Hit The Road
Airport hassle makes trip even sweeter
Last week, as I was packing a carry-on bag for another trip, I found myself examining the volume measurements on every cream and gel I packed. Among these items were a tiny tube of hand cream (1 ounce), a travel-size bottle of shampoo (3 ounces) and a tube of toothpaste (.85 ounce).
According to the Travel Security Administration, travelers must follow the 3-1-1 Rule: 3-ounce bottles or smaller in a 1-quart plastic zip-top bag, and one bag per passenger. This reminded me of a "Saturday Night Live" skit in which they poked fun at this rule.
"What qualifies as a gel?" one of the actors playing a TSA trainee asked. "So, like, if I chew up a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich, is that a liquid or a gel?"
Yes, it's all a bit vague.
As I zipped my carry-on shut, it dawned on me that this behavior of being aware of only buying and packing travel liquids and gels weighing 3 ounces or less, of pulling them out to go through the X-ray scanner, of being forced to buy $4 bottles of water in the airport, is becoming just as common as taking off our shoes before walking through the metal detector. I'm no longer annoyed by this inconvenience, or angry that the bad behavior of a few has completely altered the way the rest of us travel, or sad that younger generations will never be waved off from the gate at the airport by friends and family. Is this complete lack of emotion a signal that flying has become something to "get through" when it was once something I looked forward to?
Spring break is approaching, and that means thousands of youths will be traveling to celebrate a week (or more) of school-free days. What's interesting is that spring break signals a time for carefree adventures, of traveling to interesting places while we don't have to juggle the responsibilities that come with spouses, full-time jobs and children. But now, with these security advisories put into effect to keep us just scared enough to comply, we are traveling with the burden of terror hanging over us.
The only way to prevent this kind of burden from interrupting our lives is to continue to do the things we want to do and to enjoy them even more. Perhaps now that travel isn't as much of a luxury, seeing another country firsthand is an accomplishment. Managing to have the time of your life despite the attempts of others to revoke that freedom is an act of sweet defiance.
So, good luck in tracking down minibottles for all your carry-on needs, and shoes that slip on and off easily. Take a million pictures. And have the best spring break ever.
Joy Uyeno travels frequently throughout the year, and her column geared toward beginning travelers or youths experiencing their first extended stay abroad appears the second Sunday each month in the Star-Bulletin Travel section.