Remember the time when you could sneak all the Mountain Dew you wanted past TSA; and you didn’t have to undress to your skivvies; and your friends and family would join you at your gate for one final farewell? It’s getting harder and harder to remember those days. That is if you can remember the last time you flew prior to 9/11.

And though it’s been 11 years and everyone is well aware how drastically airport security has changed since then, it’s still easy to overlook and forget what is to be expected of us. And that expectation lies in what we bring on board. TSA will give you a seemingly endless list of prohibited items, many which pertain to the category of concealed weapons and fireworks, but what about our everyday items? What about my hairspray? My shampoo? My cold medicine?

Let’s sort this out right now – here are the biggest “no-no’s” when it comes to packing your carry-on:
– Razors
– Nail clippers
– Nail files
– Pocket knives
– Eating utensils
– Cigarette lighters
– Liquids/Gels/Aerosols

But, one of the biggest “no-no’s” also happens to be the most befuddling – Liquids/Gels/Aerosols. If you only plan on taking a carry-on to your destination, you should know all of the rules and regulations that come with your decision in order to pass TSA with flying colors. You don’t want to be stuck at security having to throw away all of your toiletries saying, “What? These rules have been in effect for eleven years?!”

When it comes to L/G/A, it has to be in a 3.4 ounce or smaller container. I know what you’re thinking, “but I can roll up my tube of toothpaste and make it look like there’s only 3 ounces!” Yes, because TSA was born yesterday. Sorry, but it’s best to take a travel sized.

But I’m sick and need to take cough medicine! Again, TSA regulates you can take 100ml or 3.4 ounces worth of liquid or gel medication. If you’re extra paranoid TSA will confiscate it, ask your doctor to write out your prescription, and notify your airline before departure. What about other prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, you ask? These are exceptions, as is baby formula.

And to make it less of a headache for all, try to fit all of your small liquid containers into one, quart-sized, zip-top bag. Travelers must remove these items from their carry-on and place them in a bin for x-ray screening.

So if you plan on taking larger quantities of L/G/A, you will have to pack them and check your luggage. Or you could always purchase what you need after the screening checkpoint.

For international flyers, there is one everyday item that airlines encourage you to bring – a pen, for like, filling out your customs form. That’s kind of like forgetting to bring your pencil to school. You should know better by now.


Photo credit: Inha Leex Hale and atache via photopin cc