Air travel is becoming more and more prevalent, but also more restricted on what you can take and how. Ever since 911 nobody is going to be allowed to take their favorite golf club to make sure that it doesn’t get damaged and most other types of Sports Equipment can be restricted as well. Ironically enough, Sports Tourism is on the rise as there become more and more international competitions. There triathlons, surfing competitions and cricket matches, all where the athlete wants “their” equipment! There are ways and means of traveling with sports equipment.
First, clearly identify and tag your sports equipment. This makes everything clear as to what it is and to whom it belongs. The baggage handlers will also realize that it has special importance to somebody or it wouldn’t be tagged. Most people also like sports and understand the value and importance to an athlete of his personal equipment.
If possible ship it in original containers with original packaging. Why the original containers? Because they are specifically designed for the sports equipment and are best for keeping it safe, The makers had to get it to you in optimum condition or you wouldn’t pay for it, that means they know best how to package and ship it, they ship thousands if not millions. Use their expertise by using their containers!
Depending on the type of equipment, break it down into small, manageable pieces. You obviously cannot collapse down most surfboards, but you can a bicycle. If it is in smaller units it weighs less and is not as bulky. This means it will likely go on top rather than bottom and so the spokes are not going to get bent as easily.
Consider extra insurance for your item, especially if the item is difficult to replace and if the insurance is inexpensive. When you get extra baggage insurance, it becomes marked and the airlines pay better attention. The employees know this and so insured luggage is less likely to be thrown around. All airlines may not offer this, but check on it. A few extra dollars is cheap compared to having damaged equipment and you can’t compete at your best.
To summarize the tips for traveling with sports equipment. Tag everything, pack it in original containers if possible, compact it as much as you can and take out insurance if available. Then pray that everything goes well!