Tuesday, March 2, 2010

1 Travel Tip Tuesday: Maintaining Your Dignity in the Age of Airport Security

In the good old days I could board a plane, water bottle in hand, without taking off my shoes or displaying my toiletries to the world. My mom could even walk me all the way to the departure gate (hey, I said these were the good old days, I was like 8). But because TSA agents love smelly feet and they're dying to know what type of skin moisturizer you use, it's best to be fully prepared. Those long lines aren't because security is interrogating people; it's because it takes each passenger about 10 minutes to undress and unpack to an acceptable level. Here are some tips if you'd like to avoid the scorn of the frequent flyers:
  • When packing, don't even bother with those cute little toiletry cases. Security wants to see all your liquids in a ziplock, so show up that way. It's a good idea in any case--I have had many a lip gloss burst in flight due to changing plane pressure. I also once had a jar of hot sauce shatter into some neatly folded underwear; good thing I'd made my brother carry that one for me. And by the way, since the airport hands those ziplocks out you might as well stock up when traveling for extended periods of time. We found countless uses for them during our six-month trip.
  • Make yourself look like you didn't finish getting dressed that morning. Untie your shoes, remove your belt and take off anything coat-like, even if its just a cardigan. Maybe untuck your shirt for effect, too. Yup, that should do it.
  • Remove the metal from your body. Duh. This is a rule that was even in place when I was a wee lass, yet somehow there is always someone ahead of me who forgets they have keys in their pockets, change in their socks, an aluminum bra, whatever. And they have to walk through that metal detector again and again while the crowd grows angry and restless.
  • Hand over your most valuable items: lap tops and cell phones need to go through the scanner on their own. This is where the business travelers flash around their fancy laptops and iPhones, so you might want to consider cashing in on your New Every Two rebate before your trip to avoid an inferiority complex.
You get bonus points if you remember to wear your socks without holes and leave your most embarrassing/personal items at home. You bet your boarding pass that those TSA officers are going to tear apart your bag as soon as they see that nose hair clipper show up on their little TV.

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