I learned this tip when we were flying out of the Burlington, VT airport, which is a small airport. In my experience, TSA screeners at smaller airports tend to be more pleasant but less efficient than their larger airport counterparts. Anyway, our belongings were scrutinized in great detail, making me glad that I arrive at airports early.
At one point, the screener who was swabbing my belongings for explosives held up a bag of trail mix and told me that if we were going to go through security again, she recommended that I remove it from my bag.
"You mean I could put that in the bins with my shoes and liquid toiletries?" I asked.
She gave me a weird look and said yes. She added that if the screeners could see what it was, they wouldn't have to unpack my bag and everybody could save time and effort. I can get on board with this plan, particularly considering that most TSA screeners I've encountered are far more talented at removing things from my bags and strewing them about than they are at putting them back neatly.
So, there you have it. If you're traveling with something that might look sketchy when X-rayed, but really isn't, put it in the bin with your shoes and toiletries. In addition to the trail mix, we've had the following items scrutinized (not all of which are ones everyone carries, I realize):
- bags of change
- blocks of cheese
- seed beads
I'll try this myself the next time I travel. I love experiencing new locations, but don't enjoy flying to them, and I'm happy to save any hassles I can.