Even savvy travelers make mistakes at airport security. The process is daunting and demanding. Here are several mistakes to avoid making so your experience isn't as challenging.
Having Your Electronics Scattered
While most destinations in the United States only require you to take out your laptop and/or tablet, not every country is the same. You may be required to take your camera out, as well as hard drives, external batteries and other devices. Some airports in Europe may require travelers to place all electronics in separate bins. Keep your electronic gear organized and your cords in one place in the event you suddenly have to unpack everything.
Traveling With Wrapped Presents
This is a common mistake travelers make during the holidays. If you wrap something and TSA wants to inspect it, they will unwrap the gift themselves. Plan to ship your gifts to your destination or wrap them after you arrive.
Wearing Complicated Shoes
Ditch the heels with the straps or the pair of boots for airport security and keep them in your carry-on bag. If you’re sitting there struggling to get your shoes undone in the security line, you’re going to get frustrated, as is everyone else behind you. Go for slip-ons and make sure to have socks. There are countless germs on the airport floor, and you don’t want to end up with athlete’s foot or worse — a staph infection.
Flying With Non-Solid Foods
Sometimes, it all depends on what airport security agent you get, but regardless, be mindful of foods that are not technically solid. If you are bringing back items like jams, sauces or mustards, airport security may have you throw them away if they are over the allowed 3.4 ounces and not in a clear, quart-sized bag.
Connecting in the U.S. With Duty-Free Liquor in Your Carry-On
If you’re returning from your Caribbean vacation with a few souvenir bottles of rum you picked up at the duty-free shop on your way back, you must pack them in your checked luggage when you land in the United States. All inbound flights from outside the country require you to pick up your luggage and “re-check” it before going through security again. Security will confiscate your big bottles of rum if you leave them in your carry-on bag.
Not Checking the Country’s Airport Security Rules
It’s important to review the rules, even if you are a frequent flyer. If you’re flying out of a country for the first time, some surprises may await at security. For example, you are not allowed to bring a tripod through security in Taiwan if it exceeds a certain size. In Shanghai, you are only allowed a certain number of lithium-ion batteries. Avoid time-consuming and costly issues by reviewing the rules before you catch a ride to the airport.