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TSA Security Clearance – What to wear and not wear

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“TSA Security Clearance – what to wear and not wear?” You are probably like me and have often asked this question.  To avoid the scanner alarm, I have taken off belts, removed jewelry and unrobed down to a t-shirt – yes, I did still have my pants on!  I once heard someone in line saying, “I should just wait until I have cleared TSA to get dressed!”  While we all laughed, each of us could relate.

With all of the moaning and groaning about TSA, we must keep in mind; they have a mission and purpose to get us to our destination without any doubt of concern for our safety.  We want to be safe, and we need their help to make it happen.

What usually causes so much frustration during security checks, is the on and off, in and out of our personal items. So – there must be a way to make things simpler for TSA and less stressful for us. Taking off and putting on clothing is a significant deterrent to clearing security quickly, so the Travel Bags With Annita team asked the question – TSA security clearance – what to wear and not

What if you could ask a TSA agent “what’s the best thing for me to wear to get through security without any problems?”  Here’s what we think they would say.

  • Avoid wearing maxi dresses and full skirts.  A TSA officer will likely pat you down to make sure you aren’t hiding anything or carrying a prohibited item.
  • Some metal hair ornaments and pins (bobby pins) will set off the metal detector. If you want to wear them, keep them in your purse and put them in your hair after the screening.
  • Cargo pants, or anything with a lot of pockets – you might think your pockets are empty, but you never know what is left inside one of them.  Emptying them will take extra time to figure out where the item is located.  And, you would not want to have accidently missed a banned item like a  pocket knife.
  • Jewelry – who doesn’t want to look nice while traveling, but save it for your destination and not your actual journey. The metal will most likely set off the alarm. You’ll be asked to remove it and send it through in a separate, small container. We have seen jewelry fall out of the small containers onto the floor.  You’ll spend valuable time hunting around for lost jewelry.  Leave it in your carry-on so it is not lost and you don’t chew up time taking it off and putting it back on.
  • The same is true for watches. Better to place them in your carry-on and put them on once you have cleared TSA screening.
  • During the winter go for layers, but keep in mind scarves may have to be removed and place through the scanner.
  • Jackets and overcoats can hide item and pockets can have forgotten items inside. You will be asked to remove them and proceed through the scanner.
  • If a belt isn’t needed – don’t wear it.  I have waited for several minutes for someone to take off a belt and then to put it back on.  If it’s not needed, pack it in your checked bag and wear it proudly on vacation!
  • Wear slip on shoes for the ease of removing and replacing them.  Although you can now keep shoes on, shoes that slip on and off make getting through security much easier and less stressful.  A comfortable pair of slip on shoes is a good idea for travel regardless of TSA requirements.
  • Wear a pair of socks to keep feet clean. The airport floors have many germs, and you don’t want to meet-up with them or take them along on your trip.
  • Keep a plastic zip bag in your carry-on so you can put loose items inside.  These items may be anything from cell phones to coins.  No chance of things getting lost or spending time organizing yourself at the security scanner.

Note: Don’t give TSA a hard time. Yes, maybe the last time you were able to get through with your cargo pants, long skirt or bracelets not setting off alarms or concern, but what’s important is this time and the TSA agent you are working with now.

Many International destinations continue to have security requirements which are different from our own. They may include the number of bags you can take onboard, removing laptops and shoes.  Researching the requirements of the country you are visiting will keep you on target and on time to your aircraft and destination.

For more information about TSA click here.

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