How to Get Through the Security Line Efficiently

How to Get Through the Security Line Efficiently

Please note that some posts contain links that earn me a small commission to help keep the site running.

The actual act of traveling can be a big hassle these days, especially if you’re flying. Getting through the security line can be stressful and leave you feeling rushed with all the different things you have to take off and take out of your bag. But if you show up organized and know ahead of time what you need to do, things will go smoothly, and you’ll feel a little more relaxed. Here are my tips for getting through the security line with a little less stress.

Packing for Easy Access at the Security Line

When you pack your bag, put your liquids bag at the top of your suitcase or backpack. If it’s easily accessible, you’ll be able to pull it out quickly when you get to the front of the security line instead of having to dig through all your clothes looking for it. In most cases, you will also be required to take your laptop out of your bag, so pack that where you can easily reach it too.

security line

Know What is Prohibited

It’s important to know what items are prohibited and restricted, so check the regulations ahead of time. Don’t try to bring anything prohibited no matter how harmless you might think it is. Same goes for your liquids. Stick to the allowed amounts and don’t bring any liquids that are more than the allowed amount.

Remember that restrictions change frequently, so check again before your next flight.

At the Airport

Have your ticket and ID ready when you get to the agent who checks IDs. Afterwards, put them back in a secure place before going through the screening part of the line. Your boarding pass and driver’s license or passport are not things you want to throw loose into the bin.

security line

In the US, and a few other countries, you will be required to take off your shoes. Wear shoes that are easy to take off and quick to put back on. I also recommend wearing socks so you don’t have to walk barefoot on the cold, dirty floor.

Take everything out of your pockets, take off your belt, and take off your watch if it’s metal. They usually have small bowls you can put things like loose change into to go on the conveyor belt. They will also ask you to take off your coat or sweatshirt, so do that ahead of time too.

Once my stuff comes through the other side of the screening conveyor belt, I like to put my shoes on as quickly as possible and then take the rest of my things over to a nearby bench or chair. If you try to repack everything right there in the screening area, you can easily get in other people’s way. You’ll also feel even more rushed. Too many people in that area also means you might be getting in the way of the security agents.

These might seem like simple tips, but they will go a long way towards getting you through the screening process at the security line quickly and efficiently. If you’re organized about it from the beginning, you’ll feel less stressed and less hassled. And it’s always nice to start a vacation feeling calm so you can focus on the good stuff – getting excited about your trip!

Carry-on luggage other Travel Made Simple readers have purchased:

carry-on chart luggage travelprocarry-on chart luggage briggs riley3-samsonite4-ospreyluggage scale6-gotoob

You might also enjoy:

How to Get Through the Security Line Efficiently

Sign up to...

  • Get a copy of 11 Mistakes to Avoid on Your Next Vacation
  • Get regular emails with travel deals and tips
11 Mistakes to Avoid on Your Next Vacation
Please note that some posts contain links that earn me a small commission to help keep the site running. Read the affiliate disclosure here.
Share the travel tips with your friends!
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponPin on PinterestEmail this to someone


  1. Maria

    Simple tips, true. Easy to remember? Yes, but more easily forgotten.

    Always good to review ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Gillian @OneGiantStep

    I have a rule of ‘everything has its place and everything in its place’ – this means I ALWAYS know where my passport is. I check frequently and know instantly if it’s not where it should be!!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Exactly. Your passport is the most important thing you have with you, always know where it is. Thanks Gillian!

    2. Wayne Ruffner

      One old dodge: “Sir, did you lose your wallet? I found this one here!”, then you pat your pocket, feel the lump, “No, thanks, still have mine.” For now…

      So realize too that constantly checking can inform others where you keep your important stuff.

      1. Author
        Ali Garland

        Thanks Wayne, good point! Good to know where everything is and not let the rest of the world know.

  3. Jennifer

    I really think they should have an experienced traveler line at the airport. I always seem to get stuck behind the people that wait until they’re at the very front of the line to start taking out their liquids and taking off their shoes. You have nothing to do while standing in line; it’s a great time to be getting ready.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      The Atlanta airport actually has one that’s called the expert traveler lane (though I don’t know if that’s official or just what frequent fliers call it) and it still happens there. I think part of it is that there are so many rules and if you don’t fly often, you can easily lose track of all the ridiculous things we have to do now to get through security.

    2. Wayne Ruffner

      Check out the TSA’s “Pre Check” system. It works pretty good. Streamlined scrutiny, not as much hassle, and, best of all, only other experienced travelers are in there too.

      Much faster.

      1. Author
        Ali Garland

        Definitely sounds like a good option for frequent travelers!

  4. Christy

    Great tips! I’ve gotten really good at going through the airport security line. I even help Scott pick his stuff up after we go through because I’m quicker than him. ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s always wearing a belt and carrying change/wallet/etc. I try to keep it simple.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks Christy! It’s funny, I think the security line is one of the few places where guys end up taking longer because women generally don’t have change and wallets and things like that in our pockets. Glad you can help him out!

Leave a Comment