One of my favorite aspects of being a travel writer is receiving correspondence from readers. Some write to offer suggestions for my guidebooks, others pose questions about family vacations they're planning to take, and still others contact me to share additional travel tips pertaining to my articles and blog posts.
That's exactly what happened last night.
While working on the second edition of my Moon Florida Keys  guide, I received an email from a reader named Grant, who had apparently read my post about protecting electronic gadgets from airport security , at the bottom of which I'd asked readers to share any additional advice for travelers. Happily, he did in fact have two excellent tips to share:
ᴥ We mark all checked luggage and all hand-carry bags with a common color ribbon.
ᴥ If I am traveling with someone through an airport, one of us holds all bags and electronics. The “free” person (i.e., no bags to scan) goes through first and waits on the other side of security at the end of the baggage scanner conveyor system. The baggage holder goes second. If the baggage holder gets stopped for any reason (a more through inspection), the free person on the other side of security is there to pick up the bags and electronics that are not stopped/inspected. Otherwise, all of the bags that passed through the scanner are sitting at the other end of the conveyor system unguarded for anyone to walk off with (intentionally or accidentally) while we are being delayed on this side. With so much luggage looking the same, even if we see them pick up a bag, is it ours or theirs? Will security stop them to check?
In my email response to him, I told him that both suggestions were great, although I did point out that it might be difficult for solo travelers (as I sometimes am) to follow his second piece of advice – unless, of course, I managed to make a friend in the security checkpoint line. To that, he added:
ᴥ Regarding making a friend in the TSA  line... I have sometimes thought it may be a good strategy for exactly the scenario you mentioned. If traveling alone, find someone who looks like they are carrying a laptop (so they can appreciate your idea), or someone who looks “safe,” like a mom or an elderly (but not frail) person. You may have to let people go ahead of you in the security line until you find the “right” person. Explain you want to be on the other side when your laptop or carry-on goes through, so it does not get stolen or mistakenly picked up by the wrong person. Would they mind placing it on the conveyor belt for you? Anyone, even if they are not carrying a laptop or carry-on case, can instantly appreciate the idea and may ask that you watch their case while they are going through security. One good turn deserves another.
“I have not done this,” Grant admitted, “but I have thought this may be an option.”
So have I! After all, when flying alone, fretting over what might become of your belongings while waiting to go through a security checkpoint is a legitimate concern. So, thanks for the advice, Grant – I really appreciate it, and hopefully, so do my other readers!
For other advice regarding airline travel, take a look at my previous posts about avoiding hidden airline fees , securing laptops , safeguarding electronic data , dealing with busy holiday weeks , handling flight cancellations , and protecting electronic devices .
And, of course, I have to ask... do you have any additional tips regarding airport security and other aspects of airline travel?
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below, contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com, or connect with me on Facebook  and Twitter .
Disclosure: While I occasionally accept free or discounted travel assistance when it coincides with my editorial goals, my opinion is never for sale, which means that everything written in my American Nomad blog and Moon travel guides is my unbiased reflection of the things that I see, do, and experience while traveling across the United States.
Photo / Text © 2013 Laura Martone