Here's How To Get Through Airport Security Without Being Flagged By The TSA

Travel already has some built-in stressors, like the potential to miss flights or experience delays. All these things outside of your control are just part of the excitement of a trip. But there are delays and hiccups that are avoidable and within your control, particularly getting slowed down by a TSA check. Not only is it annoying for you, but it can also hold up everyone else who's anxious to catch their flights as well.

Of course, no one deliberately sets out to slow down the security line, but there are ways of preparing ahead of time to make sure that you don't get held up. One of the very first things you can do is enroll in TSA PreCheck, which allows you to get through security faster. All that you have to do is submit an online application and pay $78 for five years. For about $15 a year, that's a pretty great deal. There's also a program called Clear, and they can be used together, so see if one or both would be advantageous for you. Besides those programs, there are several ways to prepare so that you don't get flagged by the TSA. Namely, pay attention to how you're dressed and be aware of how you're packing your carry-on.

Be mindful of what you're wearing

First things first, give yourself plenty of time at the airport, specifically for getting through the TSA line, which can be unpredictable. There's nothing worse than beginning your trip with the added stress of a long line at the security checkpoint. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. 

Secondly, while planning your travel outfit, choose your clothing and footwear carefully so as not to get extra screening because of something as simple as a belt. Opt for shoes that are easy to take off, and be sure to wear socks underneath so that you don't have to walk barefoot on the floor. Outerwear will need to be put in a screening bin, too. Make sure that your clothing is free of any metal since that will make detectors go off. Pack your bracelets and any bulky belts, so that you don't forget and have to go through the scanning equipment a second time. However, don't worry about small items like earrings. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, machines won't stop for small things like metal buttons or dainty earrings.

Pack your carry-on bag carefully

Besides carefully planning what you wear, being on top of your carry-on bag will save you from being flagged by the TSA. Pack your bag neatly, so that you can easily open and close it in a hurry. Pack clothing and shoes first, so that you can keep the removable things on top for easy access, like your laptop. Laptops have to be placed in a separate bin for screening, so you'll want to make sure you can reach yours.

You'll also want to keep liquids near the top of your suitcase as well. Each traveler may bring a quart-sized bag of liquids in their carry-on; this includes substances like gels, creams, and aerosols. This amount restriction also applies to peanut butter! Each bottle must be no more than 100 milliliters or 3.4 ounces. These must all go in a clear, resealable bag and go in a separate bin. An exception to the liquid rule is any duty-free liquids purchased internationally. These must remain in their sealed bag. Keep your receipts with you.

Travelers are often held up by their water bottles too. You are permitted to go through the TSA with an empty water bottle, and then refill it once you get through. However, if there's liquid in it, you have to drink it or recycle the bottle.