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The DOs & DON’Ts of Airport Security

Without fail, there’s always someone getting their bag ripped apart at airport security. I feel bad for them when TSA throws their possessions in the garbage can.

To be fair, the rules (other than no liquids over 3.4oz) are pretty unclear & don’t seem to make much sense. Here are some items to remember and some to leave behind.


  • Make sure you’ve eliminated anything that might seem questionable. If it can’t fit in a carry on frame, leave it at home. Use common sense, things like knives & explosives have no place on an airplane. Think smaller: metal nail files aren’t necessarily prohibited anymore, but could potentially be confiscated. Eliminate the drama and just pack a cardboard file. Also leave scissors at home. 
  • If it pours out, it needs to be under 3.4oz. Keep it all in a plastic bag. This helps you pull it out easily AND keeps spills from happening. The only exception is baby formula or breast milk and medication. Present these things to a TSA agent before putting them through the scanner. I use this reusable water bottle so I don’t have to pay $3 for a drink in the airport. Feel free to pack a snack – it’s definitely allowed as long as it’s a solid snack. Think fruit, almonds, granola bars, and so on.

Pack smart at home and your check in will be quick & painless.


  • Have your ID and ticket ready to go. (I use Passbook instead of a paper ticket!) If you’re using your passport instead of driver’s license, make sure you remove it from any case or cover. Once the TSA agent checks your ID and ticket, PUT THEM AWAY. You won’t need it again until you are boarding the airplane.
  • Get in line for the scanners and start to strip. Shoes & outer layer (jacket, scarf, vest, etc) need to be removed. Leave socks & jewelry on. Take everything out of your pockets. Phone, keys, gum, receipts, tickets, ID, EVERYTHING. It needs to go through the scanner and away from you.
  • Take your laptop & liquids out of your bag and put them in a bin. All other electronics can stay in your suitcase, so can your snacks.

That’s it! You’re through! Go enjoy that flight.

If you aren’t sure if an item can be carried on, use this tool from the TSA Website to double check. It’s very comprehensive! 

Have you ever thrown anything away at airport security? Did you know you could bring snacks?!