TSA AND CUSTOMS
For all TSA information for Air Travel, click on http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/index.shtm - then follow the links on the left from there.
Things that can set off the Magnetometer as you pass through: metal objects in your pockets (loose coins, keys, metal pens), jewelry and watches, under-wired bras, belt buckles, glasses in your pocket. Note to gals who wear an under-wire bra: this will ALWAYS set off the magnetometer as you pass through and will result in a small delay while they “wand” you. You might want to wear a non-under-wired bra on the days you will be flying to avoid this. It is also common now to have everyone remove your shoes and place them in a bin to send through the machine, so be prepared.
The TSA has a fairly detailed list of allowed and banned items available at: www.tsa.gov see “Permitted and Prohibited Items” under “What to Know Before You Go.” You may want to check this if you are concerned about anything special. I found buried under the Hazardous Materials section the fact that you cannot wear or take in your carry-on any CLEAR GEL SHOE INSERTS (I use these myself) they will be confiscated by Security, so pack those only in your checked luggage.
You will probably be asked for your identification several times while at the airport once when checking in, again at the security check point, and perhaps even prior to boarding on certain flights. Be sure to carry your passport on your person NEVER PACK YOUR PASSPORT IN YOUR CHECKED OR CARRY-ON BAG! ALWAYS have your passport either on your person or stored in the hotel room safe (or safety deposit box on board the cruise ship) BEFORE you leave the hotel for the airport.
Once you have passed through security, be sure to collect all your belongings. It’s easy to forget something, especially if it is still inside the scanner, so take a brief inventory before you rush off to your gate.
Remember that any beverages purchased after passing security must be consumed before boarding your plane. Prescription drugs and other medical devices must be accompanied with proof of medical need. Be sure to bring along documentation.
For current rules on carrying liquids ["3-1-1"] in your carry-on, click on: http://www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm
The following rules apply to all liquids, gels, and aerosols carried through security checkpoints.
1. All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller.
2. All liquids, gels and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag.
3. Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items.
There are exceptions for essential liquids, gels, and aerosols, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Preparing to Return to the United States
When you come back, you will need to declare everything you brought back that you did not take with you when you left the United States. If you are traveling by air or sea, you may be asked to fill out a CBP declaration form. This form is almost always provided by the airline or cruise ship. You will probably find it easier and faster to fill out your declaration form and clear CBP if you do the following:
• Keep your sales slips.
• Try to pack the things you’ll need to declare separately.
• Read the signs in the arrival area.
Sample Customs Declaration Form and Instructions:
Printer-friendly version (.pdf) of the above for 2010 Tour:
Traveler's Checklist [as it applies to the China tour]
Do I have:
____ U.S. Passport or other recommended ID for U.S. citizens? (Carry it; do not pack it) (Travel Section at U.S Department of State )
____ Green Card or document for Lawful Permanent Residents? ( U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services )
____ Entry documentation for the country(s) I will be visiting? (Is a Visa required?)
____ Only the medication that I need for my trip and in its original container?
____ Receipts or registration paperwork (CBP Form 4457) for any new electronics, such as a camera or laptop, that I’m taking with me? (Only suggested if traveling with recently purchased goods. Not necessary for goods more than 6 months old.)
____ Appraisals or receipts if I’m traveling with a lot of new jewelry?
____ An envelope to put all the receipts for my purchases? (This will make filling out the CBP declaration easier.)
____ Copy of Know Before You Go brochure? ( Know Before You Go - Regulations for U.S. Residents (pdf - 482 KB.) )
Information on items that do not have a Website address after them can be found in this Know Before You Go brochure ( Know Before You Go - Regulations for U.S. Residents (pdf - 482 KB.) or on www.cbp.gov
This page last updated January 16, 2011