Last updated: 10:00 AM ET, Fri October 30 2015

Travel Chill Pill: Tips and Tricks For Making TSA Checks a Breeze

Travel Technology | Gabe Zaldivar | October 30, 2015

Travel Chill Pill: Tips and Tricks For Making TSA Checks a Breeze

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Maneuvering past the TSA is quite possibly the most frustrating part of travel, aside from figuring out how to gently wake the guy sitting in the aisle seat because the free coffee is kicking in.

Sadly, going through the TSA security check is a bane of every traveler, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

We have to grin and endure it all together. However, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the aspect of travel that mandates you slightly undress in front of strangers.

Here are a couple you might consider. Please feel free to offer up your own tips if you have any, because we would love to hear them.  



Available on both iOS and Android MyTSA is your simple, easy-to-use smartphone app brought to you by the Transportation Security Administration itself.

In one simple tap, you can find out whether the airport you are headed to is TSA-Pre approved and whether that shampoo bottle is small enough to pass through.

Not only that, the app offers approximate delays that will certainly befall your travel the moment you queue up for TSA.

Airport status, wait times, weather and a handy guide are all included in the free app.

Solve the tedium with this digital solution.

More Apps:

The above official app isn’t the only way to wade past frustration on your next trip. Similar software is offered by Gate Guru and iFly Pro.


Perhaps the most extensive TSA tip is to get pre-approved in a number of ways, allowing you to skip past the usual manner of safety checks.

The best part is you get to keep your shoes on; all that is mandated is a relatively nominal fee, an interview and patience.  

TravelPulse’s Rich Thomaselli does a fantastic job of walking you through the particulars behind the most popular ways to get pre-approved through TSA: Global Entry, Nexus and TSA Pre-Check.

What it boils down to is taking the time and money to get Global Entry approved. It’s $15 more than TSA Pre-Check and mandates a passport but you fly right through customs.

As Thomaselli explains, “You can go straight to a Global Entry kiosk without filling out any forms. Insert your passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration.”

Old School Hints:

The purpose of the above is to take a modern look at TSA, but the most important tricks tend to be very low on the technology scale.

Travel comfortably, but make sure your shoes are easily managed. While in line for TSA, I use my time to stuff the contents of my pocket into my carry-on bag. It’s an insanely easy tip that I notice goes ignored by many.

And if you are bringing a laptop or items that need to be screened, keep them to the top of your luggage, easily accessible.

Now if everyone in the world could do this, we might just get to our flight on time.


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