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Don't let security slow you down: TSA's 4 key tips for holiday travel at LAX

A passengers is checked by a Transportation Security Administration(TSA) officer at Baltimore-Washington International Airport's security screening checkpoint on April 28, 2008 in Linthicum,Maryland. The Department of Homeland Security unveiled a Checkpoint Evolution prototype that went into service today. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards  (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
File: A passenger is checked by a Transportation Security Administration officer at Baltimore-Washington International Airport's security screening checkpoint on April 28, 2008 in Linthicum, Maryland.

An estimated 3.5 million travelers will pass through the Los Angeles International Airport this holiday season, according to Los Angeles World Airports, and if you're one of them, getting the lowdown from TSA can save you time and stress.

“We are always on the highest state of alert,” Nico Melendez, TSA spokesman, said. “We always have to find that one anomaly, that one bad guy trying to introduce something into the aviation system, and that’s every day of the year, no matter what’s happening in the world."

Since TSA is always on high alert, there are a few extra things to consider so your holiday isn't slowed down by security: 

  • Delivering gifts? Don't wrap them. While wrapped gifts are allowed, if they need to be inspected by security, TSA may have to open them. "Wait until you get to where you’re going to wrap your gifts,” Melendez said.
  • Traveling with food? Double check TSA's list of foods that are allowed to travel in carry-on bags and those that need to be checked. 
  • Remember the liquids rule. TSA's liquids rule is important to remember when packing a carry-on bag. A carry-on is allowed to have a quart-sized bag filled with 3.4 ounce items of liquids and gels, like shampoo and toothpaste. 
  • Arrive early and expect to wait. Melendez said that, like a mall, the airport at Christmastime is filled with more people than usual. This means that arriving at least two hours early for domestic flights and expecting to wait in line are important for stress-free travel.

Melendez said that preparing is key, and the best way to do that is by visiting TSA.gov to read up on all of the post-9/11 security measures. 
“Lack of knowledge is not a reason for not being prepared, because there’s a lot of knowledge out there; a lot of information out there that we’ve made available, and we’re always ready to answer your questions,” Melendez said. 

TSA's website, along with its MyTSA smartphone app and its Twitter, have outlets to find answers to various travel questions, including whether other items are OK to stow in carry-on or checked bags.