Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Packing your carry-on

I recently read an article that addressed ways to make getting through TSA security a bit easier on you, your traveling companions and the TSA agents. That got me to thinking about how important it is to give some thought to not only what goes into the carry-ons, but how it is put into the bag. After all, if your carry-on is a jumbled mess, that makes it harder for the TSA agents to see what is in the backpack they are screening, so they are more likely to pull it, and you, for further inspection. 

 The first thing you should do is lay out what needs to go in your carry-on.  In our case, we are each checking a bag, so we want to minimize what we have to schlep for half a day at the airport before boarding, but we must include those things we need.  These things can be travel documents, cash, car keys, ID, necessary medicine, electronic entertainment devices, snacks, gum, and a change of clothes. There may be other valuables or small sized toiletries that one would want to carry on board. Anything you absolutely must have when you get to your destination should go with you as long as it doesn't contradict the OK list that the TSA makes available. 

 Once you have laid out everything to pack into your carry-on, think about what you may need easy access to versus those items you don't. You will want to put  those things in where you can get to them without having to take everything out. 

 Then load it up! Place things in neatly, following your thoughts about what you need and don't. If you have liquids or laptops, keep those where you can pull them out for separate screening without having to dig through your bag.  It's really easy when you are finishing your main packing to take anything that doesn't fit in your checked bag and shove it in your carry-on.  If you find yourself needing to do this, if you have packed your carry-on neatly, you should be able to take a moment to find a way to include it neatly, too.

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