sure to remove the 1-quart baggie from your suitcase for separate screening.
If you are bringing food to your destination, YOU MAY NOT carry on items if they contain more than 3 ounces. If more than 3 ounces, these must be in packed your checked luggage only: wine, liquor, cranberry sauce, gravy, jam, jelly,creamy dip, soup. You can understand why most of these would be better bought or made at your destination.
4. Wear clothing that is screening friendly (think slip-on shoes, tee-shirt under a bulky sweater), take off your jewelry and tuck into a zip-top baggie and place into a carry-on bag before entering the security line, completely empty pockets into a baggie and tuck into a carry-on, remove coat and place into a bin or pack into a checked or carry-on bag. In the U.S., travelers must remove shoes and place them in a bin for screening. All countries require removal of coats, jackets and heavy sweaters for screening.
5. Oversized electronics, such as laptop computers, video game consoles, DVD players and video cameras must be removed from their cases and placed in a separate bin for screening. E-readers and small electronics such as the iPad may be screened within a bag.
6. Neatness — the TSA says every bag check takes 3 minutes, so pack your bag so they can see the contents easily and quickly.
7. Don’t wrap gifts! Wrap at your destination, as packages may be unwrapped for security inspection. Better yet, shop in advance and ship, shop at your destination, or buy easy-to-pack gift cards.
8. Pack survival snacks that are not liquid or gel, and that don’t require refrigeration. Crackers, granola bars, trail mix, raisins, fresh fruit (apples, bananas, oranges, grapes) all can successfully pass through airport security screening.
9. Buy a water bottle in the airport after you have cleared security. TSA screeners also allow an empty water bottle to pass through the security checkpoint to be refilled inside the secure area.
10. If traveling with an infant, be sure to pack extra diapers, baby food, and supplies to accommodate possible delays. Baby milk formula and breast milk may exceed the 3-ounce, 3-1-1 rule limit, as well as other infant/toddler foods.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and allow the daily troubles to slip away as you head off on your holiday.
Check Susan’s site Smart Packing for more great tips!
Photo Credit: CoolMikeOl