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More than 26.8 million passengers and crew members are projected to pass through security screening checkpoints nationwide this Thanksgiving travel period from November 22 through December 2, which is 4 percent more compared to last year.

Fortunately, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is being proactive in releasing its top tips to ensure travelers reach their holiday destinations on time and with minimal headaches.

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It all starts with arriving early, at least two hours ahead of a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.

Travelers should also know which foods they can pack in their carry-on bag. Solid items like pies, cakes, stuffing mix and casseroles are good to go. However, looser things like gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, jam and preserves should all go into a checked bag since they aren’t solid.

Unless you’re enrolled in TSA Precheck—a five-year membership costs only $85 and includes the ability to pass through security without having to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts or light jacket—be sure to wear a pair of slip-on shoes or something that’s easy to remove in a hurry to the airport to save time since you’ll be taking them off to walk through screening.

Always listen to your TSA officers too as well as they may be directing you to a shorter line or guiding you around a slow-mover. Paying attention also reduces your likelihood of needing a pat-down, which no one wants.

Finally, if you’re wondering whether you’re planning on traveling with any prohibited items or curious as to how you should pack something, tweet @AskTSA or reach out to TSA via Facebook Messenger to find out.

The MyTSA app is also free to download and includes an easy-to-use “Can I bring” feature. Travelers can also use it to find out if there is an airport delay and whether TSA Precheck lanes are available.

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by Virgin America Flight Attendant
TJ Newman