Sunday, August 27, 2006

Carry on Baggage and my compliance struggles with TSA

Category: [Travel Business]

Well, here it is, it is time to do some business travel again. This is the first for me since the 8/10/06 London incident and I have to alter my plans. A little background, if you will.

I am a fairly frequent business and personal airplane passenger and have had to alter my routines, as every does, to overcome the TSA restrictions that keep adding up like a 5th grader cramming for his math tables exam. Carry on baggage is the way to go for the multiple city stops (not connecting flights, but actual de-airport and have meetings and return), because it shaves an hour or two off per travel instance. Additionally, you don't have the stress of lost luggage, late luggage, mis-routed luggage, man-handled luggage, and stolen luggage. These stresses are replaced by a single 'will-there-be-enough-overhead-space?' related mental anguish. Being a high grade in my airline miles program, I can board first and do not have that last stress, but it may be something you need to consider when trying to pack light and utilize the carry-on only playbook.

Back to point, the TSA restrictions are held here. Basically, no liquids or gels. This translates to shampoo, toothpaste, cream based chapstick (airlines will give you chapstick even when going between Hawaii and Singapore [humid places]), and etc. Shampoo is provided in hotels, I use solid deodorant and solid chapstick, but the toothpaste thing baffled me. I set my mind in motion to overcome this restriction and keep in line with my carry-on only policy.

The first thoughts put me in a terrorist camp and gave my ethical mind a problem. They were to attempt to hide a little gel within a non-metal container on my person. However, if I had been noticed, it may have incurred additional problems when extra-screened by the TSA. The first excuse of smuggling toothpaste may fall on deaf ears and I'd be an immediate suspect. I do not recommend this course and urge you to keep reading.

The next thought was 'How about using my ronco beef jerky machine to dry out my toothpaste and add water?'. Instant Toothpaste, sounds like an ACME corp. product straight out of the road-runner cartoons. I liked the thought, and the idea that my thoughts are not original and set out on a web search to find a dry toothpaste "Just Add Water!".

Finding it would be half the battle, the other half is that I set out tomorrow and mail order would not suffice. The last ditch effort would be to skip the packaging of the toothpaste and buy a sample size at my destination. However, I stumbled across a Tooth Powder product by Eco-Dent online. Continuing searching, I found multiple places where it could be mail ordered. Amazon for instance:

However, at the manufacturer's website they are short on details of where a person may walk into a mainstream store and purchase. I did notice a natural food store and queued up the ideas: Whole Foods, Henry's Marketplace, and possibly Trader Joe's. I Set out on my way to shop in thar order and had found the product in Whole Foods for about 6$.

Now I leave tomorrow with some hopes... I hope the toothpaste is an acceptable quality. I hope I didn't forget any other cream, liquid, or gel based product that is in my ritual. Finally, I hope that this restriction is lifted soon, because the lack of hair gel may get problematic when my hair grows a bit more and I step into a humid place like Singapore.


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