Flying around the holidays can be stressful. You have to deal with long lines, coordinating with relatives, and lugging suitcases stuffed with presents. There’s no magic trick for reducing airport crowds in late December, but there is one step you can take to make going through security a bit easier. If you’re traveling with gifts this year, make sure to wrap them after you reach your destination.
As WSAZ reports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) advises against bringing wrapped boxes to the airport this holiday season. Even if your blender for grandma is TSA-approved, it may set off alarm bells when it goes through the X-ray machine. When that happens, the only way for agents to clear the item is to open the package and examine it by hand—even if you’ve already covered the box with Rudolph-themed wrapping paper. This applies to presents in your checked bags as well as any in your carry-on.
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The best way to avoid this scenario is by waiting to wrap your gifts until the last minute. Of course this increases the chances of your family sneaking a peek, and it may add more stress to your pre-holiday schedule, but it’s better than having to wrap them twice. It also makes life easier for the TSA agents who have no interest in being seen as a Grinch.
If you truly won’t have time to wrap your gifts after landing, consider gift bags or boxes instead of paper. That way, agents can look inside the package without destroying it. Another option is to ship your presents to your destination so they’re waiting for you when you get there. (Just make sure your family knows they shouldn't open the boxes.)
To ensure the rest of your holiday plans go smoothly, check out these travel tips.