1-Pack Light -- With liquids, gels, and pastes being restricted to only as many 3-ounce bottles as can fit in a 1 quart zip-lock bag, the airline baggage systems are bursting at the seams. Even though you are permitted to check two bags per person, one and a small carry-on is better.
2-Gifts -- Wrap them at your destination. Taking wrapped gifts through TSA security checkpoints is almost like wearing a sign saying, "Pull me aside and give me some extra special screening." You do not want that kind of attention. Plus, you will probably have to re-wrap your gifts after the TSA screener is finished with them.
3-Jewelry -- We like to look our best when we travel, but good jewelry is metal and the arch that TSA requires you to pass through at their checkpoints are called, "metal detectors." They will detect jewelry and in most cases you will be asked to return to the unsecured part of the line, remove your jewelry, and take another pass through the metal detector. Packing you jewelry in your checked luggage is also risky. Suitcases filled with jewelry tend to get "lost" more frequently than those without.
4-Relax -- Crowded planes, uncertain weather, over-worked baggage handlers, and new security rules add to the list of things that can go wrong when you travel. Expect the unexpected. Take a good book or DVD with you and keep your stress-level low.
5-Food -- Airline food was never good, now it is almost nonexistent. Pack a few snacks in your carry-on, remembering that gels, liquids, and pastes are not permitted. Nuts, dried fruits, and jerky may not be your idea of a gourmet meal, but they satisfy your hunger pains and give you healthy alternatives to the cholesterol and carbohydrates offered by most airport food concessions.
Our wish for you is safe and enjoyable Holiday travels.