As a musician, there might come a time when you take your music on the road and tour the country.
While the adventure that a tour bus allows sounds like fun, a tight schedule might not make this possible and will have you flying between states with all your equipment with you.
But, of course, today’s musicians can bring just about any piece of musical equipment or instrument onboard the flight to their next gig. But just how easy is it to travel with musical instruments, and what are the best tips to do so?
What Are the Rules For Traveling With Your Guitar and Amp?
You might be surprised that it has only recently become possible to bring your guitar as carry-on luggage when flying with certain airlines. Before 2015, guitars and other musical equipment could only be stored in the main baggage compartment of an airplane, making it risky and leaving many guitars with broken necks or headstocks.
Airlines have an “at your own risk” policy when transporting music equipment and guitars. Travel insurance can and will help protect you and cover the costs of any accidental damage that you may incur while transporting your equipment via an airplane. You can speak to your nearest travel agent or contact your home or personal goods insurer for more information.
Traveling with musical instruments and equipment is much easier now. Your guitar is guaranteed to meet you at your destination in perfect pre-flight condition by taking the proper precautions and using suitable travel cases and boxes.
Top Tips for Transporting your Equipment on an Airplane
Look no further for top tips that you can follow when planning a trip or tour that will fly you around the country with your music equipment in tow. We have researched to make your next trip a breeze, from policies on weight limits and what can and cannot be brought onto the plane as carry-on luggage to the cost of extra baggage.
Our tips are guaranteed to make flying a breeze and can help you safely package your equipment for the trip.
1. Always Check the Airline Policy On Traveling With Music Equipment
Most airlines have their own policies concerning what they do and do not allow on their flights. From weight limits to costs for extra baggage, finding out the do’s and don’ts before planning your trip is essential to avoid any nasty surprises.
Carry-on luggage has a specific weight limit, and not all airlines will allow you to carry on a guitar and your bag. Take as little as you can as carry-on luggage, opting to pack only your essentials on the plane.
Measure your cases, boxes, and suitcases beforehand to ensure that they fit the specified dimensions allowed in the baggage compartment. Note that there might be extra costs involved in transporting more oversized items and any number of cases or bags that exceed the limit.
2. Choose Protective Gear That Will Last
There is a reason why airlines warn against packing valuables and fragile goods in your luggage. With planes taking off at airports across America every few minutes, loading all the baggage onto the aircraft needs to be done as quickly as possible. This often results in bags being thrown around and tossed into the baggage compartment.
If you check in any musical equipment, it is worth buying good quality, durable protective cases for your guitar and any equipment like amps.
The TSA recently launched a range of travel cases for musical instruments and equipment to keep your gear safe from scratches and breaks. Hard cases will fare better than zip bags to keep your guitar safe in the main baggage compartment and can be purchased from any music store or large online retailers.
Ask the airline check-in agent for extra fragile stickers, and try to convey the importance and expense of the items you are checking in. Some airlines allow you to take your guitar as carry-on luggage. However, this depends on how much you want to carry on board and the weight of your carry-on goods.
More oversized items like cases and amps will need to be checked into the main baggage compartment of the airplane. Ensure that you have packed these goods to protect them and that the cases are clearly marked as fragile. Use bubble wrap, foam wrap, and polystyrene beads to hold your equipment in place and prevent them from being scratched by knocking into or rubbing against each other.
Always take out travel insurance to help protect you from any losses via theft or damage.
Be Prepared to Explain What’s In Your Luggage
Airport security is among the toughest in the world. With both national and international security threats, there might come a time when you are pulled out of the check-in line to explain the contents of your luggage.
Music equipment and electronic goods raise flags, which you can quickly sort out by allowing security staff to analyze the contents of your cases and bags. In addition, some musicians find it helpful to bring print-outs of their equipment to explain what they are made from and why they are essential items.
Another handy tip is to bring along your gig itinerary to show the cities you will be visiting and those you have already played. If your band is well-known, be prepared to sign a few autographs along the way too.
Transporting musical instruments and equipment on an airplane is tricky but can be done. We have provided you with the best tips on safe travel with all your gear and highlighted possible issues that you may encounter.
Always pack only what you need and hire larger gear to cut down on extra baggage fees. Purchase a good set of durable protective cases for your guitar and other equipment to provide additional protection.