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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 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!

Bob Burns - TSA Social Media


Submitted by RB on

Don’t Get Hangry, Pack Wisely:

Trust me Bobbie, don't think I will get hangry.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

Oh! I love lists like this!

1 - Stay hydrated. Because if the water is inside of you the TSA can't ask you to throw it away because it might be dangerous. And because it might be dangerous they are going to ask you to toss it into a common rubbish bin right next to the densely packed, target-rich, security line.

2 - Pack wisely. What we meant to say was pack in such a way as to make OUR job easier, not you as the traveler. We are going to paw through your stuff anyway, maybe not you specifically but you in the general sense because our front line agents are given way too much discretion on whom to choose for 'random, additional inspections.'

3 - 3-1-1 rules which are nothing more than us exerting power over you to condition you to even worse things we are going to do to you in the future. Because nothing says security more than preventing a single container of a liquid through security but allowing several smaller containers of the same liquid.

4 - PreCheck. Which only helps you if your airport, and terminal, has a pre-check lane. And the front-line agents still have the discretion to deny you access to that line, or to allow others into the line, as they see fit. But, hey! Thanks for the money and giving us all this great personal information.

5 - Know what's in your bag. Because that Acme Bag Packing Service business card I got off the community bulletin board at the market can be trusted even slightly.

So now that I have contributed to the security theater that is the TSA can I get some of that eight-billion dollars sent my way?

Submitted by RB on

TSA was bragging about how many new hires it has to help with the upcoming busy travel season. What wasn't said is what TSA's employee turn-over rate is. So how many TSA employees, in particular screeners quit each year?

Also saw where TSA has finally acknowledge that the 25 million Pre Check goal was just a pipe dream and the new goal is much lower.

Sucks being wrong all the time doesn't TSA?

Submitted by Patdown Or Assault? on

How is a passenger to determine whether a pat-down by TSA crosses the line into sexual assault?

Does any such line exist?

What should a passenger who is being sexually assaulted during a pat-down do?

Submitted by Cindy M on

Oh dear. I see my comment failed to post again, Mr Burns. Was it the V-word? Or the reference to the National Association of Airline Passengers Association? Your handy guide needed a little tweak to let folks know that the most intimate parts of their anatomy may be explored by TSA's blue glove treatment if the scanners alert on something harmless. C'mon guys. What got me bounced?

Submitted by RB on

Just got a heads up that a court has ruled on Twitter Account blocking by a government official. Since TSA employee Mr Burns is held to TSA's Integrity standards and is TSA's Social Media Manager I'm positive that he would not be a party to infringing on citizens civil rights.

{"While we must recognize, and are sensitive to, the President’s personal First Amendment rights, he cannot exercise those rights in a way that infringes the corresponding First Amendment rights of those who have criticized him," Buchwald wrote.

The government had argued that blocked individuals could still access the president’s tweets. The judge agreed but said that even considering the president's First Amendment rights, preventing users from interacting directly with him on Twitter represented a violation of a "real, albeit narrow, slice of speech."}

So Bobbie, When will my Twitter access to @AskTSA and @TSA social media accounts be restored?

Any delay will certainly put you in a position that continues to violate my rights.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

Cindy M, hopefully the court's decision about denial of First Amendment rights of citizens by our "president" can be extrapolated to include comments here at the TSA Blog.

Submitted by The Original "RB" on

You are blocked from following @AskTSA and viewing @AskTSA's Tweets.

You are blocked from following @TSA and viewing @TSA's Tweets. Learn more

Proof that TSA is in violation of the United States Constitution First Amendment!

Submitted by Cindy M on

Susan Richart, the comment that was blocked referred to parts of the body by their correct anatomical terms. TSA can touch them at will, but cannot tolerate naming them in this blog.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"Stay hydrated" advises TSA as they confiscate your bottle of water. What a stupid, stupid suggestion from an agency that routinely puts people's health at risk by taking away their water bottles.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"Susan Richart, the comment that was blocked referred to parts of the body by their correct anatomical terms. TSA can touch them at will, but cannot tolerate naming them in this blog."

TSA is too cowardly to even advise people that their genitals will be touched during a pat down.

Submitted by Snick on

I imagine the number of screeners that quit is a crap ton, especially when dealing w/ public attitudes like this ;)

Submitted by Snick on

I really can't stand all these cry baby posts...tsa wont take your water bottle away if it's empty. Here ya go if you need help 'staying hydrated' 1)Bring water bottle 2) drink water from water bottle 3) present empty water bottle at security 4)fill now empty water bottle on your way to your gate with drinking fountain OR any restaurant will accommodate a water request surely.
have a nice flight :)

Submitted by LC on

If you have to have a sensitive area patted down, they are supposed to tell you that they will be using the back of their hands for sensitive areas, on the inner thighs until body resistance is met. Some airports even have a little box to show you where these sensitive areas are. You can also have a private screening. If you have an issue with it, I urge you to write to the lawmakers in DC, especially if you feel this is an ineffective tool for screening. TSA is there to make traveling safe in the US, and the rules are constantly changing.