TB Travel Tips
TB TRAVEL TIPS: THE SECURITY LINE
At the airport, a slow security line can be torturous. Even in the best situations, it's a somber, humbling experience. But if you're prepared, getting through a checkpoint and on to your destination can be relatively painless.
1) If you travel more than a couple times per year, it's probably worth looking into the TSA Pre-Check program. The process takes a couple of weeks; there's a modest fee ($85 every five years) and some paperwork, but the end result is a super-fast TSA line where you don't need to remove your shoes, hat or jacket and your laptop can stay in your bag.
2) Some airports have more than one security checkpoint, though they open and close based on traffic. Being friendly can pay off. Find a TSA agent and ask which line they'd go to.
3) If possible, put your jacket or outerwear in a checked bag. If that isn't possible, know that it will need to go through the X-Ray machine; you can't wear it through the metal detector.
4) Know the "Liquids Rule." To abide, the TSA has a 3-1-1 system. Bottles can't be bigger than 3.4 fluid ounces. (Larger bottles with less than 3.4 ounces of liquid won't make it through.) You get to bring as many of those small bottles as will fit in a 1-quart zip-top bag. One bag per person. There are exceptions to this rule if you're traveling with young children.
5) Make a mental note of all of the metal you have on your person. Belts, watches, jewelry and pocket change will all set off the metal detector. Instead of waiting until the last minute and dumping it all in a tray, find a pocket of your carry-on in which to stash everything while you're waiting in line.
6) Money clips go through the X-Ray machine, but your cash and cards should stay in your pocket. This almost sounds too simple but we've witnessed wizened men quickly unloading their pockets and relinquishing control of a thick wad of bills.
7) Traveling with kids? Talk to your children about the security line before you get to the airport. With the bright lights, machinery and uniformed authority figures, it can be a scary place if you're only knee-high.
8) If your kids are riding in a stroller, keep them strapped in until the last possible moment. Knowing how to quickly fold the stroller and get it on the conveyor belt while keeping the little one(s) from bolting off is a true test of parenthood.
9) Shoes: remember that you're going to have to take them off and put them back on again. Sometimes fashion isn't our friend. Try to wear slip-ons, flip-flops or at least a pair that's easy to retie.
10) Unless you're in the TSA Pre-Check line, laptops have to be scanned separately, but the rest of your electronics (phone, tablet, camera, record player) can stay in your bag.
TB TRAVEL TIPS: BAGGAGE CLAIM
For the most part, the baggage claim area is a happy place. Joyful reunions. Hugs. Laughter. A destination, reached. But frankly, it can also be a place of chaos and disorder.
The length of the flight is usually a barometer for the atmosphere around any given carousel. With a quick, smooth flight to a tropical destination, the vibe might even be festive and fun. But a long flight to Detroit with delays and turbulence? Better watch out.
Here are five helpful suggestions to navigate the waters around any baggage claim carousel.
1) Be mindful of others. It's great that you've reunited with a friend you haven't seen in ages, but do your hugging and catching up somewhere other than the middle of the hallway.
2) Keep a 3-foot "loading zone" between you and the carousel. You'll still be able to spot your suitcase and get it quickly but you'll also leave a buffer zone for anyone needing to wrestle their own suitcase to the ground.
3) Not everyone in your party needs to wait at the carousel. Find an out-of-the-way spot for your group to congregate and designate one or two people to shuttle bags over.
4) Remember that most large items like golf clubs, surfboards and treasure chests are delivered to the aptly named Oversize Baggage Claim area. It's different at every airport. When in doubt, ask somebody in a uniform.
5) A lot of suitcases look alike. Customize your bag with a unique luggage tag to make yours easier to spot in a lineup.