TSA, expert's tips for easier holiday travel

The holiday travel season will peak as millions of people hit the road to visit friends and family. For long-distance travelers who will take to the skies, increased security demands can make this a stressful and time-consuming process. However, officials with the Transportation Security Administration say there are ways to make getting through those security check points easier.

The TSA recommends these tips:

  • Have your ID out.
  • Remove your coat and shoes.
  • No belt, use slip-on shoes
  • Take your laptop out for screening.
  • The limitations for liquid still apply, the so-called 3-1-1 rule means:
  • A three-ounce bottle or less for all liquids, gels and aerosols, placed in a one-quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag to hold all small bottles; one bag per passenger placed in screening bin.
  • Exceptions to the 3-1-1 rules are medications, baby food, breast milk

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg shared additional tips on "The Early Show":

  • "Undress" before you get to the airport. I'm not talking naked, but close. Put your belt in your carry-on bag, pack the entire contents of your pockets (other than your ID) in a plastic bag, also carried in your carry-on bag.
  • Put your phone in your jacket pocket. You need to take it off anyway, but that means two fewer things to remember when you get through security because they're already in your pocket.

Traveling home with gifts:

TSA recommends:

  • Do not travel with wrapped presents-to clear the package an officer will need to unwrap and inspect the item.
  • Snow globes are not permitted in carry-on baggage.
  • Watch food items. You can't bring hot sauces or gels (like jelly or cranberry sauce). Also, no gel package containers.
  • Pies and cakes are permitted, but may require further inspection.

Greenberg suggests:

  • Who wants to wrap presents when you get to your destination? Wrap everything, then ship it three days in advance. There's a ground discount on UPS or FedEx. It's door-to-door service, no schlepping, and for about $25 more than the airlines want to charge you, it's waiting for you when you arrive.
  • Remember, that especially during this holiday period, luggage thieves don't steal entire bags. They steal individual items -- like presents -- from bags. And if you are still going to check a bag, then don't forget that when it comes off the carousel at your destination, open it and inspect it then to make sure everything is still in there. If you wait until you get home and then open the bag to discover something is missing, it's your word against the airline (or in some cases, the TSA), and you will lose.

TSA and kids:

  • There will be a modified pat down for kids under 12. Note that there is no clear definition of what a "modified pat down" is, but the general understanding of an "enhanced pat down" is that that it includes the genitals.

  • Also, kids under 12 can leave their shoes on when going through security checkpoints.

TSA and people with medical needs:

  • For travelers with medical situations, the TSA has a card that lets travelers discretely notify agents about prosthesis or other medical problems. The card can be downloaded here.