8 Products to Help You Get Through Airport Security Faster

iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages
iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Who would win in a race—a turtle, or a human going through the Transportation Security Administration’s airport screening process? The TSA is notoriously meticulous in making sure travelers abide by their precise rules, often resulting in long lines and impatient passengers in the terminal. Luckily, you can shorten the amount of time you spend standing in airport security lines during busy travel seasons like spring break, summer vacation, or the winter holidays just by bringing the right equipment. Here are eight products you can buy that will help facilitate the screening process and get you in your plane seat faster.

1. GlobeGear Toiletry Bag

A GlobeGear travel bag is pictured
GLOBEGEAR, Amazon

A carry-on suitcase full of liquids is a security-checkpoint nightmare. In 2006, concerns over liquid explosives led TSA to enact a rule that prohibits passengers from bringing a high volume of liquids onboard commercial aircraft. The agency refers to it as the 3-1-1 rule: 3.4 ounces of liquid per container, packed in a 1-quart bag, with one bag per passenger.

If you don't have TSA PreCheck, you'll need to take all your liquids out for inspection, and having them stashed in a convenient place is key. Luckily, the GlobeGear Toiletry kit makes it easy. Think of it as a measuring cup for travel. The leak-proof bag is exactly 1 quart in volume, and the refillable bottles that come with it are each the required 3.4 ounces. It’s also clear, so security agents can quickly examine its contents, and easy to seal and unseal if TSA agents want to take a closer look.

Buy it on Amazon for $32.99 or at these other retailers:

2. Defway RFID Travel Wallet

A defway RFID travel wallet
defway, Amazon

As you go through security, TSA agents and airline personnel want to see your photo identification, ticket, and passport, and having all of them assembled in one place will keep you from fumbling when you get to the front of the line. Defway’s RFID wallet has open pockets to make retrieval easy and also features a shield to prevent identity thieves from obtaining information from your credit cards or passport.

Buy it on Amazon for $15.

3. Ytonet Laptop Bag

A Ytonet laptop bag is pictured
Ytonet, Amazon

Taking your laptop out of your bag is a huge pain when you're also trying to juggle a security tray, your shoes, your belt, and everything else you have to take off to go through the scanner. Ytonet's laptop bag removes that hassle. The TSA-friendly travel case has a separate laptop compartment that opens flat so you don’t have to take out your computer—just open up the bag and set it on the conveyor belt. (As an added tip, make sure your devices are charged when you arrive, as an agent may ask to see them operating.)

Buy it on Amazon for $27.

4. Vans Slip-On Shoes

A Vans unisex slip-on shoe is pictured
Vans, Amazon

Struggle with getting your laced sneakers on and off at the checkpoint? Opt for slip-ons. We recommend these classic unisex sneakers from Vans, which not only slide off and on with ease, but will keep you comfortable in the airplane cabin, too. If you know you've got a long walk to your gate ahead of you, we suggest upgrading to the company's $60 ComfyCush model, which features a moisture-wicking lining, added arch support, and a sole designed to make it feel like you're "walking on a cloud." Both versions come in just about every color you could want, and in some very vacation-friendly patterns, too. (We cannot, however, guarantee that they will always land facing up.)

Buy it at Vans for $50, on Amazon, or at one of the retailers below:

5. Jasgood Nylon Belt

A Jasgood nylon belt is pictured
JASGOOD, Amazon

There’s always something vaguely disconcerting about undoing a belt in front of a group of strangers. You can skip this step entirely by opting for a metal-free belt. JASGOOD’s TSA-friendly belt is made of nylon and plastic, which won't set off any scanners. It also comes with a backup buckle in case you need a replacement.

Buy it on Amazon from $12.

6. Delsey Helium Aero Luggage

A piece of Delsey Helium Aero luggage is pictured
DELSEY Paris, Amazon

DELSEY's Helium Aero 21-inch carry-on suitcase is designed with air travel in mind. It's small enough to conform to carry-on size standards for most international airlines, and features a rare TSA-approved lock. It has double spinner wheels to facilitate omnidirectional movement, keeping you moving at a quick clip through the terminal, as well as a hard outer shell and a padded space for your laptop, so you won’t risk mashing your belongings while stuffing it into an overhead compartment or checking it. The main compartment is expandable for those prone to overpacking.

Buy it on Amazon for $110 and up, depending on color.

7. Bombax Travel Jacket

A Bombax travel jacket is pictured
BOMBAX, Amazon

Once you’ve emptied out your wallet, phone, electronics, and other accessories, you have a bin full of things that need to be collected so you can go on your way. The Bombax travel jacket comes with 10 easy-to-access pockets that will fit virtually anything you need, turning you into a walking duffel bag. There are spaces custom-designed for your phone, passport, tablet, glasses, headphones, and more. There's even a hidden inflatable neck pillow and fingerless gloves built in.

Buy it on Amazon for men and women for $76.

8. Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle

A Nomader collapsible water bottle is pictured
Nomader, Amazon

Bringing water bottles through security is a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean you need to dispose of packaged water and then purchase another bottle at the newsstand inside the terminal. The Nomader bottle folds up when empty and clips to carry-on bags, leaving your hands free. After you get through security, you can refill it at a water fountain without having to wait in line at a kiosk.

Buy it on Amazon for $25.

Of course, TSA-friendly bags and belts can only do so much to save you the headache of waiting. To really optimize your airport time, it also helps to look to your left for shorter lines, as most people tend to head right, and to check the MyTSA app for current wait times.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

This Stunning Tiny ‘Cliff’ House on Amazon Costs $105,000 (and Up)

Q-haus, Amazon
Q-haus, Amazon

Tiny houses are cheaper, simpler, and definitely more portable than full-sized homes, and thanks to online retailers, they're easier to purchase. On Amazon, you can shop for pre-fabricated tiny houses in between adding toilet paper and bed sheets to your cart. One of the latest minimalist structures Amazon has sold is a "Cliff" house with a few luxurious amenities you won't find in many conventional homes.

For $105,000, the third-party seller Q-haus will ship you its Cliff model in two ready-to-assemble modules, according to Southern Living. The 774-square-foot house is modular and can have two to three bedrooms and one to two bathrooms. The bathrooms—which are where many tiny homes cut corners—are spacious enough to house either a bath tub or a sauna. The space also boasts built-in furniture, smart-home technology, an outdoor terrace, and tall windows for letting in lots of natural light.

The Cliff is definitely cheaper than most brick-and-mortar homes on the market, but as Realtor.com warns, the Amazon price tag may be deceiving. Unless you're a skilled professional, you'll likely need to hire contractors to put the components of the home together for you. Add that to the cost of the land and the concrete foundation for the home's footprint and you're looking at a bill that's much larger than the $105,000 you'd pay up front.

Tiny homes may also seem like a good option if you're looking for new place to live immediately. But transitioning to tiny house life is rarely as easy as putting together a structure and calling it home. Zoning laws, insurance, and storage are all factors tiny home owners need to contend with before moving into their new abode.

Q-haus's Cliff design sold out shortly after it hit Amazon, and there's no indication of when or if it will be back in stock. But if you still have your heart set on downsizing your lifestyle, there are plenty of tiny dwellings available on Amazon for much cheaper prices.

[h/t Southern Living]

This Convenient, Comfortable Travel Pillow Doesn’t Wrap Around Your Neck

Manuel-F-O/iStock via Getty Images
Manuel-F-O/iStock via Getty Images

If an angry bit of airplane turbulence has recently whammed your forehead into the window, you probably have the bruises to prove that sleeping on the go can be a dangerous game. Though neck pillows can offer some security, not everyone’s a fan—some people can’t sleep totally upright, some don’t think it provides enough support, and others simply don’t like the feeling of a plush toilet seat curled around their necks.

For those people, there’s the Ostrich Pillow Mini, a tiny, oblong pillow into which you slip your hand, forearm, or elbow, depending on what’s most comfortable for you. It will stay in place and protect your head from airplane turbulence in a way that no balled-up, threadbare hoodie ever could, but it’s not just for those lucky winners (or purchasers) of window seats. You can use the pillow wherever you might be inclined to rest your head on top of your arms, including plane or train trays, piles of library books, and office desks. One Amazon customer even used the pillows as elbow pads to protect himself from unforgivingly hard arm rests.

Ostrich pillow mini
Amazon

Since the Ostrich Pillow Mini essentially works as an extension of your arm, you don’t have to stay stone-still while you sleep. As Travel + Leisure’s Claudia Fisher puts it, “Sometimes, I even wake up from a nap to discover I’ve shifted in my sleep but brought my little arm pillow with me to support my head in its new spot.”

In addition to its main opening, the pillow has two other holes. One is a small, finger-sized opening through which you slide your thumb if you’re keeping the pillow on your hand. The other is a larger hole at the other end, through which you slide your hand if you want the pillow to stay on your forearm or elbow.

Ostrich pillow mini
Amazon

It’s compact enough that you can easily fit it into your carry-on bag, backpack, or briefcase, and understated enough that you can power nap in public without drawing attention to yourself. The outer layer is light gray, and the inner layer comes in Midnight Grey, Blue Reef, or Sleepy Blue. You can order it for $35 from Amazon.

Check out some other ways to make flying more comfortable here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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