There’s nothing worse than running late for a flight only to end up stuck in a security line. If you aren’t prepared hold ups can tack some serious time onto your journey to the gate. Here are some tips for traveling through the airport like a pro.

If you travel frequently…pay the $50 for a Nexus card. It could save you lots of time at busy line ups.

When picking a line at regular security…do a little scan to see who is waiting ahead of your before you commit to a queue.

Business people tend to sail through security much faster than families with young children do. I have also hear that newer or less frequent travelers tend to go in the middle lanes right in front of them. So you should aim for the far right or left line ups. That is if there is no one there official guiding you.

Most people should know this next one by now. All liquids and gels must be 3 oz or 100 milliliter bottles and they must fit into a 1 quart or 1 liter Ziploc bag.

The bag has to be removed from your luggage and placed in a tray at security. It’s best to keep them in a place you can easily access them. You can reorganize once you are at your gate if you want.

Electronics also need to be placed in the tray so I recommend placing all electronics at the top of your bag.

Since 2010, Canadians airports have installed full-body scanners. They show what is under your clothing so some people aren’t comfortable with this.

If you don’t want to do this and you are selected for a random scan, you can ask for a manual pat down instead. Someone of your gender will do the search, and you can request a private room with a witness.

When going through customs…be aware that the agents can ask you anything. Unlike police officers who must have reasonable grounds to ask questions like this, custom’s agents don’t. Common questions are “what is the purpose of your trip? “How long do you intend to stay?” etc.  Always be respectful. If you are difficult they have the power to ban you from entering their country at that time and even for a longer duration.

If an agent asks for your phone or computer password, do you have to give it to them? It’s a controversial legal issue, but the answer for now, is yes. You could be criminally charged for refusing.

Be sure to have your paperwork ready. Boarding passes and passports can easily end up at the bottom of a purse or thoughtlessly put in a jacket pocket. As soon as you enter the security line, have your boarding pass and ID at the ready.  It might be worth while to get passport holder or travel wallet to keep the important items separate and easy to access as you get into the security line.

Now you’re ready to breeze through the airport!

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