August 11, 2006 Brampton, Ontario - OK, so the rules governing travel changed overnight. There is no sense in letting the sweeping new luggage restrictions ruin your annual vacation. Staff at international airports around the world are doing their best to devise new regulations and lists of restricted items in an effort to protect travelers. Give them a break as they try to cope with their new responsibilities.

Professional Organizer Karen Sencich, owner of Havoc to Harmony, recommends that travelers develop a process to deal with the changing restrictions and carry on with their plans. A little advance planning at home may make things smoother at the airport. She shares tips for travelers to consider during these changing times so that they can be prepared for additional restrictions once they reach the airport.

Be Informed

Check the Transport Canada website for the latest updates before leaving for the airport. They are doing a terrific job of keeping the public informed.

Packing Restricted Items

Liquids have been banned from onboard carry on luggage but can still be packed into checked luggage. Assume that banned liquids and gels can be interpreted to include stick deodorants, lipgloss, hot/cold gel packs for pain relief or even gel filled teething rings and other items not specifically listed. Save yourself the hassle of having to repack at the airport by finding alternate ways to pack all grooming aids and toiletries.

We used to carry on grooming aids due to fear of liquids seeping into our checked luggage. Purchase leak proof containers such as the "Nalgene" brand that inhibits bacteria growth and decant your favourite grooming products into these travel sized containers. They are available at organizing stores. Ensure that the twist on caps are secured on any liquids you pack.

Enclose anything that could spill or leak in a zip-lock bag for added protection or to further immobilize these products try a "Pack-Mate" bag to vacuum seal everything in an airtight package. It takes up less space.

Personal Security Measures

Electronic gadgets such as cell phones, I-pods and laptops are currently on the restricted lists at many non-Canadian airports. As a precaution, ensure that your files have been recently backed up and carry hardcopy list of important contact information with you. Also carry your laptop in a properly padded carrying case in the event that it must be checked at the last minute.

Carry extra luggage locks or several sturdy cable ties to secure checked baggage. Check with your airline carrier for any restrictions to locked luggage.

Develop a plan for securing important documents such as ID, passport and travelers cheques. One travel solution is a safe pouch that can be worn around the waist or neck.

Carry an extra key chain for your house keys in the event that your car keys with electronic remote device might have been added to the restricted list in your absence.

Time Management

Delays at the airport won't be a problem if you manage your time wisely. Allow extra "wiggle" room in your schedule by arriving at the airport early. This will be especially important for business travelers used to carrying on all of their baggage.

Dress everyone in slip on shoes instead of lace ups in order to get through the security check quicker.

Fill up on food and drinks before going through security. Determine if there are any snack items that can be carried onto the plane.

Bring along activities to keep your family busy while you wait: reading material, word search or Suduko puzzles and small toys.

Avoid the stress response to these new restrictions. Keep in mind that what we lose in convenience and comfort we gain in added security. Smile at harried ticket agents and security personnel. Your travel plans might have had a wrinkle added but their job descriptions changed over night and they deserve some sympathy.


Karen Sencich - Professional Organizer
Owner of Havoc to Harmony
Cell phone - 416-930-3340


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Tackle it Now Tip

Hints for Handling Your Gift List

How do you handle your holiday wish lists? Sometimes the simplest hints are the best. For years I have been using the same easy to implement method.

  • I purchase the tiniest address book I can find and assign one page for each person on my guest list.
  • I record their sizes, colour and style preferences.
  • I include family members, friends, hairdresser and all service providers.
  • I keep the list inside my wallet so it can quickly and easily be updated.
  • Information for stocking gifts is also recorded.
  • I can frequently review what I have purchased to keep my budget on track.
  • As I wrap gifts I check them off!
  • If certain gifts need to be hidden I record where they were put.
  • I also list ideas and purchases of hostess gifts to keep on hand.

There are many benefits to this system. It is lightweight and portable, but most importantly since I keep the lists year after year, it helps me to prevent repeating gift ideas. Who wants to get a sweater or tie year after year?


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