3 Simple Tips For Surviving Airport Security

Whether you’re traveling for business, visiting relatives or just out to explore a new corner of the world, it’s safe to say that the most stressful part of your trip is going to the airport. You have to brave the rush of traffic, make sure your suitcase isn’t too heavy to check in, and then you have to make it through security – without your bottle of water to boot. (Don’t worry, you can replace it for three times the cost once you get to your terminal.)

And it seems like the rules for TSA keep changing, doesn’t it? You have to take your shoes off, throw away that jar of peanut butter, take your laptops out so they can be scanned separately and soon you’ll have to do the same thing with any books you may be carrying. In several states your driver’s license is no longer considered secure enough to get you through the line.

Getting through airport security can be a little bit of a nightmare, but there are a few things you can do to minimize the pain. Here are three simple tips for surviving airport security.

1. Look Into TSA Precheck

This service can be a real lifesaver. You fill out an application online and then choose an office location near you for your in-person registration. At your appointment, you pay the $80 fee, fill out some additional information and within a few days their online system will give you your Known Traveler Number. It’s good for five years before you’ll have to pay a renewal fee, and it makes security a breeze.

Not only do you get to go through a much shorter line, you also get to skip a lot of the security procedures. You can keep your shoes on, keep your laptop in your bag and in many cases you don’t have to fuss around with your three-ounce bottles of shampoo.

2. Dress Smart

This is one of the most important things you can do before getting to the airport. Don’t wear a belt, jacket, cardigan or shoes that take a long time to put on or take off. Pack your more hardy pairs of footwear and stick to slip-ons. Make your laptop or tablet the last thing you pack so it’s easy to pull out of your luggage. Skip out on the heavy jewelry that will ping the scanner when you go through.

Also, avoid skirts. I learned this the hard way. When you raise your arms over your head for the scanning process, your skirt will keep moving. The machine detects this as an abnormality and it automatically triggers an additional body check.

3. Go Electronic

As much as possible, switch to electronic documents. This will not only expedite your check-in process, but it can make security easier too. Instead of fumbling with additional paperwork, all you need to do is show your electronic boarding pass to the TSA agent and you breeze right on in. TripIt is a great app to add to any travel arsenal for how easy it makes electronic travel.

In addition to combining all your reservation information in one space, it’ll even check into your flight for you and give you tips about how early you need to be at your particular airport to get to your gate on time.