A friend recently asked for travel advice, specifically for air travel. I suggested he take the train 😜


  • The only things to take are you, the clothes you’re wearing, and one small piece of luggage and one personal item such as a purse, computer case, or briefcase. See invasive search and pissing off everyone behind you if take a backpack.
  • If you check anything, assume it will be opened and taken apart, stuff may disappear, it’ll be poorly repacked, and that’s just too bad.
  • Have your ticket and ID ready, and expect to be grilled on the information so they can verify it’s you.
  • If you see a teeny pre-check symbol on the boarding pass, use that shit.


  • Expect to be searched.
  • Expect to be invasively searched if you’re wearing a beanie or baseball cap, or if one of the TSA peeps is having a bad day, thinks you have an attitude or are medicated, wants to date you, you’ve used any personal products with powder, hand-sanitizer, or lotion or your luggage and/or personal item has any residual powder, hand-sanitizer, or lotion on it from prior use, or you have dandruff.
  • Expect to open your luggage and personal item, turn on electronic devices, that you’ll have to re-pack everything, and that everyone behind you will be pissed if you take too long.
  • Assume that the TSA will confiscate anything you bring, they don’t have to give you a reason, there is no recourse, and you’ll never get it back. If you whinge about it, see attitude (and invasive search).
  • Be comfortable with the idea that the TSA sees everything in their little X-ray device. Every curve, line, body part, hair follicle,  tumor, kidney stone, and fat molecule.
  • if you have cancer or kidney stones, see invasive search, but they won’t tell you or your medical provider(s).
  • See invasive search if your wear a tampon or feminine napkin (ladies), or Depends guard (males).
  • Don’t wear shoes with metal (see invasive search), or that will take you more than a few seconds to remove and put back on (see pissing off everyone behind you).
  • When they say empty your pockets, they mean it.
  • See invasive search if any pocket has lingering lint (see x-ray machine) or you put any lint in their tray.
  • If you wear cargo pants, see both invasive search and pissing off everyone behind you.
  • Make everything easy to recognize as yours so another passenger doesn’t accidentally snag it because the bags, electronics, wallets, and plastic bins look a lot alike.
  • Don’t bother taking personal hygiene products. The TSA hates them (no matter what their web-site says), the hotel will provide them, if asked, or you can buy some on the other side of the trip. 
  • No food or water will pass TSA screening, and expect that you cannot take anything purchased post-screening onto the plane.

If you’re traveling outside the USA, have another place to go if you’re not allowed back in.

Oh! And have fun!