How To Make It Through TSA Like A Champ

So everyone hates going through TSA, am I right? It’s literally the worst! After studying abroad 3 times, and traveling back and forth during college breaks, I would like to think that I’ve got this TSA thing down. Everyone hates pat downs, but if you’re new to flying then you’re in for a treat! With school starting and study abroad students going to their destinations, this is a good time for some TSA tips! Hopefully, this will help you because it took me a while to figure out how to make it through TSA as efficiently as possible.

5. Easy To Remove Shoes

This tip will save your life. I was definitely that person fumbling with my laces at the airport TSA lines. It was horrible! Here’s a tip: if you’re going to wear shoes with laces, make sure they are loose enough on your foot so that you can easily slip them off before going through the detector. You can always sit down and put them on when you get to the other side. If that’s not your cup of tea, and you want to get through super fast on both sides, opt for some flats or shoes with zippers. Right before putting your things in the trays, unzip them first, put your things in the tray, and take off your shoes last. This is my tip because the less time my feet stay on the ground the better.

4. Unzip Your Bags

Now, don’t unzip all your bags. Please, just don’t. That’s a recipe to get pick-pocketed. This applies to the ladies and men with briefcases. You may not know this as a non-frequent flyer, but you have to take out your laptop and iPad (or similar) devices and put them in separate trays. Now, the bag I use has two straps and I just unzip the bag and carry it to the front of me on my shoulder. When it’s go time, I can easily lift the laptop out and set it in a tray. It’s super easy and then I just put that bag in a tray, then my coat, my carry-on, and my shoes. That’s pretty much how I do it.

3. Don’t Wear Your Belt

For some reason, my jeans are always slightly loose in my hips so I have to wear a belt. I hate adjusting my pants all the time! But I never never wear a belt when I’m about to go through TSA lines. It is such a hassle to take off in the first place! And believe me, you have to take off your belt. They notice. I tried. Yoga pants are probably ideal, but if you’re wearing anything that needs a belt, pack it in your carry-on. It’s such a hassle! You should probably avoid jewelry as well.

2. Avoid Wearing A Bun

I have a lot of hair, and sometimes I just want to put it up and not be bothered with it. However, I’ve had my bun searched quite a few times when I’ve gone through TSA, so now I opt for styles that show that I’m not hiding anything. Two french braids have been my go to lately. Now, if you’re wearing a hijab or other religious head pieces, I can’t really speak to what you should do. I’ve had friends who have had their hijab patted down, and it’s just uncomfortable for everyone. I’m truly sorry for that.

1.Count The Number of Trays

This is a must. Before going through the line, or even handing your identification information, count the number of trays you will need! This will help you speed through the process, and not hold up the line. For example, if I have a laptop, a personal bag, a coat, shoes, and a carry-on. I will need about 3 trays. One for the laptop, one for the personal bag and coat, and one for the shoes. However, sometimes I can squeeze the shoes and only need 2 trays. I never put my carry-on in a tray because it’s too big and it just doesn’t make sense to do that. I do make sure I grab the right amount of trays. Normally, I look at my stuff and count while I’m waiting in line before giving my identification.

I really hope this list helps on your next journey! As mentioned before, my routine for going through TSA is laptop/iPad first, then personal bag, then coat or jacket (if I have one on), place my carry-on on the belt, then throw my shoes in a tray. I use my carry-on to push everything, making it the last thing I see before going through the detector.

For more travel posts make sure to check out this link! Studying abroad in Paris soon? We’ve got you covered. Click here for that post!

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1 Comment
  1. These are actually great tips. Especially the tip about yoga pants and slip on shoes. It’s a shame we have to do so much to prepare for TSA but this is just how the world is. I always wear yoga or sweat pants as a win win for no belts and comfy flight wear. I tend to wear slip on shoes with socks as to avoid the dirty floor. Carrying on expensive jewelry and putting it in the bin is too scary. So i just leave expensive jewelry at home and put costume jewelry in my check in. I usually bring an iPad but I do always get anxiety putting it in the tray. I am always vigilant about watching my tray. However, it’s impossible to watch while you are being patted down so It’s scary putting your cell and pricey extronics through. Sometimes I carry my passport in my hand but then they make me put it in the tray! Omg its so scary. Luckily I have had no problems with pick pockets. *knock on wood*

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