Traveling, as we all know, is generally a huge pain in the butt. Checking luggage while assuring it’s less than 50 pounds to avoid that ridiculous penalty cost, going through security without being arrested for having a nail file, searching for food near your gate that doesn’t cost as much as your house, cramming your carry-on into that tiny over-head bin while other flyers wait restlessly behind you and dealing with that smelly, snoring old man you got placed next to in your stuffy coach seat are just some of the annoyances we face when we travel. Add in there the effort of figuring out how to transport your bike, skis, snowboard or other sports equipment through the airport so that it, too, lands safely at your destination… ugh… now that’s a real pain in the arse. Below are a few guidelines and tips that you can count on to make your ride through the sky a bit less stressful if you're traveling with sports equipment of any kind,.
Permitted and Prohibited Items
When traveling with sports equipment, it’s important to check with your airline to be sure your selected items are allowed past security. Prohibited items at the passenger security checkpoint and carry-on bags generally include any sports equipment that could potentially be used as a weapon on the airplane. But just for your convenience, here is the official TSA list of permitted and prohibited sports equipment.
- Permitted items include: baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, etc.
- Prohibited items include: baseball or cricket bats, golf clubs, hunting and scuba knifes (duh), pool cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, bows and arrows, martial arts devices and spear guns (duh)
Items such as surfboards, non-motorized bicycles, windsurfing equipment, ski or snowboard equipment, skateboards, scuba gear, archery, hockey, golf, fishing and lacrosse equipment are all, for the most part, accepted as checked baggage. That said, they are subject to change based on airline. Canoes and kayaks are not accepted.
If you’re the kind of person that waits until the last minute to figure out all your flying details, don’t feel bad. There are solutions for procrastinators like you. Sports Express will pick up your luggage, golf clubs, bike, skis, snowboard, scuba diving equipment, gear bags or other items at your home or office and deliver them to your destination. Sports Express guarantees your items will be delivered on time or they will arrange and pay for rentals or purchases. Although they can be quite pricey, Sports Express is a fool-proof way to ensure that your sports equipment gets to where it needs to be without having to wait in long lines or deal with the bulky burden of traveling with your gear. Pretty sweet, huh?
Bike Travel Cases
When traveling with your bike, whether you decide to ship it or check it in the airport, you'll want to pack it in a bike case. You wouldn’t want to show up at your destination with your beloved bicycle in pieces, would you? Yes, a cardboard bike box from the neighborhood bike shop can work, especially if it's packed well, but it's risky. Your bike is minimally protected and it takes a lot of time and disassembly to do it right. These options, however, are reliable and durable in keeping your bike protected when traveling.
- Ironcase by Trico Sports
- Serfas' Bike Armor Transport Case
- BikePro's Race Case
- Tri All 3 Sports Velo Safe
- Crate Works' Pro 1
- Rome Bicycle Travel Bag
So in the end, whether you’re going on a ski trip with friends or a bike tour in Guam, there’s always a solution that will ensure the safe arrival of all and any of your sporting goods.
Header image credit: afagen, http://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/5478831913/sizes/z/