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Traveling for the holidays? Here's what you need to know

TPA is experiencing record passenger traffic this holiday season. Be prepared!

Tampa International airport is expecting a busy holiday travel season, already posting record passengers numbers during the Thanksgiving period, which saw a 9.5 percent increase over the same period last year. Here are some tips for both passengers and pick-up/drop-off drivers to help ease the congestion and make your holidays a little less stressful in 2018.

Arrive early – nothing can stress you out over the holidays like running late, so plan ahead. Allow at least two hours for parking, check-in and screening if you are traveling over the holidays. Early mornings and weekends are especially busy, so don’t take a chance-allow extra time.

Plan your airport visit ahead of time – select your airport parking option before coming out to the Airport. If you’re picking up arriving passengers, review the latest pick-up tips.

New this year - the Economy Parking Garage and Rental Car Center are now connected to the Main Terminal by the SkyConnect train. Also, the levels of the Long Term Parking Garage are being renumbered to account for two additional floors added for public parking. Please note the level and row you are parked on.

Wrap on arrival – TSA recommends that you wrap on arrival to avoid delays at screening. Packages can be wrapped, but if an item cannot be cleared through the initial screening and needs to be further evaluated, unwrapping can cause delays.

Baggage allowances – Baggage allowance, size and weight of accepted bags, and fees vary between air carriers. Check with your airline for a complete list of baggage restrictions before packing.

Review screening procedures – if you haven’t traveled in a while, it’s a good idea to visit the TSA website and review current screening procedures and the list of restricted items. Traveling with food and gift items is popular this time of year, and the 3-1-1 restrictions for liquids, aerosols and gels still apply.

Check out the TSA website for more information, or if you have questions about:

  • Identification for children under 18, lost ID, or list of accepted forms of ID
  • Complete list of prohibited items including what is allowed in carry-on vs checked baggage
  • Traveling with medication, medical devices and accessories

Double Check - If you’re grabbing a bag, suitcase, briefcase, jacket and other items you haven’t used in a while, be sure to give them the onceover so you don’t accidentally take something prohibited through the checkpoint. Many people who have brought guns, ammunition, knives, and other prohibited items say that they did so unknowingly.

Safety first! Traveling can be stressful, especially during the busy holiday period. By staying aware of your surroundings and keeping a close eye on your property, you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of theft while traveling. Take a few minutes to review these important reminders. A little preparation time now, could save you a great deal of time replacing stolen property later.

  • Write down the location of your vehicle and the license plate number in case you need help finding your car when you return.
  • Secure your vehicle and do not leave valuable items in plain sight.
  • Never place valuable or irreplaceable items inside checked luggage.
  • Always keep an eye on your belongings and never leave them unattended-even for a moment.
  • Identification and luggage tags are very important, however the outside tag can be ripped off and removed. Ownership information and a copy of your itinerary should be inside the luggage.
  • If possible, do not carry your wallet in your back pocket. Place your wallet in the front pocket of your trousers or inside a jacket breast pocket.
  • Make photocopies of important documents such as passport, credit cards and driver’s license, front and back. Carry one copy with you and leave the other at home.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the Tampa Airport Police Department.