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Top 10 Thanksgiving Travel Tips

Today, the TSA issued a press release announcing a record travel season along with some tips to ease traveling through security screening checkpoints. The TSA expects 26.8 million passengers and crew traveling through US checkpoints from November 22 – December, a 4% increase over 2018.

TSA’s top 10 Thanksgiving travel tips include what to do with your leftover turkey, gravy and desserts. The TSA advises that ‘know[ing] which foods should go into a checked bag. Gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, jam, preserves, should all go into a checked bag. Why? They are not solids. Basically if you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, (say that three times fast) then it’s not a solid and should be packed in a checked bag.’

At Newark, the TSA is advising travelers to be prepared and arrive to the security checkpoint two hours ahead of domestic flights and three hours ahead of international flights.

According to the TSA:

“TSA checkpoints at Newark will be fully staffed,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “The officers assigned to the airports are very dedicated and they will continue to deploy layers of security, both seen and unseen, to ensure the safety of the public.”

While TSA concentrates on aviation security, passengers can assist by coming to the airport prepared. Below are some travel tips to make the security checkpoint experience go smoothly during the holidays – and throughout the year:

  • Unpack your bag before you pack it – at home. By unpacking your bag fully and re-packing it before coming to the airport, travelers will avoid bringing items to the airport that are prohibited past the security checkpoint. This includes knives, power tools and tools over seven inches in length; stun guns; martial arts weapons and more. 
  • Make sure electronics are accessible. Travelers can organize their carry-on bag so electronics larger than a cell phone can be quickly and easily accessed when at the security checkpoint. All personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone should be placed in bins for X-ray screening with nothing on top or below, to allow for a clear X-ray image, similar to how laptops have been screened for several years.
  • Contact TSA to find out what can go in a checked or carry-on bag. Reach out to @AskTSA on social media. Questions about what can be carried through a security checkpoint can be answered if the question is tweeted to @AskTSA or sent via Facebook Messenger AskTSA weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. Or visit any time of the day or night to access the “What Can I Bring?” feature on the top right-hand corner of the web page. Travelers can also download the free myTSA app, which also has the “What Can I Bring?” feature right at your fingertips.
  • Call TSA Cares. Travelers or families of travelers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as to arrange for assistance at the checkpoint. It is recommended to call at least 72 hours prior to traveling.

And, the TSA reminds us that fall is a good time to get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. Beginning October 2020, all air travelers 18+ will need a REAL ID-compliant license to fly within the United States. Read more on REAL ID