Whether you are a casual musical enthusiast or an acclaimed touring professional, there are those many times you need to bring your musical instrument along. And of course, there are always two sides to the coin when traveling with this piece of luggage. The fun part of it is that you have an excellent ice breaker, but the other side is a complicated, often cumbersome process to bring it.
Think of the logistics and hassles involved, and you would want to give up on the whole idea. Still, all is not lost, all you need is to plan stealthily ahead, get to know the rules that guide such travels, and you will be home safe and dry. Here is what to do as you bring your musical instrument.
Know the Rules Guiding Musical Instrument Travel
There are current rules and procedures for traveling with various musical instruments. One of them states that you can now travel with your much smaller instrument as hand luggage. The same isn’t subject to any charges at all. Once you have found space on the overhead storage racks, all should be well, and no one should ask you to remove the instrument while still onboard the plane. Generally, these are but a glimpse, and it would do you right to study the entire document and see what works for you.
In the meantime, while you may assume all airlines have standard rules and procedures, you would be in for a rude shock if the internal policies differ. So first, inquire with individual airlines, and see if they accept your type of instrument onboard. A written confirmation allowing you to bring it would work much better than a simple word of mouth.
Plan for Your Larger Music Instrument in Advance
While smaller instruments may not give you the hassle, a larger one is mostly cumbersome. Suppose you play one of that famous cello or harp. These are generally massive in size, and so, the musical gear gurus from Roaming Sound advise you to plan for it as you would for yourself. In this case, you may have to purchase an extra seat for it. All you need to do is notify your airline a day in advance, informing them of your instrument’s size and that you would like an extra seat.
To beat the hassle, strive to arrive at the departure lounge at least an hour to 30 minutes earlier. But then again, do proper research about the airline. While some of them readily accept traveling with musical instruments, others are not so friendly. So, ask around, and get recommendations before you make that reservation to avoid any disappointments.
Upgrading Your Travel Insurance
The truth is that not many airlines cover your music instrument. And since you can never be sure if it is handled by airline employees, you want to cover the damage risk. Other than that, have your camera ready to take pictures of everything happening around you and your instrument. You never know any slight movement or push can endanger it, and you need to have the evidence for any claims you would later make.
Additional Tips for Your Travel
Several must-dos as you bring your musical instrument can save you time and money. For example;
- Consider Proper Packing
It doesn’t matter how small or large your instrument is. It would help if you arrived within its perfect condition. So only pack it in the stronger case to minimize any risk of damage. Check that the case isn’t carrying anything other than your instrument. Any liquids can spill, damaging it in the process. If yours is a string instrument, then loosen the strings, which will keep them from snapping due to temperature changes.
- Carry All the Relevant Documentation
Bringing your instrument along remains a delicate act, especially if it’s an expensive piece made of rare materials. It is why you need to carry all documentation related to it. Those permits, receipts, and other documents related to your equipment should always come along too. Assuming you are also an ISM member, then have your membership card with you at all times. It is always tangible proof of your music profession, hence the need to bring your instrument with you.
Although some musical instruments are large and fragile, you may still want to bring yours along. Depending on its size, you might be lucky to have it as hand luggage, and the hassle would be less. However, if it is a massive one, then think about buying an extra seat. And besides notifying your airline in advance, give yourself spare time, arriving much earlier for check-in.