You know the drill. Take off your shoes. Empty your pockets. Off with your belt and metal jewelry. But as of last weekend, there’s one less hassle at American airport-security checkpoints.

Now you can leave your laptop in your bag. If, that is, the bag is “checkpoint-friendly” and TSA-approved.

If you already own a laptop bag, it probably won’t make the cut. But more than 60 bag manufacturers are coming up with new TSA-approved designs, many of which are available already.

Here are three things to look for in a new bag if you want to leave your laptop in it as you go through security:

** Your laptop bag must be one of these three approved styles: 1. the “butterfly,” which zips in half and lays flat, your laptop on one side, and the rest of your stuff on the other, 2. the “trifold,” which has a laptop section that folds out, or 3. the “sleeve,” which is a simple laptop case without any bells and whistles.

** Make sure there are no pockets, snaps, zippers, or buckles on the outside of the laptop compartment of your bag — and your laptop must be the only thing in that part of the bag.

** Thick dividers in bags, or emblems or seals on the outside, give the TSA screener a foggy image of your laptop. Avoid getting a laptop bag with these.

For more details — and to see some handy diagrams of acceptable bag designs – check out TSA’s site at

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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