USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

TSA Travel Tips Tuesday - Summer 2013 Travel Tips

Archived Content

Please note that older content is archived for public record. This page may contain information that is outdated and may not reflect current policy or programs.

If you have questions about policies or procedures, please contact the TSA Contact Center.

Members of the news media may contact TSA Public Affairs.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Summer Travel Banner

Summer is almost here! People all over the country are getting their pools and patio furniture ready for the warmer days to come. Many are preparing for travel too! Whether you’re going on a family vacation or a business trip, there is sure to be some helpful information for you in this post. Have a great summer!

TSA Pre✓® logo.

TSA Pre✓® and other Risk Based Expedited Screening:TSA has implemented TSA Pre✓®, anexpedited prescreening initiative for known travelers, active duty service members and airline crewmembers at select airports, and modified procedures for screening passengers 12 and under and 75 and older to reduce, although not eliminate, the need for a pat-down. TSA Pre✓® is currently available in 40 airports. As of today, 10,000,000 passengers have been screened through TSA Pre✓® lanes!

The MyTSA App: Want TSA information anywhere, anytime? Use the MyTSA app. Among the great features, there’s a “Can I Bring My…” tool. Want to know if you can pack a certain item? This is the tool for you. Type in the name of the item you’re curious about and it tells you if the item is permitted or not, along with packing tips. This isn’t a Magic 8 Ball, so please don’t expect it to prophetically answer yes and no questions. A wait time feature is also available. It relies on crowd sourcing, which means the more people who use it, the better.

TSA Cares Helpline: Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free 855-787-2227, 72 hours prior to traveling with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. A TSA Cares helpline representative is available during all TSA Contact Center hours.

TSA Call Center Icon

TSA Contact Center: The Contact Center hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 11 p.m., Eastern time; weekends and federal holidays, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m., Eastern time. The TCC can be reached at 866-289-9673. Passengers can also reach out to the TSA Contact Center (TCC) with questions about TSA procedures, upcoming travel or to provide feedback or voice concerns.

Passenger Support Specialists: PSS’s are Transportation Security Officers, Lead TSOs and Supervisors who have volunteered to take on the responsibility of assisting passengers who may need a little help at the checkpoint. If you need assistance, or you’re concerned about your screening, you can request a PSS and they’ll help you with whatever issue it is you might be having. Read this post for more information.

Diamond Ring

Jewelry: So what’s the scoop? Should you remove jewelry or keep it on to go through security? The answer, in most cases is that you can keep it on, but there are a few different choices that you can make based on what kind of jewelry it is. Read this post for more information.

How to Avoid Additional Screening: The most important tip to help you avoid a pat-down is to take everything out of your pockets before screening and put items in your carry-on bag. Don't wear clothes with a high metal content, and put heavy jewelry on after you go through security. If you have a hidden medical device (insulin pump, ostomy bag, brace, etc.), please let the officer know.

Diving gear in suitcase.

Scuba Diving: Traveling with diving gear this summer? Read this post from our resident diving expert for tips and travel information.

Sporting Goods: Golf clubs, baseball bats (including the mini slugger bats), cricket bats, bows and arrows, hockey sticks, scuba knives, spear guns, etc. are all prohibited from being carried onto the plane. However, you can place them in your checked baggage.

Military Travel: If you’re traveling this summer as a member of the U.S. Armed forces, be sure to read the travel tips at this post.

Destination Weddings: Getting married soon? We’ve been asked about it a lot lately on our My TSA app, so we wrote a post on it. Be sure to check it out for some great tips.

Family camping.

Camping, Hunting, or Fishing: If you’re heading to the great outdoors, be sure to check out this post for tips on traveling with camping and fishing gear.

Traveling With a Pet: TSA does not prohibit travel with pets. However, it is very important that you contact your airline first so they can let you know about any requirements, fees, or restrictions they might have. Read here for more information.

Gun and bullets

Double Check Your Bag for Guns: Seriously!!! It sounds silly, but if you read our Week in Review posts, you’ll see that our officers find guns every day at checkpoints in the U.S. A good percentage of those are loaded. Save yourself the hassle of a bag check, a police interview and a potential arrest by making sure you leave your gun at home.

Traveling With Children: Did you know that children 12 and under can keep their shoes on? If you’re going on a family trip this summer, be sure to click here for more tips and information on traveling with the little crumb-snatchers.

Man shaving face.

Photo Courtesy of Blogtrepreneur

Shaving Razors: You can get more info from our blog post on this subject where the pictures will answer all of your questions.

Forgotten or Lost IDs: If you have lost or forgotten your ID, you will still be permitted to fly as long as you help us verify you are who you say you are by answering a few questions. Read this post for more information.

Liquids in baggie.

Liquids, Gels & Aerosols: If you’re checking a bag, make things simple by packing liquids in your checked luggage. That way, you don’t have to worry about the liquids rules. (If you’re concerned about them leaking, do what I do and put them in a zip-top bag.) But I know that doesn’t work for everyone if you’re only bringing a carry-on bag. If you have to take liquids in your carry-on, please continue reading... You can read here for more details, but here is the gist: each passenger is allowed to take as many 3.4 ounce or less sized containers that will fit in one sealed clear quart-sized zip-top bag - and one bag per person. Make sure you take the zip-top bag out of your carry-on prior to sending it through the X-ray.

Here is some information on frequently asked liquid, aerosol and gel items:

  • Deodorant: Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz or less, but gel or spray deodorant is.
  • Suntan & Sun Block Lotion: Lotions - both pump and aerosol - fall under the procedures that I mentioned above. Sun block sticks do not fall under this rule.
  • Makeup: Any liquid makeup cosmetics such as eyeliner, nail polish, liquid foundation, etc. should be placed in the baggie. That goes for perfume as well. Powder makeup is fine.
  • Beverages: Wine, liquor, beer, and all of your favorite beverages are permitted in your checked baggage. You can also bring beverages packaged in 3.4 oz or less bottles in your carry-on bags in the baggie.
  • Gel Inserts for shoes are now permitted.
  • Foods: Cakes, pies, bread, donuts, turkeys, etc. are all permitted. Here is a list of items that should be placed in your checked bags or shipped: cranberry sauce, creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.), gift baskets with liquid or gel food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings), gravy, jams, jellies, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer.

Come back next Tuesday for more TSA travel tips!

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.


Submitted by RB on

Are TSA drug dogs trained to attack and bite people as recently happened to a lady waiting at baggage claim?

Submitted by Lee Larson on

Make it easy on yourself and everyone around you by not taking any 'carry-on' bag. Check everything you can in your regular luggage.

Submitted by RB on

Exactly why does TSA need Passenger Support Specialist if TSA screeners are properly trained and qualified in their duties?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hey Bob, can you tell us how to avoid being bitten by a TSA canine or at least provide some answers and/or explanations about how a woman could be bitten while waiting for her luggage?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Pathetic. Why is the Pre-Check screening not the default level of screening for ALL passengers, and not just a perk reserved for the wealthy elite?

Submitted by Anonymous on

But Bob! According to your blog, it was Spring only a week ago!

Trying to hide the comments regarding the TSA dog who bit a passenger in baggage claim? Trying to hide comments about the TSA going after the Portland man the courts found innocent of wrongdoing?

This post is just a rehash of other posts you did in recent weeks.

Why not follow up about the public comment period for your naked pic scanners? Reminds everyone there is still time to express their opinion about how TSA treats the flying public.

Instead, you've recruited a few cheerleaders (employees?) to post positive comments and are apparently deleting negative ones.

I don't trust the opinion of anyone who thinks the abbreviation for government is"gvmt."

Submitted by @SkyWayManAz on

Lee Larson said...

"Make it easy on yourself and everyone around you by not taking any 'carry-on' bag. Check everything you can in your regular luggage."

Overlooking that most airlines charge extra for even one checked bag now I have never felt it was responsible to put anything in a checked bag you will need within 24 hours. Unfortunately though there is a lot of medication put in checked bags, some of it needed upon arrival. Not a good idea at all. I'm sure not recommended by TSA either but sometimes done because they do have a reputation for damaging medications in carry on inspection.

Submitted by RB on

The TSA scam called TSA Pre✓™


TSA refuses to offer TSA Pre✓™ to the military retirees of this country who served their country for at least 20 years.

Who actually gets TSA Pre✓™? Only those people who spend enough money for air travel or buy a $100 TSA Bribe.

With Memorial Day fast approaching I want everyone to recognize that TSA doesn't think America's Military Retirees are deserving of TSA Pre✓™.

TSA's refusal to acknowledge the sacrifices military retirees have made to this country is disgusting.

Mr. John S. Pistole, why do you have such contempt for America's Military Retirees?

Submitted by Anonymous on


It has been over a month, and the TSA blog is still resolutely refusing to answer any questions or make any statements about the mistreatment of Sai by the SFO TSA personnel who felt themselves more qualified to determine Sai's medical needs than his own doctor, ignored TSA policy, and refused to allow him to travel with his medical liquids.

Once again, I am asking for you, Bobby, to comment on this. I understand that it doesn't fit into your normal "blame the passenger" narrative, especially since the TSOs involved were caught on video violating Sai's rights. I also realize that it doesn't fall into your fallback "the TSOs were just following policy" narrative, since Sai has very carefully documented the TSA policies that the TSOs felt compelled to disregard.

So I know it's hard for you. It's not the passenger's fault. The TSOs involved were clearly violating policy. They violated his rights and deprived him of access to his medical liquids, and there's no side-stepping it. You don't want to admit that the TSA can ever be wrong, so you're hoping it will go away.

It will not go away, Bobby. I will continue to demand a response from the TSA blog on this matter until you finally muster up the courage to actually address an instance in which the TSA is blatantly, unquestionably, and undeniably WRONG.

What do you have to say, Bobby?

Submitted at approximately 11:30 central time, 23 May 2013.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Pre✓ was created only to stop frequent fliers from complaining about TSA. It means nothing else.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So, when the My TSA app tells me that item X is OK, and the TSA guy at the gate says otherwise, what then?

You wanna give me your phone number so I can call you when it happens?

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA doesn't have drug dogs

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why would I trust TSA to not rifle though my wallet if they are requiring that I empty all pockets?

Submitted by Anonymous on

@ Anonymous #1: The Pre Check program was originally designed for frequent flyers and for individuals that have been approved through Custom and Border Protection's Global Entry program. If flying was a normal weekly routine for you, wouldn't you want a program that expedited you through security?

@Anonymous #2: Was anyone there to witness this lady's claim? The victim claimed that the dog bit her and left in a second and that's how quickly the dog bit her, and she didn't feel anything. Sounds like she needed attention and/or money.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous 5/24 said, "If flying was a normal weekly routine for you, wouldn't you want a program that expedited you through security?"

I would settle for a program that is Constitutional. Please see the Fourth Amendment.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob, why are you and/or other TSA employees posting anonymously on this government website? "Anonymous" from May 24 at 6:06pm is almost certainly a government employee. A TSA employee should not hide his identity on this official TSA blog.

Submitted by Wintermute on

Anonymous said...

"I would settle for a program that is Constitutional. Please see the Fourth Amendment."

Don't forgot the First, as Bob's weekly blotter includes "what not to say at an airport," thus stifling free speech.

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
Bob, why are you and/or other TSA employees posting anonymously on this government website? "Anonymous" from May 24 at 6:06pm is almost certainly a government employee. A TSA employee should not hide his identity on this official TSA blog.

May 27, 2013 at 6:25 AM

TSA employees hide their identity while on the job so what makes you think they can't do it here on the TSA Blog?

Seems sad having a job your so ashamed of that you hide your name.

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
TSA doesn't have drug dogs

May 23, 2013 at 4:01 PM


Submitted by Anonymous on

All of this is confusing. It is stated by TSA on this and other pages: toothpaste and stick deodorant does not have to be in a 3-1-1- baggie. All liquids, lotions, creams (liquid makeup) do. I traveled in May; on the first flight the TSA agent was trying to keep the line moving; he asked me if I had anything like toothpaste and deodorant in my carry on bag. I told him no. My friend visited me this week. She showed me her BOTTLE of LIQUID perfume in her cosmetic bag, along with gel liquid eye liner, small jars of cream, toothpaste. I asked her why such a big bottle of perfume--like it so brought it. She said TSA did not search her bag for that liquid or the other stuff that TSA says here is required to be in that little baggie and she just went through. Does the fact she is 80 years old and in a wheelchair have any bearing on not being singled out to go through the carry on bag or have to declare that stuff in a baggie have a bearing on this?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I rarely check a bag. It's true and the first few times working with the 3-1-1 system was a little confusing and frustrating, but I got my system down and now it goes like clockwork. I have a travel kit ready to go, in a nice little clear cosmetic bag that's TSA approved. All I have to do is refill which ever of my products are running low.

Now my only frustrations are with other passengers who aren't prepared.

Submitted by Anonymous on

You watch to much TV. TSA does not have drug dogs. If you have drugs on you watch out for CBP dogs.

Submitted by Stella on

The TSA Pre system was created for those of us that fly all the time and dont want to wait in line. Yea it is great and yes we have to pay a premium for it. But if you travel a lot it is a must!!

Submitted by Stans Scheltinga on

TSA doesn't have drug dogs

Submitted by James on

An occasional flyer here that is voluntarily pre screened by providing personnel info that was cleared. The pre screen option may not be for everyone but it works for me more efficiently getting through TSA check points especially since I have artificial joints and hold up the other passengers. All must pass through so willingly chose your method, or abide by the directions for safer travel. I know the occupant of my seat is a safe flyer ... Are you?

Submitted by Gary Dean on

Wealthy elite? You pay for multiple airline tickets and 80 for 5 years makes you wealthy elite?