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Afraid of germs in the security line? Go plastic

Regardless of how well you pack and prepare, there’s a chance your carry-on bag may be selected for extra screening in the security line. If you’re sensitive to germs, consider this: TSA officials go through hundreds of bags per day.

And yes, while they’re wearing gloves for their own sanitation, they may not change gloves from bag to bag. Perhaps the bag inspected before yours had muddy shoes, food crumbs, or worse—traces of cold or flu viruses, now transferred from the glove to your belongings.

A simple extra step may satisfy the security handlers and keep your carry-on items germ-free. Clear plastic zip-top bags can keep your things visible for security, while also keeping those germy gloves at a safe distance. Garment-size bags are available for clothing and other large items at most department and big-box stores (many of these lie flat, ideal for carry-on bags). Quart-sized bags are available (and required) for toiletries.

These items need not cost you a bundle, either. I found garment bags on eBay auctions starting at $1.99, and quart-sized bags can be purchased at any grocery store or airport travel shop. While you may spend extra time packing your bag, it’ll be worth the effort if you avoid catching an unwanted cold.

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