Make a list of the things you need to pack, making sure you're only taking along what you will absolutely need in order to reduce the number of bags you'll need to take. Once you're packed and ready to go, allow yourself ample time to get to the airport, taking into consideration such factors as traffic, weather and time of day. By arriving at the airport early, you can avoid the feeling of being rushed as you pass through security and will allow plenty of time to board the plane. Check with your airline or airport for estimates wait times at the security checkpoints. If checking bags, you may need to arrive earlier.
You will be asked to provide government-issued photo identification at various checkpoints throughout the airport. In addition, passengers are required to provide proof of travel, including a boarding pass, or printed confirmation of an e-ticket. Keep all of these items organized and quickly accessible.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines limit carry-on baggage to one bag plus one personal item (i.e. purse, briefcase, laptop or backpack.) Many airlines have leveraged fees for checking bags or for checking more than one bag. Use a clothing compression system like the Pack-It System to make the most of the space. These items will also help expedite the security process, allowing security personnel to lift and sort through clothing, toiletries and shoes quickly and easily. The see-through mesh side panels allow for quick identification of the contents. Because garments are neatly folded and secured, putting items back into your luggage after passing through security is a snap.
According to TSA guidelines, liquids, gels and aerosols that you want to carry on the plane must be in three-ounce or smaller containers and in a one-quart, zip-top bag. It's imperative to put shampoo, lotion, hair gel, toothpaste mouthwash and other liquids in guaranteed leakproof bottles to prevent spills. Visit www.tsa.gov for more details about these restrictions.
In response to stricter screening of checked bags at airports, the TSA may have to break it open in the event your bag is selected for screening. Instead, use a TSA-approved lock. TSA agents have a special key that can safely open these locks.
If you're traveling to visit friends and family and want to bring gifts, don't wrap the items before your trip — they may be unwrapped by TSA agents at the security checkpoint. Instead, wrap presents after you arrive or pack a gift tote and tissue that you can easily assemble once you get to your destination.