Be An Airport Security Expert

There’s nothing worse than waiting in an airport security line. Time seems to stop when you are there. You are left standing cursing yourself for not coming earlier… wondering what if your plane will actually take off on time for once… if they will wait for you in case you don’t make it through the line… Well, have no fear my friends and globe trotters, we are here to give you some tips and tricks to breeze through airport security like nothing at all.These tips have been gleaned from frequent flyers the world round and brought to you through the wonders if the internet.

  • Empty your pockets of loose change.  Wallets and cell phones should go into one of those little bins they provide also.  Remember heavy watches, bracelets, and belt buckles can set of the alarm, so take those off, and stow them in your carry-on bag before you get to the front of the line or put them in the bins.
  • Consolidate books and snacks so you won’t have as many things to gather back together once you’ve been screened.
  • In the United States, you have to take your shoes off.  Slip-on shoes will come off and go on faster.  Zippers and laces will slow you down… have your shoes untied or unzipped before you get to the front of the line.  (Take care when you put them back on that you don’t trip before you’re put back together!)
  • Have your one quart/one liter plastic bag with your liquids, creams and gels out of your carry-on, and put it in a bin.  Remember each liquid should be 3 ounces/100 ml or less, right?  There shouldn’t be any loose liquids in your carry-on bag.  If you have “medically necessary” liquids or baby food, in most countries, those can be outside of your plastic bag allowance, but you must notify a screening officer.
  • Have a plan when you put things into bins on the screening belt.  If you put things through the screening in the right order, you’ll be able to put yourself back together faster afterward.  Here’s a good way to do this.
  • First put your shoes, coat and your carry-on “personal item” (usually your smaller bag) in the first bin.   They will come through the x-ray first, and you can be putting them back on while you’re waiting for your other items to be screened.
  • If you’re carrying a computer, put your carry-on bag for your laptop in the bin ahead of your computer, then when your computer comes through, you’ll have the laptop bag ready to slip the computer right into it.
  • If it’s going to take you a long time to put your shoes back on, collect all of your belongings and move to the side so the line doesn’t get jammed up.  There are usually a few chairs against a wall nearby where you can sit down and put yourself back together.You will annoy your fellow travelers AND the screening agents if you stand there and try to put those shoes on…. leaving your bin on the screening belt with others backing up behind yours.  Airports report that almost half of all security checkpoint bottlenecks are caused by people putting themselves together after screening without moving to the side…. don’t let this be you!

Now you know. You have everything you need now to be an expert in the security lines. You should have no excuse for getting yet another strip search and missing your flight. Unless that’s your kind of gig… then who are we to judge?

Who Needs A Passport?

It has come to our attention that many people have little or no idea what exactly a passport is.  Have you ever wondered yourself “What in the world is a passport?”  It might sound crazy, but a ton of Americans don’t actually own their own passports!  They think a passport is a difficult thing to get, and they are too scared by what the read on the news to bother getting one.  For most of us Globe Trotters, a passport is matter of fact. However this little fact is quite the opposite for much of the world, America in particular.

The United States is a large, diverse country.  People can and do live their entire lives without leaving its borders.  There’s plenty to see and do here.  There is, in fact, a large percentage of Americans that don’t travel internationally.  I’m not sure there is an official count on this.  I’ve read all kinds of statistics but a conservative estimate seems to be that 75% of Americans don’t own a passport.

So for those Americans and any others who are unclear on this, let’s get really basic… what exactly is this document?  To quote the United States Department of State, “It is a document issued by a country to a citizen of that country, allowing that person to travel abroad and re-enter the home country.”  There’s a government definition for you!

Every country in the world issues their own.  Citizens of all countries need passports to travel out of their country and into another.  There are exceptions, but that needs to be addressed in another article.

The format is generally a small booklet about 3 inches by 5 inches.  At the front there are the official identification pages that contain your name and your officially affixed photo.  (You supply a 2 inch by 2 inch photo when you apply).  This page also contains the information on your birth date, where you were born, when and where the document was issued, when it expires, and that all important passport number.  You must sign it when you receive it for it to be valid.  In the United States, they are valid for ten years for adults, and they’re valid for five years for children 15 years of age and younger.

The pages that follow are empty waiting to be used for exit and entry stamps.  Those empty pages are also used for formal visas if they are required.  (Again, that will take another article.)

When you’re leaving the United States, there is no government document control station.  Your passport (and visas) will be checked for validity by the airline you are traveling with.  When entering a new country, the Immigration Officer will check your documents.  They may stamp it with the date of your entry.  In most countries you are allowed to visit for a limited amount of time (generally thirty days) without officially applying for an extended visit, so this stamp marks the start of your visit.

The Immigration Officer will check that date at your departure and stamp you out.  For most travelers, these stamps are great memories of their travels.

O.K. maybe you knew most of this.  It’s just good to understand everything when you’re planning your first big international trip.  So now that you know what a passport is, you can move on to getting one and planning your itinerary!

Bring the Right Luggage on Your Next Journey

When planning a trip away you will need to give some thought to what type of luggage to take. Things to keep in mind are your means of transportation, the length of your trip, and your accommodations when you get there.

To a certain extent, your means of travel will determine the bags you bring. Different kinds of transport allow you varying amounts of space for your possessions. For instance, most airlines allow you to check one or two pieces of baggage and also let you carry one bag onto the plane. There are similar restrictions on trains and buses. Don’t forget to verify luggage information with your airline, train or bus prior to departing. If you are making your journey by car, your only restriction is the size of your vehicle.

The length of your trip will be another obvious factor in what luggage to take. A weekend trip will only require a small carry all. It’s unlikely that you’ll need to pack the same amount of clothing as you would if you were going to be gone for a few weeks.

Where will you be staying when you get to your destination? You’ll have to keep your luggage somewhere, so be sure to give this some thought before you leave. Will there be somewhere you can wash your clothes? If this is the case, you will not need to take as many clothes with you so smaller bags will do quite nicely.

If you feel that your accommodations don’t have adequate security, make sure your luggage locks. And be sure to properly identify your luggage. With a customized luggage tag, you should be able to find your bag quickly after it’s been unloaded. It also makes it less likely that someone will accidentally walk away with your bags.

And consider the frequency of your travel plans prior to purchasing new bags. Maybe this is your first journey and you are not planning to go away again in the near future. If that’s the case, just borrow some luggage from someone you know.

However, if you are a globetrotter, you should buy the best luggage you can afford. Select strong, durable bags that can take a lot of abuse. Bags can often take a beating when being thrown around during the handling process. There’s nothing worse than a broken zipper or a seam coming undone when you are in the middle of the airport or staying at a place far away from home.

Page 18 of 18« FirstPrevious«1415161718