I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve become an impatient traveler and the summer travel season pushes my patience to the max. While most people are relaxing getting set to travel off to vacation I’m still in business traveler mode, trying to game the system and cut down my “processing” time.
What this means is yeah, I’m likely the gal behind you in security trying not to explode while you (a) fail to remove your laptop from your bag; (b) wait to remove your shoes until a crowd has formed behind you; (c) forget all about that water bottle in your suitcase necessitating your bag to be run through the scanner yet again, etc.
So in the interest of my own sanity if nothing more, here are my top tips for traveling like a pro:
- Check-in and print your boarding pass online – even if you’re checking a bag this will save you loads of time as you can usually go to a special “online checked bag” line. If you’re not checking a bag, proceed to security.
- Check your bags online, for the special line and because many airlines will also give you a small reduction in the baggage fee for doing so – bonus for those around you at the airport, they don’t have to wait for you to go through a sales transaction to pay your baggage fee.
- Make sure your bag weighs less than 50 lbs, otherwise you’re going to be stepping up to major fees or trying to wear three pairs of shoes at once – either way a major time kill.
- Yes, your laptop has to come out of your bag – unless you have a special bag and you have nothing next to your laptop (yeah, right). Look, I have the special bag and I still take mine out – do it and save us all some time.
- Liquids – 3 oz. or less in a 1 quart Ziploc bag. This has been the standard for years now. Annoying, but not as annoying as waiting while TSA goes through your bag and throws out your lotion, your water bottle, and your contact lens solution and yes, I see this every time I travel during spring break and summer.
- Shoes off – plan ahead and wear socks, I once got extra screened at LAX barefoot – I wouldn’t inflict this pain upon my worst enemy it was NASTY.
- Once you hit that golden area of the clear buckets to throw your stuff in and the conveyor belt to take it through screening, you should have your laptop and liquids in hand and your shoes unbuckled, untied, whatever. Grab two of the clear containers, throw your laptop in one (some airports require that laptops screen solo), your liquids and shoes and any sweater/jacket in the other and make disgruntled noises to the person in front of you slowing up the line.
- Belt, phone, keys, watch, change, out of your pockets men, I don’t want to wait while you’re wanded because you forgot about the penny collection in your pants pocket.
- Have your boarding pass in your hand when you go through the metal detector. Not all airports require it, but enough do to make it a worthwhile practice.
- Once you pass through the metal detector and your stuff comes out of the magic cage of the conveyor belt, take it and push your stuff as far away from that cage as possible – you can put it together here, out-of-the-way. DO NOT put your stuff back together in a way that slows the flow of everyone else’s bags.
So, those are my basics. Simple, right? Join the movement and free us from long check-in and security lines. Every business traveler will thank you and you’ll be doing your part to make the world a less stressful place 😉
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