TSA's Top Tips for Travelers Flying Home for Thanksgiving

Yes, you can travel with food.

Travellers Getting Boarding Passes At Check-In
Photo:

Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

There are few places more stressful than the airport around the holidays. You debated all morning whether you can pack the cranberry sauce in your carry-on, only to arrive and find a security line snaking all the way to the door. 

Thankfully, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has some tips and necessary information to help travelers navigate their trip home for the holidays and get you there in time for the turkey carving.  

As always, there are the typical Thanksgiving hurdles: Can I bring home my famous apple pie? If you're traveling with food in your carry-on, the TSA recommends keeping it in a separate, clear plastic bag. When you're passing through the security checkpoint, remove that clear bag with the food and place it in a separate bin, as it can trigger a security alarm. 

Similarly, if you’re traveling with gifts — either in your carry-on or checked bag — you’ll want to forgo gift wrap until you’ve landed. The TSA advises that they may need to inspect the gift, meaning they’ll have to unwrap it, so, to be safe, wait to wrap any presents once you’ve reached your final destination.

Still confused about what you can bring? Download the free MyTSA app. Using the "Can I Bring?" database, you can search items in the app and learn if it should go in your checked or carry-on bag. The TSA Twitter account also answers FAQs and shares helpful holiday travel tips.

The TSA recommends that travelers get to the airport early in case there are long baggage, check-in, or security lines. In a hurry? If you're looking to pass through the checkpoints as quickly as possible, the TSA suggests signing up for TSA PreCheck. Travelers with PreCheck do not have to remove their shoes, belts, or electronics — eliminating a number of touch points — and the wait is typically five minutes or less.

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