So who out there just loves going through airport security? Anyone? No? I understand...it can be irritating and frustrating, not to mention a little uncomfortable depending on how friendly your TSA agent gets with your pat down. So if you still don't have TSA PreCheck (and even if you do) there are actually a few ways that you can make the whole process a bit smoother.
1. Be smart about how you pack your laptop
My life is in my laptop - I cant go anywhere without it! At the same time, I like to travel light, so I often go through security with only a carryon that contains everything I am taking on my trip. This usually consists of either a backpack or a rolling bag (depends on where I am going/what I will do there. Hiking around the Peloponnese and Santorini for two weeks? Backpack! Business conference? Roller bag). I used to have a heck of a time rooting around in my bag, pulling the laptop case out, removing it from its case, etc. Now I have a case that I can stand on its end inside my bag (no unzipping all the way) and just slide it out. This is fantastic in a backpack and makes removing my electronics a breeze.
2. Get your identification organized
Make sure you have your passport or license out, and your ticket in hand. No one wants to stand there while you fumble around in your pockets or bag looking for the items that you knew ahead of time you would have to present to the TSA agent! Plus, it takes up your time that could be better spent at the Starbucks just beyond security.
3. Bring socks
I'm sure that wearing your flip flips/sandals/flats seemed like a good idea at the time but now you have to take your shoes off and you're not wearing socks. To me thats kind of gross...I'm sure the floor gets cleaned regularly but I just cant stop thinking about who else was barefoot through there already today. This is why I always carry a small pair of socks in an easily accessible place. If I forget what I am doing that day and wear sandals I can just pop my socks on and not have to worry about a thing! Am I the only one who can't stand other people's feet? Maybe. But its still a good idea. Also, just get TSA PreCheck so you can leave your shoes on.
4. Don't wrap gifts
The TSA will probably open them and you will just have to rewrap when you land. If you know you will be seeing the recipient very soon after landing then put the gift in a bag with tissue paper. That way the TSA can inspect all they want without messing up the whole presentation and ruining the surprise.
5. Have hard copies of boarding passes
While it is very cool and convenient to have the boarding passes on your phone or smartwatch, it is very uncool if one or both of your electronics runs out of battery or has some other horrible thing happen to it. (My phones can attest to this - horrible things happen to phones) While you can go to the desk and get another one printed, it is just convenient to plan ahead and print a copy at home. This way you can still skip check in but be certain that your boarding passes are going to be available when needed.