Tag Archives: Travel

Avoid These Travel Toiletries Bag Problems

Even if it fits in the quart bag, toiletries over 3.4 ounces are not allowed through TSA

As en elite frequent flier, I always carry on toiletries. I see many people get stopped for a secondary search because of toiletry bag problems. These are the most common. Don’t let them stop you.


This bag is overstuffed. This zipper doesn’t close. It definitely will trigger a secondary inspection (i.e., full body and luggage search that can cause up to an hour delay).

Tip: Unpack non-liquid items until it zips closed. Better yet, replace it with a clean bag.

Items larger than 100 mL (3.4 ounces)

This bag looks like it might pass TSA because it’s not overstuffed and closes. But look again. That hand lotion is larger than 3 ounces. This traveler will be given the option of going back to airport check in counter or surrendering the lotion.

Tip: Remove all items larger than 100 mL or 3 ounces before checking in for the flight.

Can’t see through the bag

This bag was issued to first class travelers by American, and it is quart sized. However, that doesn’t matter because the agents at TSA cannot see through it. It will trigger a secondary inspection.

Tip: Use only clear bags for carry on toiletries.

A good solution is a heavy duty PVC ziptop bag. These bags are TSA-approved and will take hundreds of flights before wearing out (assuming you don’t over stuff the bag and break the zipper).

Pro Tip: Always carry backup quart bags in your luggage.

Travel Between Hawaiian Islands Update

What is the best way to travel inter-island? What is best depends on what you prefer. Here’s a run down of what services are available and the pros and cons of each option. 

Island hopping has changed over the past few years. Aloha and Go! went out of business, leaving two fewer jet airlines. Then the Hawaii Superferry revved its engines, adding ferry service between Oahu and Maui, but now it’s pau because it never performed an environment impact statement.


Airlines remain the gold standard for inter-island travel, and there are a few choices.


Hawaiian Airlines (website: Hawaiianair.com ) offers the most direct jet flights out of Honolulu International (HNL) to all of the other islands. If you’re starting on another island, however, you’ll likely have to connect in Honolulu. Hawaii partners with American and the OneWorld alliance.

Direct flights from the Mainland occur more frequently to neighbor islands, and ultimately, this saves the most time and hassle. Check these airlines websites: Air Canada, Alaska, American, Continental/United, and Hawaiian.

Jets are always loud, especially if you are sitting behind the wings. Consider investing in hearing protection. I always fly with Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices, White(wired, 3.5mm). On longer flights, I often layer these over Lysian 35dB Foam Earplugs. 

Pros: Fast jet service with easy connections to Mainland flights.

Cons: TSA hassles, direct flights between neighbor island cities can cost more, and long flights can damage hearing.

Pro Tip: Sit up front to get on and off in less than half hour.

Prop Planes

Inside the cabin of a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

Commuter airlines offer a more laid-back alternative. Because these airlines operate smaller planes (i.e., prop planes or puddle jumpers), they don’t use the main airport terminals. Did you catch that? No main terminals. That means no airport security hassles! It’s almost to good to be true, but it is. If you don’t mind riding in a small plane, you don’t have to bother with TSA. In other words, you can save heaps of travel time without interrupting that easy island vibe you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Commuter Airline:

  • Kona-based Mokulele Airlines (website: mokuleleairlines.com ) operates 9-seat Cessna 208B Grand Caravan turboprop aircraft.

In addition to avoiding TSA and offering more direct flights between neighbor island cities, they fly at lower altitudes than jets do, providing passengers unparalleled views of Hawai’i’s magnificent scenery – pristine coastlines, spectacular mountains, frozen lava flows, plunging waterfalls and frolicking whales. An interisland flight on a commuter airline could substitute for a costly aerial tour. Airfares are typically comparable to or less than jet service.

Pros: Frequent direct flights between neighbor island cities, no TSA hassles, killer scenery.

Cons: Small planes make for longer, bumpier rides.

Pro Tip: Ask the captain which side of the plane overlooks the land and sit on that side.

Ferry – No Longer in Service

Update: As of June 30, 2009, the Superferry is sunk. They company  filed for bankruptcy protection in May and now wants to ditch the two high-speed catarmans, leaving Hawaii taxpayers on the hook for a cool $50 million in harbor improvements to accomodate them (read recap of how the Superferry sunk).

Travel Wallets that Protect Chip Credit Cards

Credit card companies are adding EMV technology to new cards, which replaces magnetic stripes. By the end of 2015, up to 70% of new credit cards issued in the US will contain EMV chips, according to Creditcards.com, a credit card comparison website. The new EMV chips are RFID-enabled, which means you can easily buy a train ticket at any European train station kiosk. European merchants have been using EMV technology–also called Chip-N-PIN for nearly a decade, and the system has dramatically reduced credit card fraud since it was deployed in the UK in 2004.

However, EMV cards cards can also be scanned from a short distance because they operate on radio wave–offering a convenient “no contact” swipe. But this feature also makes credit card numbers potentially easy to steal. In Europe, theft is not a major problem because card issuers also require customers to enter a PIN with each chip card transaction. In the US, only a signature is required for chip cards. This is where the security problem occurs, according to a recent article in Wired.

How do you protect your new RFID chip credit cards and keep your money safe?

One solution is to surround your chip-enable cards with a Farrady cage that prevents thieves from using radio scanners to read numbers remotely. Such a device presents itself in a wide range of options, from do-it-yourself to high fashion.

You can make your own lightweight Farrady cage wallet for about 50 cents. Brian Green, author of briangreen.net, details the process in a few illustrated steps (located at http://goo.gl/beUW9a ).

DIY protection sleeve for chip credit cards. Image courtesy of briangreen.net

Travel Suppliers

Makers of travel gear have begun to produce RFID-blocking wallets for that shield EMV credit cards and also new passports containing chips. Pacsafe makes a $50 rFID-safe travel wallet in navy R<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MOF7OQC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00MOF7OQC&linkCode=as2&tag=mauih-20&linkId=X76UTAZUWELIJLV2″>Pacsafe Rfidsafe V200, Navy Blue, One Size</a><img src=”http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=mauih-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00MOF7OQC” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MOF7OQC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00MOF7OQC&linkCode=as2&tag=mauih-20&linkId=7PFDZ23ASTOFZQEQ”><img border=”0″ src=”http://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00MOF7OQC&Format=_SL110_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mauih-20″ ></a><img src=”http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=mauih-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00MOF7OQC” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

High Function Fashion

Stewart Stand makes a high-fashion line of men’s and women’s RFID-safe wallets. These wallets are lined with stainless steel mesh, which blocks RFID scanners. Their travel wallet holds a passport, up to 8 credit cards and an ID. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CBO3UBO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00CBO3UBO&linkCode=as2&tag=mauih-20&linkId=CH673YCZ3BFGH2KR