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Travel smart

March 19, 2003

These days, you have to give yourself at least an hour to get through the security checkpoints at the airport. It can take even longer if you, and your luggage, are singled out to be completely searched.

There might not be a way to avoid it, but there is a way to speed up the search--and it's all in the way you pack.

"They are going to have the opportunity to look at everything you have," said long-time travel agent Elizabeth Nichols. "You cannot lock your baggage when you check it."

"You need to be very careful that you don't take something with you that you cannot live without. Your baggage is not allowed to be locked, they have the right to, and are searching bags."

It's easy to overpack--no one wants to leave behind that favorite pair of shoes. But, Nichols says packing light is the first step toward a hassel free security check. "To me the same old adage that we've always had and that is travel light, it’s hard for women and sometimes men to do that."

So once you have decided what to take-- now it's a matter of where you place it. "Most Europeans can pick out an American because we dress up to travel. Wear your most comfortable shoes, your old ones, don't buy a new pair of shoes to go one a trip."

"Dont worry about your hair looks like, wear a hat, scarf, don't worry about blow dry, enjoy, relax let vacation be a vacation."

"Now that you know what looking for when they search bags, what's hidden in shoes, purses. Put underwear, pajamas and clothes on bottom and leave those things for the top so easily accessible and don't have to scramble all through nice clothes to get down to it and muss it up."

Neatly folded or rolled clothes on the bottom-- items like shoes and tolitries on top.  "Just little things like that, plain old fashion common sense."

"Lay what you think what you've got to have on the bed put half or two-thirds back in the closet."

"Put your socks, hose, and little items inside.  Put them in a plastic bag. "Rolling them up will make them not as wrinkled."

"If you wear the same thing every night, what does it matter? You are not going to see these people again. If they judge you or me by what we wear, are you really going to want to be friends with them anyway? Just relax and enjoy."

You can't carry anything sharp or pointed on you. You cannot lock your bags that you check, so don't carry anything irreplaceable inside. Sharp items, like scissors, tweezers, and nail files, have to be checked, and cannot be carried on.

More packing tips HERE

posted at 3:45PM by dave.miller@walb.com