When you are traveling, there is a good chance you will want to take along your favorite guitar. This is especially true if you will be gone for a long time and worry about getting out of practice. While it might seem daunting, the fact is that you can fly with your guitar. You can also take it along on an epic road trip. As long as you keep certain considerations in mind, there is no reason that both you and your guitar will not reach your final destination safely.
Below we’ve got some tips for travelling with a guitar on a plane and in a car.
Flying with a Guitar
If you are really stressing about traveling with your instrument, odds are you are planning on flying. Here are some tips to help ease your anxiety:
- Call your airline. The best way to know how they handle instruments is to call and ask. While it is true that you may encounter an employee who is unfamiliar with the official policy, at least you will know what it is. Some airlines are more willing than others to let you take your guitar as a carry-on.
- Ask who boards first. If the airline usually starts in the front, try to get a set up there. The same goes for the back. This way there should be plenty of room in those overhead bins to put your precious instrument.
- Invest in a sturdy case. If the worst happens and a flight attendant insists that you can’t carry on your guitar, you will want to make sure it is well protected. A gig bag is not going to cut it for protecting your instrument if it ends up with the rest of the luggage. That being said, it is much slimmer and easier to stow. You will have to weigh the pros and cons of each option. No matter what you go with, add a few soft towels or t-shirts if there is any wiggle room between your guitar and its case.
- Loosen your strings. There can be a lot of temperature and pressure changes that occur during a flight. This can wreak havoc on your instrument if you let it. By loosening the strings, you are saving your guitar from unnecessary damage. If possible, through a humidifier in there as well to further protect it.
- Buy a smaller guitar. This may seem like an extreme option, but if you are someone who travels often, why not get a travel guitar? It may greatly simplify your flying and let you still play wherever you may roam.
Traveling with a Guitar by Car
If you are taking a road trip with your guitar, you main two concerns will be temperature changes and thieves. Whenever you make a pit stop on your trip, make an effort to conceal your instrument. Old blankets of clothes can make a good cover. Thieves are often aware of the value of guitars, so leaving one out where it can be seen is not a good idea. If you have a particularly valuable instrument and at least one traveling companion, maybe take turns running inside to use the bathroom.
It goes without saying that you will not want to leave your instrument in the car overnight, especially if the temperature drops dramatically. You will also want to avoid leaving it in the trunk all day in the summer. These drastic temperatures can cause your instrument to go out of tune, or even worse, warp.
Things to Remember
When you are on the road, you will not have access to your usual selection of tools. Although there are guitar shops all over the country, who knows if there will be a good one with what you need where you are going. You will want to pack strategically to avoid being unable to play while you are gone. Do not overstuff the compartments of your guitar case. That being said, extra strings, a string cutter, and a string winder can come in handy and won’t take up too much space.
If you do end up in a situation where you may be separated from your guitar, it will be easier to get it back if you mark your case. There are a lot of black hard and gig cases out there. Something colorful will help you find yours quicker and also help you spot someone trying to walk off with your instrument.
There really is no reason you cannot take your guitar with you most places you go. Just be sure to plan ahead, as well as be prepared for emergencies, and you can take your tunes with you wherever you may end up.