TSA’s 5 Essential Summer Travel Tips

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Family at airport.

Summertime is almost here! If you plan on traveling this year, take advantage of these five travel tips and you’ll sail smoothly past TSA on your way to your gate.

1) Stay Hydrated: It’s going to be hot out and you’ll need to stay hydrated. You’ve also got to make your vacation dollars last, so you don’t want to buy $4 bottles of water in the gate area. Did you know you can bring your empty favorite water bottles and fill them up in the gate area? They don’t need to be clear and they can be metal, plastic, etc.

What to expect: You’ll need put your water bottle through the X-ray for screening. Just make sure it’s completely empty when going through the TSA checkpoint.

2) Don’t Get Hangry, Pack Wisely: Whether you’re eating it at your gate, snacking on the plane, or saving it for your destination, know you can bring solid food items along with your carry-on items. We’re talking burgers, chicken, pizza, pies, cakes, bread, donuts, fruits, vegetables, etc.

What to expect: In standard lanes, TSA officers may ask to separate items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. That’s in addition to screening personal electronic devices separately in bins, such as laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles. So be sure to listen and follow the instructions of the TSA officer.

3) Know the Rules for Flying with Beverages, Sunscreen and Deodorant: Ahhh, the three essential items you just have to pack for summer travel.

  • Deodorant: Flying with deodorant isn’t a sticky situation. Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz. or less, but gel or spray deodorant is. Get more details on flying with deodorant.
  • 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 liquids bag. But just because you can pack alcohol doesn’t mean that you can drink it on the flight. FAA regulations state that “No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage.” Read the rules for packing alcohol in checked baggage.
  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen and tanning lotions must also adhere to the TSA liquids policy.

What to expect: For all gels, liquids, pastes and aerosols, be sure to follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. In standard lanes, make sure you take the zip-top bag out of your carry-on prior to sending it through the X-ray. If you’re checking a bag, make your life easier by packing liquids in your checked baggage. That way, you don’t have to worry about the liquids rule.

4) Get Through the Line Faster with TSA Pre®: What is TSA Pre✓®? In a nutshell, it allows eligible travelers to receive expedited screening. In layman’s terms, it means you get through security really fast. Even if a TSA Pre✓® line looks longer, it moves much faster than a standard lane.

What to expect: Did you know the average wait time in TSA Pre® lanes nationwide is under 5 minutes? For TSA Pre✓® travelers, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. If you haven’t already, apply for TSA Pre✓® now!

5) Know What’s in Your Bag: Be sure your souvenir is safe to travel in your bag. Our officers sometimes find the strangest things. If you’re not sure whether an item is allowed in your bag, check out the “What can I bring?” feature on tsa.gov or the MyTSA app.

What to expect: If the item alarms during screening, TSA officers will need to conduct additional screening. Items that cannot be resolved will not be allowed through the checkpoint and onto the plane. If the item is illegal, TSA officers will refer it to local law enforcement to handle. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, if you haven’t already, and check out some of the crazy things TSA officers have caught at our checkpoints!

Have a TSA Related Question? AskTSA: We have a team of TSA employees who are ready to answer your questions via Twitter at @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger. They look forward to answering your questions 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily. If you don’t like all this newfangled technology, you can pick up a phone and call our contact center at 866-289-9673. Federal Relay: 711

Safe Travels!

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