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Pack Smart for your Next Family Vacation

A trip with your family is a great way to create lasting memories, but traveling with babies and kids can be challenging. Vacation times are among the busiest of the year at Canadian airports and delays in security screening can occur when travellers are unaware of what they can and cannot bring in their carry-on bags.

Getting through airport security quickly and easily will help get your family vacation off to a great start. Here are our top tips to make your next family getaway as smooth as possible.


Packing tips:


  • Bring snacks to keep baby happy! For parents traveling with children under two years of age, baby food, formula, medications, milk, water and juice are exempt fromthe 100 ml (3.4 oz) liquid restriction for carry-on baggage. The amounts must be reasonable for the length of your vacation and these items must be presented to the screening officer. There are no restrictions on solid food products.
  • Reduce the likelihood of additional screening by dressing yourself and your kids in clothing and shoes that don’t have metal accents. Let your child walk through the metal detector if they can do it on their own.
  • Pack toys in your child’s carry-on baggage to keep them entertained on your flight. Batteries for toys, cameras, gaming devices and other personal items are allowed in carry-on baggage, but some restrictions apply.
  • Do not wrap gifts as they may have to be opened for screening.


At the airport:


  • Use the designated Family/Special Needs security screening line.
  • Have your boarding pass ready to present to the screening officer.
  • Empty all contents of your shirt and pants pockets and place them in the bins before walking through the metal detector.
  • Keep all phones, iPods and GPS equipment in your carry-on baggage. They do not need to be screened separately. Remove laptop computers from their carry-cases and place them in the bins provided.
  • Remove infants from their stroller or carrier and hold them while proceeding through the metal detector. The stroller or carrier will have to be x-rayed. Never leave your baby in a carrier on the x-ray belt.
  • If you need more time to go through security screening, arrive early and use the Family/Special Needs security line.


Travelling with family members with medical issues:


  • Check with a doctor before flying to determine if it is safe to go through the metal detector or be hand-wanded. You may request a physical search.
  • Pack all medication in carry-on baggage with clearly identified labels bearing your name. Prescription medication is exempted from the liquid restrictions, but must be presented to the screening officer separately from carry-on baggage.
  • Essential non- prescription medication (cough syrup, eye drops, contact lens solutions, rash creams, gel pills, etc.) can be carried in containers larger than 100 ml in carry-on bags. These liquids must be given to the screening officer separately.
  • Medical defibrillators and small oxygen or air cylinders for medical use may be packed in carry-on or checked baggage with the air carrier’s approval. Bring documentation that supports the medical condition.
  • Wheelchairs, scooters, crutches, canes, walkers, prosthetic devices, hearing aids and medications, including all diabetes-related medications, equipment and supplies and any other disability-related equipment and supplies are permitted through the security checkpoint.
  • Do not hesitate to ask the screening officer for assistance with mobility aids and carry-on items to get through the security checkpoint.


Check the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) website at for more information about packing smart. Bon voyage!


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