Visiting family during the holiday season can be a fun vacation. Airport travel, on the other hand, can be stressful, especially during the holidays – the busiest travel days of the year. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) says delays and stress can be avoided and everyone can make it to grandma’s house happy simply by following these few easy tips.

Before going to the airport, make sure everyone is dressed in clothing that will not set off the metal detector and cause unnecessary delays. Keep jewellery to a minimum and dress your family in clothing and shoes without snaps, metal buttons or studs.

Leave presents unwrapped, whether in carry-on or checked baggage, because their contents might need to be inspected. Any toys that look like weapons should be placed in checked baggage or left at home. Do not bring these in your carry-on.

Liquids, gels and aerosols must be in containers of 100ml or less and placed in a 1L clear plastic bag. This includes everything from make-up and toothpaste to homemade jams. Any containers larger than 100ml should be placed in your checked baggage.

If you are traveling with a child younger than two, baby food, formula, milk, water and juice are exempt from this policy. Medications are also exempt. Present them to the screening officer separately.

Most major Canadian airports have a security line specifically designated for traveling families and passengers with special needs. Use this line for an easier screening experience. If you or your child has special needs, let the screening officer know, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.  Screening officers working at these lanes are trained to provide additional assistance.

Strollers and car seats need to be x-rayed. Hold your child as you walk through the metal detector.

Make sure each member of your family has their boarding pass ready when you get to security and give yourself plenty of time so you are not stressed through the screening process. Once through the security checkpoint, you’re free to enjoy the airport shops or relax by the gate with a coffee.


For more tips on how to survive busy holiday screening checkpoints, visit or



Influencer at Kidsumers
Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


Lifestyle Blogger. Traveler. Writer. Social Media Marketer. @SunwingVacay #Kidcations Expert Panel. Member of ITWA @PTBAssoc IG: familyenroute
Follow Sheri and her family's travels on Instagram.