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!

All-Marshmallow Boxes of Lucky Charms Are Back, But Not Everyone Will Be Able to Get One

Lucky Charms
Lucky Charms

Hot on the heels of a Virginia brewery's cereal-inspired marshmallow beer, another way for grown adults to feel like kids again has emerged. Marshmallow-only Lucky Charms are back—this time with unicorn and rainbow shapes. Unfortunately, only 15,000 boxes of the sweet stuff are up for grabs.

If you were already planning on treating yourself by picking up some regular Lucky Charms from your local supermarket, be on the lookout for promotional boxes that say “You could win a box of only marshmallows” on the front. The inside panels of those boxes contain codes that can be entered at MarshmallowOnly.com for your chance to win one of the rare pure-marshmallow boxes. The promotion will run through the summer, so you’ll have plenty of time to enter up to 30 codes. Here's a list of participating retailers carrying the coded boxes [PDF].

This isn’t the first time that General Mills, the maker of Lucky Charms, has held this sweepstakes. In 2015, the company gave away 10 boxes of marshmallow-only cereal (or, as it calls the sugary shapes, “marbits”). Based on the popularity of that promotion, it handed out 10,000 boxes in 2017.

"It's no secret that Lucky Charms fans love the marshmallows," Scott Baldwin, director of marketing for cereal at General Mills, said in a statement. "Consumers have flooded our inboxes and swept our social feeds begging for Lucky Charms Marshmallow Only to return. You asked, and we listened!"

If you’re not feeling especially lucky, you can buy similar versions of the marshmallows on Amazon. Retailers like Medley Hills Farm and Hoosier Hill Farm (which are apparently unrelated companies) sell one-pound bags of cereal marshmallows for $11 and $10, respectively. You can also order an 8-pound bag, or, if you’re feeling especially peckish, a 40-pound case of dehydrated marshmallows for $228. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, it's “just the right amount."

Start Your Morning Right With the Alarm Clock That Makes You Coffee

For those who can't function in the morning, a cup of coffee is key. For those who can't even function enough to make that cup of coffee, there's the Barisieur. This innovative alarm clock (now available at Urban Outfitters) awakens the sleeper with the smell of coffee and the gentle rattle of stainless steel ball bearings as the water boils.

Take sugar or milk? There's a special compartment for milk so the liquid stays fresh and cool until you're ready to use it in the morning. On the front, there's a drawer for sugar. The whole tray can even be removed for easy cleaning.

Not a coffee fan? The Barisieur also brews loose-leaf tea.

The milk vessel of the coffee alarm clock
Barisieur, Urban Outfitters

The gadget also has an actual alarm that can be set to sound before or during the coffee making process. 

This invention was thought up by product designer Joshua Renouf as part of his studies at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. Though the idea started as just a prototype for class back in 2015, Renouf managed to make it a reality, and you can now buy one of your very own.

At $445, the alarm clock is quite an investment, but for coffee lovers who have trouble forcing themselves out of bed, it might be more than worth it. Go ahead, picture waking up slowly to the smell of roasted coffee beans and only having to sit up in bed and enjoy.

Buy it at one of the retailers below:

[h/t: Design-Milk.com]

A version of this article first ran in 2015. It has been updated to reflect the product's current availability.

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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