2018 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Tips: Your Questions Answered

Friday, November 16, 2018
Thanksgiving Day

This holiday season will be a busy one. As announced earlier this week, TSA is expecting more than 25 million travelers to pass through security screening checkpoints nationwide from today to Nov. 26. That’s a 5 percent increase from 2017! So before you fly the coop to gobble down your favorite holiday meal, let us serve you a heaping helping of travel tips with all the trimmings. These tips will help ensure you have a smooth travel experience on your next flight.

The following are some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received through our social care team @AskTSA on Twitter and Facebook Messenger.

1. What to expect when traveling with food


Know the rules: Please be aware that creamy and spreadable foods, like gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, jam and beverages must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item, which must be placed in a 1 quart-sized, zip-top bag. If you are taking larger amounts, you’re more than welcome to pack these items in a checked bag. You don’t want to show up to dinner empty handed.

Solid foods, like dry stuffing, fresh cranberries, turkey, bread, baked potatoes, baked goods, pies, fruits and vegetables are allowed through the security checkpoint in your carry-on bag. You can also pack them in your checked bag.

 If you still have questions, use the “What Can I Bring?” tool to get your answers from soup to nuts. In case you are wondering, you can travel with your spoons and forks in carry-on, pack the knives in your checked bag!


And yes, for those of you who can’t wait until your pumpkin is in pie form, fresh pumpkins are allowed through our checkpoint and in checked bags!

2. Get TSA Pre✓®

Many savvy travelers will tell you that TSA Pre✓® can make your security experience as smooth as buttered mashed potatoes. TSA Pre✓® allows eligible travelers to receive expedited screening. In layman’s terms, it means you get through security quickly. For TSA Pre✓® travelers, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. If you haven’t already, apply now! Individuals who obtained TSA Pre✓® five years ago are now able to renew their TSA Pre✓® membership online.

 TSA Pre✓®

If you have TSA Pre✓®, remember to make sure that your full name, Known Traveler Number (KTN) and date of birth are accurate in your reservation. Mistakes in entering this information are among the most common reasons members don't receive the TSA Pre✓® indicator on their boarding pass. If you still need someone to check your reservation, @AskTSA is here for you.

3. Have valid ID

Maybe your ID fell behind your aunt’s recliner while you were napping after a second helping or maybe it’s just expired and you’ve had a busy month. Either way, you may still be able to make it through our checkpoints and to your destination.

In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity.If you're still not sure, get your fill of ID guidance.

4. Traveling with medicine

One of the more popular questions we get from travelers is: “Can I travel with my medication?” The answer is yes, with some qualifiers.

Travelers should know that both over-the-counter and prescription medications are allowed through our checkpoints. If you have liquid medications, they are exempt from our 3.4 oz liquids rules in carry-on bags. Our TSA Cares team are experts when it comes to helping passengers with disabilities or medical needs.

5. Get there with time

Make sure you give yourself more than enough time to park the car, check-in, get through the airport security checkpoint and onto your flight. Plan for delays that can occur any time from curb to gate.


If you have any TSA-related travel questions, please send your questions to @AskTSA on Twitter and Facebook Messenger. We’re available to answer your questions weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7p.m. ET. If you prefer to call or submit an online form, you can reach out to our contact center weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Yes, that includes Thanksgiving Day!

For more holiday related travel tips, like packing personal items and traveling with family, children and pets, check out our 2017 Thanksgiving holiday travel tips blog.

Karen and Jon – AskTSA Team

About This Blog

The purpose of this blog is to share the latest news and helpful information with the public. If you have questions about TSA or the information presented here, please contact our AskTSA customer care team on Twitter or Facebook.

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