12 Airport Security Tips to and Common Travel Mistakes

Written By: The Planet D

Summer is the busiest air travel time in Canada. Whether you’re packing for a family vacation, visiting relatives or exploring new corners of the world, an easy and stress-free travel experience starts by preparing for the security checkpoint.

These airport security tips from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) can help.

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Airport Security Tips and Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes travellers make is bringing liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) exceeding the 100ml limit in their carry-on baggage. That includes sunscreen, tanning lotion or hand cream, alcohol, maple syrup, etc. To go in your carry-on LAGs must be in containers of 100 mL or less.

security at airports

CATSA has some advice to help you and your luggage get through security quickly.

Liquids, aerosols and gels in your carry-on must be in containers of 100ml or less and fit into a 1L clear plastic bag. This includes everything from toiletries to water and homemade jam. Any larger containers, or containers which won’t fit into the plastic bag, need to be put in checked bags.

Exceptions to this policy are baby food, formula, milk, water and juice if you are travelling with your child younger than two years of age. Medications are also exempt from restrictions. Present these to the screening officer separately.

If you purchased presents to bring with you on your holiday vacation, don’t wrap them until you reach your destination, even if you do put them into your checked baggage. If their contents need to be inspected, your wrapping job will have to be started all over.

Having a properly packed bag is half the battle; knowing what to expect at the security checkpoint is the other. Being prepared for the process can get you in, out and on your way faster than you can say “vacation.”

How to Pack for Airport Security

What is and isn’t allowed

If you’re going play on land or water, there are a few rules to watch for:

–       Baseball bats, golf clubs and surfboards are only allowed in your checked baggage, but sports racquets are clear to fly in carry-on.

–       Going fishing? Poles without hooks are fine in carry-on, but those with hooks and tackle need to be checked.

–       Scuba tanks are permitted in checked bags. Consult your air carrier for other restrictions before getting to the airport.

how to pack for airport security

Have a few souvenirs coming back with you?

–       Gifts should not be wrapped as screening officers may have to open them for inspection.

–       Jackknives, decorative or ceremonial knives and multitools with blades cannot travel in carry-on bags.

–       Butterfly knives, switchblades and other illegal knives (and replicas) are prohibited and cannot go in carry-on or checked bags.

airport security tips and common mistakes

Going camping?

–       While one lighter for personal use is allowed in carry-on, lighters are not permitted in checked baggage.

–       Strike-anywhere matches are NOT permitted in carry-on or checked baggage.

–       Flammable materials – for example, white gas or butane for camping stoves – are NOT permitted in carry-on or checked baggage.

Tips to Breeze Through Airport Security

Your carry-on bag and personal items such as a purse will be x-rayed. Your cell phone, loose change, wallet and watches should be put in a jacket pocket and placed in a bin. Your laptop will need to be removed from its case before being placed in a bin. Other electronics like tablets, cameras, or MP3 players can stay in your bag.

security tips at airports

Have your boarding pass ready and make sure you give yourself plenty of time so you are not rushed during the screening process. For more tips on what you can pack and how to get through security screening smoothly, see www.catsa.gc.ca or the mobile site, m.catsa.gc.ca.

Summer is the busiest air travel time in Canada. Whether you’re packing for a family vacation, visiting relatives or exploring new corners of the world, an easy and stress-free travel experience starts by preparing for the security checkpoint. These tips from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) can help.

For everything else, here are some tried-and-true tips for breezing through security to your summer destination:

airport travel tips

Pre-Airport Security Checklist

  • Check wait times online.
  • Arrive early and allow for ample time to be screened. Keeping your boarding pass out helps the line flow quickly and smoothly.
  • Small personal items like keys, coins, cell phones or tablets should be put into your carry-on at security to keep everything more organized.
  • Laptops must be removed from your bag and placed in a bin.
  • Bring your re-usable water bottle through security empty, then fill it up after for a refreshing drink on a hot travel day.
  • When travelling with kids under the age of two, use the family Family/Special needs line.
  • Remember that baby food, breast milk, formula, water, and juice are exempt from the 100 ml limit

Visit catsa.gc.ca, CATSA_gc on Twitter, or pinterest.com/catsagc for more information.

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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1 thought on “12 Airport Security Tips to and Common Travel Mistakes”

  1. I have had a perfume taken away from me before because it was over 100ml and I was really upset. definitely familiarize yourself with the rules so that this doesn’t happen to you.