Packing Checklist - 'Cause Life's a Trip

Welcome to Packing Checklist! Whether you're packing for an overnight trip or a multi-month excursion, we have a packing checklist to help you plan and prepare for your travels.

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Additional Airport Security Tips and Warnings

In addition to the printable pdf checklist of Airport Security Tips to Minimize Fuss (available on the Packing Checklist Downloads page), the following tips and warnings should also ease the process through airport security.

Baggage Locks

Don’t bother with baggage locks unless you buy specific TSA recognized baggage locks that can be opened by screening personnel with a master key.  If you use a standard lock, they’re going to have to break it to check your bags.

additional airport security tips

If, like me, you are less worried about proper personnel getting into baggage, but more worried about the zippers coming apart and losing items, try using twist ties or re-usable zip ties.  These will keep your luggage secure from inadvertent openings, yet allow airport screeners to do their jobs.

Carry On or Checked Baggage

Carrying-on fewer items can also save you and your fellow passengers a great deal of fuss on the plane.  (Since more people are trying to avoid checked baggage fees, larger – sometimes excessively large items – and multiple items are taking up all the over head storage compartment room before everyone can even board the plane.  If you’re one of the multiple big bag travelers, consider lack of space for yourself and others.  Smaller bags allow more room for your fellow passengers and help you find sufficient space for your own carry-on items if you board the plane late.

Verify ID on Documentation

Before your flight, you may also want to check how your name is shown on your photo ID and that of your traveling companions/family.  This should match the wa

y the name is shown on flight reservations.  The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is enforcing stricter security about photo ID and boarding passes matching.

The TSA

If you have doubts about items on your packing checklist, check the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) web site for the latest rules and regulations.  In the meantime, feel free to use the printable pdf packing checklists provided on the Downloads page.

 

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Airport Security Tips Checklist to Minimize Fuss

“Airport security”…I still see people cringe at the mere mention of the process.  Lines are long; people are impatient, but security personnel must be allowed to do their jobs.

Since 9/11, airport security screening increased and stringent adherence to the rules (old and new) is strictly enforced. …makes you wonder how many lighters and fingernail clippers were lost at airport security those first few years.

Photographer: ghindoAs fear subsides and confidence grows, though, airport security is no longer the half day ordeal it once was.  It is, however, still a time consuming, but necessary process.

There are several steps, if followed reasonably, that should, at least, reduce your time in line.  Now, if everyone else would just use some common sense, follow the rules and exercise patience, we’d all get through airport security with minimal fuss.

1.  Smile and be patient.

The absolute best way to avoid fuss going through airport security is to smile, be patient and be accommodating.  Most of the folks around you will be busy, impatient, unnerved and WAY too far out of their comfort zones to be on their best behavior.  Everyone in line has to deal with these emotional issues, as do the screening employees.

Be determined to maintain patience and not add to the problems.

Smile at both fellow passengers and screening staff.  It can’t hurt, and it usually perks up at least a few in the group.

2.  Check your bags.

I know.  Since the airlines started charging for checked luggage, everyone’s trying to save money using carry-on bags.  It may save money, but it does NOT save fuss…for you or your fellow passengers.

If you want to save fuss, check your primary bag.  This gives you at least one bag in which you can place all those “questionable” items that greatly delay security scans and reduces the number of carry-on items that have to go through security.  Put your fingernail clippers, lighters, non-essential (at least during the flight) toiletries and other items you will not need until you reach your destination in your checked luggage and send it off for loading.  Get it out of the way.

3.  Know the rules.

Know the rules about luggage size, weight and contents for both checked bags and carry-on baggage contents.

Go to the TSA web site and read through the “prohibited” items rules.  Just don’t pack these.  If you do have “Special Items” you need to bring, see the TSA web site and the airline policy regarding procedure with specialty items before you try to bring them through security checkpoints.  Knowing the policy for musical instruments or golf clubs ahead of time can save you a lot of time and fuss.

Use the 3-1-1 policy for liquids in carry-on luggage.  3 ounce containers, 1 quart clear bag, 1 bag per traveler is the norm to avoid fuss.  If you must take larger quantities, exceptions may be made for medications, baby items and such.  Make sure to declare these with security to avoid delays.

4.  Be reasonable with carry-on items.

Most airlines allow one standard-sized roller bag and one additional carry-on item (purse, laptop bag, briefcase, tote bag).  Check with airline policy and make sure your carry on items meet the size and weight requirements.  Remember, the more you carry-on, the more you have to scan through security.  Fewer and smaller carry-on items equal less fuss during airport security checks and later on the plane.

5.  Be prepared for the inspection of shoes, jackets, ball caps/hats and pocket contents.

Just take them off.  The shoes have to come off.  The pocket contents can go into a small container to run through the scanner, but it’s just as convenient to place pocket contents into a side pocket of a carry-on bag and let the whole thing run through at once.  The jackets and ball caps might as well come off and be placed in a screening tub.  It’ll save the time later if you’re asked to remove them, taking more of your time and delaying others in line.

6.  Give some thought ahead of time about your laptop.

Unless it’s in a TSA “Checkpoint Friendly” laptop bag, the laptop must be removed and placed in its own security tub for screening.  Whenever possible, keep your laptop easily accessible in the bag for quick removal and repacking.  This can be a particularly frustrating part of the process if it doesn’t pack well.

Note also that the laptop must be placed in its OWN tub for screening.  Shoes, jackets and other items should not be placed in the same tub with a laptop.

7.  Photo ID and Boarding Pass.

Have your photo ID (usually driver’s license for domestic travel or passport for domestic or international travel) and boarding pass quickly accessible at all times.  You may have to show these multiple times before the security process is complete.

8.  Prepare for the walk-through scan.

Try not to wear excessive metal, and if you have metal medical implants, have your medical card available to confirm your doctor’s information.

9.  Step aside when done.

Once you and your items have been scanned and released, gather your items and step to the side to replace shoes and readjust packing.

A printable pdf checklist of Airport Security Tips to Minimize Fuss is available under the Packing Checklist Downloads page.

Comments Off on Why Use a Packing Checklist?

Why Use a Packing Checklist?

Packing ChecklistIt’s a fair question.  Why use a packing checklist?  Some frequent travelers are comfortable enough to pack without a checklist.  Others are just not “list people” and want to go with the flow.  That’s totally cool.  There are also people who choose to solve quadratic equations in their heads.  This is also TOTALLY cool, but it’s not the norm.  Most of us really prefer to use a packing checklist for a variety of reasons.

Forget Me Not

The primary reason most people use a packing checklist is to make sure they don’t forget anything.  There are NEEDED items, and there are WANTED items.  For the most part, needed items are those that you can’t reasonably obtain after you arrive at your destination.  Wanted items can cross over into this “need” category if they’re excessively or annoyingly difficult to obtain.  You really need to determine what’s worth packing and what’s not.  If they’re all on the packing checklist, at least you have the option of taking or leaving the items by choice. You’re much less likely to forget something if you use a packing checklist to think ahead and review. 

Too, depending on the specific destination or event, there may be “specialty” items needed that might not be necessary for normal travel.  Passports for international travel, confirmation numbers, receipts, registration documentation are all examples of trip-specific needs.  You don’t want to forget these, so it’s best to include at least some mention of them on your packing checklist.

Weight and Size Restrictions

Baggage fees can be very expensive; oversized and overweight luggage costs even more.  We certainly don’t want to spend any more money than necessary on baggage, and depending on your mode of travel, the number of bags, weight, and size may have a maximum cap.

A packing checklist can help you prioritize the “needed” and “most wanted” items to actually carry on your trip.  Even if cost isn’t a factor, most people don’t really want to bother with heavy, excessive luggage.  Space limitations, cost, and convenience for you, the traveller are all factors.  How much will actually fit in the trunk of your car?  

Travelling Light

This is especially important for frequent travelers, but the general trend is to minimize as much as possible.  Use your packing checklist to identify those items that you absolutely MUST take.  Eliminate those items that you could or would obtain AFTER you arrive at your destination.  You can also use your packing checklist as a shopping list either for the items you want to obtain after you arrive or for items that can be purchased as “travel-sized,” “compact,” or “light-weight.”

Ideas

A destination-specific or comprehensive packing checklist can give you ideas for items you might not have considered.  An idea may be as common as a reminder to take sun-block on a tropical vacation or as unique as “hot hands” disposable warmers on an Alaskan cruise.  Just reviewing the checklist can prompt a lot of “oh, yeah” moments.

For quick access to all the downloadable and printable pdf packing checklists, check out the PackingChecklist.net Downloads page.