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Passing through airport security can be the most stressful part of travelling, but it doesn’t have to be.
If you prepare properly, airport security can be a breeze. We spoke to Julian Kheel, senior editor of The Points Guy (TPG), who gave us his tips on how to get it done quickly and efficiently.
In most countries, including the US, liquids in your carry-on luggage must be stored in individual containers no larger than 3.4oz (100ml) and then placed into a clear plastic bag. “What a lot of people don’t realise,” Kheel explains, “is you don’t have to get that plastic bag from the airport. You can bring your own bag and it’s much faster if you do the prep at home.
“Companies make bags that are guaranteed to conform or you can simply buy your own plastic bag – basically any one quart (one litre) bag will do.” Bagging at home means you’ll waste less time doing it at the airport.
“If you have any metal on, you’ll have to take it off,” Kheel says, “and that takes time.” Keep anything metal in your purse or packed inside your carry-on instead of wearing it. You can put it back on as soon as you get through security. Another option is to put everything in the pockets of a coat you are wearing because you’ll have to send the coat through the metal detector anyway.
Kheel suggests wearing shoes that are “easily removable”. This way, if you’re at an airport that requires you to take them off, you can do so easily and without taking up valuable time. Avoid laces if possible.
To ensure the easiest and speediest security experience possible “you should absolutely apply for either Global Entry, TSA check-in or your home country’s equivalent if there is one,” Kheel says. “These government-run services will expedite you through security and immigration so you are not only sped through security but also basically walk into the country on the way home,” he explains. “There is a charge for applying but many credit cards will actually rebate you that fee, and the service lasts five years before you have to renew it. If you travel internationally even once a year, you’re eligible. It’s worth every penny.”