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Packing Light, Packing Smart:
a Special Pre-Airport Checklist
By Amy Ziff,
Travelocity's Editor-At-Large

Due to new security measures at the airport, including deeper scrutiny of baggage, it might be a good idea to pack lighter than usual. Not only will this free you from schlepping around a heap of luggage, it will also ensure smooth(er) sailing through airport security checkpoints--the less in your bag, the less security staff need to worry about.

For the time being, airlines are restricting passengers to one carry-on bag and one "personal bag," which can be a purse, laptop, or briefcase. They've implemented this policy for a couple of reasons: fewer hassles at security checkpoint, and less potential for your belongings to fall into strangers' possession.

Another issue to consider is whether you can do without a laptop, camera, portable video game, and other electronic equipment. If you must bring them, airport security will have to take more time testing your equipment (simply as a safety precaution). This will take more time, for you and those waiting behind you. If you're not too concerned about bringing such items, you might save some valuable time in the process.

Of course, there are now some items you will simply not be allowed to bring onto the aircraft. One new rule passengers should be aware of is a total ban on knives and other sharp objects in carry-on luggage. Even everyday objects that used to be legal, such as pocket knives and nail files, are absolutely forbidden. Small knives such as Swiss Army knives, may be included with checked luggage, but not in carry-on bags.

If you have a medical condition that requires you to carry on syringes, be sure to keep your medicine with you as well (a good idea in any case). The medicine must be in its original container with a professionally printed pharmacy label.

Now that you've crossed a few non-essential items off your packing list, it's time to make sure you bring a few required items with you. In order to travel, you must bring:

  • A government issued photo ID for all travel, as well as a valid passport for international travel.
  • A boarding pass or paper ticket, or a printed confirmation for an electronic ticket, or an airline or agency generated itinerary confirming an electronic ticket.

(If you are an e-ticket customer, you can print out your flight information on Travelocity by doing the following: 1) Access your account. 2) Select your trip. 3) On the next page, click the "view/print receipt" button. 4) Print this receipt and take it with you to the airport.)

There are also a few things that, although not exactly essential, you might want to slip into your carry-on to help pass the increased time you'll be spending at the airport. These include:

  • A portable tape player, disc player, or mp3 player stocked will all of your favorite tunes. (Remember, these items will attract the scrutiny of security, but you may bring them.)
  • Newspapers, magazines, or a good novel. For best selection, go to your local bookstore before you get to the airport.
  • A book of word games or crossword puzzles.
  • Your journal or sketchbook.
  • Travel games, such as miniature backgammon, chess, or cards.
  • Food and drink--sandwiches, bottled water, fruit, snacks, candy, and more. By bringing your own food, you'll save money over high-priced airport concessions.
  • Moist towelettes or some other sort of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

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