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Without a doubt, airports and airplanes are going to be packed this holiday season. The TSA agrees, as they issued a release saying, “We expect that checkpoint volume will return to near pre-pandemic levels for the Christmas/end-of-year holiday travel period.”

With that in mind, security checkpoints are going to be crazier than ever since the pandemic has really slowed things down. One way to avoid long lines is to either sign up for CLEAR (if your airport and terminal offer it) and/or get TSA PreCheck.

If you are traveling with gifts, always carry on the expensive or fragile ones (as long as they don’t contain more than 3.4 ounces of liquid) and check your clothes.

In the past, I would recommend travelers not wrap their presents because if they’re flagged by the x-ray machines, either in your carry-on or checked luggage, TSA agents will rip the wrapping paper off. That’s why I suggest packing wrapping paper, scissors, and tape in your checked bag if you absolutely need to or get supplies at your destination to avoid the aggravation.

An even better tip comes from the TSA, which just tweeted: “Flying with gifts this holiday season? Instead of using wrapping paper, @TSA recommends using gift bags so if the item triggers an alarm at the checkpoint, a TSA officer isn’t unwrapping the gift to resolve the alarm. That’s how to pack smart!”

That is indeed how to pack smart so if you don’t want to hold up the line or get aggravated, this is advice you should follow.

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