The Simple Packing Hack That Will Make Going Through TSA As A Family Easier

Waiting in an inevitably long line to get through airport security is probably most people's least favorite part of a vacation. And for parents traveling with little ones, that wait can feel twice as long. Families have the added stress of multiple bags with tablets to entertain kids on the flight, bottles, fruit pouches, and many other essential items that often get held up and thoroughly examined by TSA. Luckily, there's a simple packing hack to help families get through airport security lines a little faster.

Usually, on a family trip, each person has their own bag. As the bags get placed on the conveyor belt one by one, parents can only hope they pass security and are quickly collected on the other side. But that doesn't always happen. Common hold-ups are gels or creams over 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters, gifts, electronics, nail clippers, or even some foods. While most food is allowed, some exceptions can trigger inspections and hold up security lines. With a little advanced organization, families can arrive at the airport ready to easily maneuver through busy TSA lines. 

The packing hack and why it works

When traveling in a group, parents can lose track of what is where. The simple packing hack that will make going through TSA as a family easier is to pack all items that might get flagged in one bag. The parent assigned to that bag can take them out of the carry-on and place them on the belt for the screening process. If a second parent is also traveling, parent number two can take the kids and (hopefully) breeze through security and meet parent number one on the other side. But even for solo parents, having everything that could possibly get held up in TSA in one bag is a game changer. No opening and searching multiple bags. No repacking multiple bags. And the time and stress saved is well worth a little advanced preparation when packing at home.

According to Transportation Security Administration, "TSA screens approximately 4.9 million carry-on bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily." The lines are long but intended to keep passengers safe. By organizing carry-on bags for screening, you not only save valuable time but also help TSA officers keep lines moving safely and efficiently.

Other benefits of packing all possible flagged items in one bag

Chances are, everything that might get flagged in airport security is very important to the onboard entertainment of families. Think snacks, medication, baby formula, breast milk, iPads, a Nintendo Switch, etc. If everything is in one bag, it's easier for families to find and distribute appropriately on a flight. This means less time wasted accessing the overhead bin compartments and less time searching under the seat in front of you to find items while little ones wait patiently.

Also, any gifts or souvenirs that might be flagged, like small olive oils, vinegars, dips, spreads, syrups, and snow globes, might also be breakable and benefit from being in one bag with one supervised adult. The advanced organization and preparation pay off. The last thing anyone wants is a broken jar of jelly in their carry-on bag. Just remember, gifts shouldn't be wrapped until travelers pass security. If anything inside a present looks suspicious, TSA agents may have to unwrap it.