Trips to the airport can be stressful enough for a solo traveler, add a baby to the mix and one might have a nervous breakdown. Don’t be the ill-prepared parents that fellow flyers dodge in line at TSA. Instead, use these simple tricks to help you breeze through security and show up the doubters!
This is a straightforward and obvious tip; BE PREPARED. Think about security checks while packing. When you are choosing what to take in your carry-on, remember what goes where in your bag and that you may need quick and easy access to some things in your bag for security.
- Have your liquids for the baby ready to be screened. (You are allowed to take liquid over the 3oz. allowance when traveling with an infant under two.) These liquids include milk, water, juices, and purees which in some instances were screened and others not in my experience. Don’t be alarmed by a simple swab that might be taken to check for contraband. This is normal, and is far better than the days where the TSA asked mothers to drink their own breast milk to prove it wasn’t a prohibited substance.
- Pack all of your other liquids (3oz and under) together in a clear sandwich bag. These include diaper creams, medicines, balms, toothpaste, etc. U.S. airports do not require you to remove these from your bag any more, but some other international airports do, so it is just best to have them handy.
- If you are traveling with a stroller, make sure not to store a bunch of loose items in the stroller before you get to security. A messy under carriage is unpleasant for everyone, especially when you are under a little stress with a line of people behind you. With nothing in your stroller except for your baby, you can quickly and easily break down a stroller for screening and waltz through like a pro. Some will try to run your stroller through the baggage scanner and others will not – it’s best to just go with the flow, even when you know it won’t fit.
Pre-check is a beautiful thing. Not having to take off your shoes, or having to remove items from your bag helps to make your trip a little more enjoyable. It’s as easy as showing up throwing your bags on the belt, followed by the stroller (if you are traveling with one) and walking through the metal detector. It’s flying like it’s 1999.
Here is some information from TSA’s site on how to enroll in the Trusted Traveler Pre-Check program, though for the price of $85, you should instead look into Global Entry (only slightly more expensive at $100) it will also grant you pre check privileges in addition to other benefits upon a successful completed application. This lasts for five years (a steal at $20/year) and the process to renew is much easier than the initial application. Further, many credit cards will pay for global entry fees but not for Pre-Check, so go big and make your life easier.
There is always that question of whether or not to bring a stroller, and if so do you gate check a stroller or check it through to your destination at check-in. Personally, I love having my stroller for the airport and gate checking it before we get on the plane. The ability to just stroll Lucy through the whole process (with a quick and easy stroller break down at security) makes my journey less stressful. Your mileage may vary.
Still not sure? Here are some thoughts on baby wearing and strollers for more help.