Finnish electronic music artist Samuli Kemppi has been touring the world for years, performing live everywhere from Canada to China. Travelling with instruments is part and parcel of his profession.
If you’re planning on taking a guitar with you on your next beach holiday, heading to an overseas gig or travelling with an instrument for any other reason, make sure you read through Kemppi’s three tips listed below.
1. Familiarize yourself with airline regulations
When booking your ticket, figure out the specific regulations of the airline you are travelling with, as they differ between carriers. Most smaller instruments can be transported as hand luggage, if they are within the permitted size and weight requirements for carry-on items. A guitar will invariably be transported in the hold, as it exceeds regular hand-luggage regulations.
However, a passenger can always pay for an extra seat, in which case your guitar or other larger instrument can travel strapped in, in the seat next to you. Also make sure to figure out the weight restrictions for checked luggage, and pay for travel insurance to cover your instrument for the duration of your travel.
2. Pack cleverly and carefully
Airlines are responsible for the handling of all luggage. Instruments are handled no differently from other luggage, so remember to pack yours carefully. Whether you have spontaneously bought a drum during your vacation, or are travelling with a one-of-a-kind tambourine, utilize all the space and padding, i.e. clothes, you have in your luggage.
Investing in a hard-case is never a bad idea. You might also want to consider delivering your instrument separately as airfreight through a logistics company.
3. Check if instruments are available on location
If you are travelling for a gig, remember to ask about the possibility of hiring equipment at your destination. Depending on the emotional attachment you have to your instrument, this could save a lot of time and money, and spare you the risk of something unfortunate happening to your instrument.
“When flying these days, I check one Peli suitcase into the baggage hold, which mostly contains equipment that can be replaced at the destination, if something should happen on the way,” Kemppi says.