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All I Really Need to Know I Learned in the Security Line

By K.C. Summers
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 16, 2005; Page P08

On a recent washingtonpost.com chat, a reader asked The Post Travel section's writers and editors if we'd learned anything interesting from our journeys in 2004. "Any tips for the rest of us?" he wondered.

Well, travelers need all the help they can get these days, especially in this ever-changing travel world in which we live in, as Paul McCartney might say. So we mentioned a few things we've learned over the past 12 months, then asked the chatters to chime in with tips of their own.

The resulting travel lessons were wonderful -- funny, useful, inspiring, even. Okay, a couple were a little scary. But at least now we know not to wear overalls to the airport. Here, in no particular order, are a few things we and our readers learned the hard way in 2004.

Never connect in Chicago.

Wear socks without holes, or at least paint your toenails, so you won't be mortified when you take off your shoes in the security line.

Don't drive I-95 between D.C. and New York on any day that's even near a holiday.

Remove nipple ring and other piercings before proceeding through security. You will miss your plane while security tries to discreetly figure out what is causing the machine to beep.

Buy a box of gallon-size storage bags and use them to pack socks, underwear, shampoo and other small items. It saves time sorting through the suitcase. And if the TSA searches your bags, at least your underpants aren't all over the floor.

Do not wear overalls to the airport. You will be pulled out for a pat-down.

Never take a vacation with your in-laws where the "plan" is to be nomadic gypsies in a developing country.


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