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Carry-On 101

  • Remember the 3-1-1 rule. The TSA is strict about how liquids, gels, and aerosols must be stored in your carry-on bag -- keep it in mind when packing toiletries or any liquid medications for yourself or the kids. There's a 3-ounce maximum for containers storing liquids, gels, and aerosols, and all of these containers must fit in a 1-quart size zip-top bag. Each passenger is only allowed one of these bags and you will be asked to remove it from your carry-on and put it on the conveyor belt for x-ray screening. (Note that this rule does not apply to baby food, breast milk, and formula.)
  • Peruse the checklist of permitted and prohibited items from the TSA Web site. Good news: Nail clippers and gel or liquid-filled teethers aren't contraband.

  • Pack as much baby food, breast milk, and formula as you need. If you're traveling with a baby or toddler, don't worry about the 3-ounce container rule -- just travel with as much food as needed to reach your destination. Bring snacks for older kids. Many flights (even lengthy ones) no longer offer in-flight food service. And of course endless holiday travel delays mean you may not have access to restaurants when you expect to.
  • Do pack undeveloped film in your carry-on. But remember that film faster than 800-speed should be hand-inspected by a security officer and not be put through the x-ray machine.

Finally, if you have unusual needs or will require assistance, call the airport in advance to inquire about a private security screening. Depending on your situation, they might oblige.

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