6 Great Tips To Help You Travel With Instruments

Music is a universal art form, which makes the nomadic lifestyle a great fit for musicians of all types. Traveling and sharing music can be one of the most enjoyable ways to see the world. However, many musicians struggle to find ways to keep their instruments in good shape as they move from place to place. Often, moving instruments around, checking them as baggage on planes, and bringing them to environments with extreme temperatures can result in bangs, scratches, and cracked wood. However, traveling with an instrument can be a positive experience if you plan ahead to reduce the likelihood of any damage.

How To Go Travelling With Instruments

Here are some helpful tips for taking instruments while you travel:

Choose Travel-Friendly Instruments

mandolin and banjo

Some instruments are just made to be traveling with. These travel-friendly instruments will be lightweight and compact. For example, a ukulele is an excellent instrument to travel with because it?s so light that it won?t add much weight to your total luggage, but it will add countless sing-alongs. A tuba, on the other hand, might be a little more difficult to travel with.

You might find that large, heavy instruments are too burdensome to carry around and they might put a damper on your trip. Here are some other travel-friendly instruments that will add some extra enjoyment to your next trip:

  • Guitar
  • Mandolin
  • Banjo
  • Harmonica
  • Violin
  • Fiddle
  • Flute
  • Clarinet

Extra Padding

This is one of the most important tips because it will reduce the likelihood of your instrument getting banged up or scratched as it moves from place to place. When you place your instrument in its case, try laying down some towels or cloths to wrap your instrument in a protective layer. This extra padding will reduce the amount of room your instrument has to move around in its case, which will help to prevent the instrument from getting damaged.

Buy Your Instrument a Seat

If you?re planning on flying and you have a high-quality instrument, you might want to consider purchasing your instrument a seat on the plane. Many airlines now offer this as an option because of too many complaints about instruments getting damaged when they?re checked as regular baggage. If you?re instrument is expensive, it?s highly recommended you consider this option to prevent the instrument from breaking in the baggage compartment.

Additionally, if your instrument is made of wood, it might crack when exposed to very cold environments. By buying an extra seat, you?ll be able to ensure that your instrument is kept in an area with a mild temperature. Although buying an extra seat is expensive, replacing a high-end instrument will likely be much more.

Purchase a Lower Quality Instrument

old violin

If you have a high-end instrument that you?re worried about damaging on a trip, you might want to consider leaving it in a safe place, such as at home or at a friend?s house and purchasing a low-end travel instrument. When you purchase a cheap instrument specifically for the purpose of traveling, you?ll be much less upset if it becomes scratched or dented along the way.

When we?re traveling, we usually don?t have as much control over the environments our instruments will be exposed to. Not only is your instrument more likely to get damaged on a trip, in rare cases, some musicians have reported their instruments as having been stolen. Purchasing an instrument that won?t break the bank will prevent all of these worries from interfering with you enjoying your trip.

Buy a Humidifier

This tip also applies to instruments that are made of wood. If you plan on traveling in a cold and dry environment, you might want to invest in a small humidifier for your case. If you have a guitar, for example, you can buy a small humidifier that will sit between the strings of your instrument and maintain a humidified environment. This will prevent the wood from cracking.

Create a Strategic Pedalboard

If you play electric guitar and plan on traveling with technology, such as effect pedals, you?ll want to be strategic about the devices you bring with you. While at home you might be able to incorporate three boost pedals on a pedalboard, it might be more useful to only bring one when you?re trying to travel lightly. Consider what the absolute essential pedals are, and try to leave some of the not-so-necessary pedals at home. In fact, it can be easy if you know how to set up a pedalboard.

Ready To Take Your Instrument On The Road?

musician guitar

Hopefully, you found these tips on how to travel with an instrument useful. Traveling and playing music can be highly rewarding. Music is universal, and you?ll, therefore, be likely to make many new friends and acquaintances along the way by playing songs everyone can enjoy on your instrument.

When you?re trying to determine which instrument you should bring on your travels, search for one that will be lightweight and won?t take up a lot of room. In terms of technological musical devices, ask yourself what is absolutely necessary to bring, and leave the rest at home to make your luggage lighter. Additionally, remember to reduce the likelihood of your instrument getting damaged by providing extra padding, buying it a seat on an airplane, or buying a humidifier.

natalie musical advisors profile pictureABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi there! My name?s Natalie Wilson and I?ve been playing guitar since the young age of five. As a performer, I?ve traveled extensively with my instruments and love to share tips about what I?ve learned throughout my career on my music blog.
On my blog, you?ll find reviews, tutorials, tips for musicians, and more.
Contact me: [email protected].

11 thoughts on “6 Great Tips To Help You Travel With Instruments”

  1. Wow a nice and informative post! I often bring a guitar when I go travelling and I agree with all of your tips. One of them I especially like which is to buy a cheaper version of the instrument so that you won’t have too worry too much about it getting banged up on the road. I my self use the Hofney Shorty which is a great travel guitar that’s inexpensive but plays surprisingly well. It comes with a gig bag but you will have to get it padded as per another tip in the article. A lot of guitarist only think of taking acoustic guitars when they go on trips but I think electric guitars are a good option too. Technically the can be smaller than acoustic guitar because they use pickup rather than depend on the acoustics of the guitar its self. The trade off is the weight though as electric guitars tend to be heavier than acoustic ones.
    Tony on Trips recently posted…Thai Islands are Great!My Profile

  2. Hi Natalie Wilson, This is amazing tips. I highly appreciate your tips. When someone go to travel with instruments, it is very enjoyable to make memorable moment with friends and someone nearest.

    Great thanks for sharing with us !

    Love your blog !

  3. Wow great tips! I totally agree about buying lower quality instruments because let’s face it no matter how careful you will scratch your instruments a little bit when you travel no matter how careful you are.

    For guitars in particular, there are now many travel models that are affordable and quite good in quality. If you take a travel electric guitar then an amp modeler could be all you need when you travel now a days. Thank you technology! :D
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  4. Hi Natalie, your tips are amazing. It?s very enjoyable whenever go to travel with instruments. Singing is my passion and I must agree with you because whenever I am travelling, I always try to keep my Guitar with me. Thanks for sharing this article.

  5. Great tips!
    My favorite travel instrument is a ukelele, its small and sound great.
    I also agree about buying lower quality instruments, in that case, it doesn?t heart much when damage.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. This article is very informative and awesome. Sometimes it’s very difficult as well frustrated to take instruments while traveling. Buy the tips given above are really very helpful to me. I always keep my instruments with me. Especially guitar which is more flexible.

  7. I keep a couple guitars, one gets all the play time, and the other (the junker) gets pulled out for camping trips or backyard BBQ’s only. This way I don’t worry about it taking a bit of a beating from the elements or small children. :)

  8. Hi Natalie Wilson, wonderful blog post!!!!
    Supportive information and well explained. My Favourite tour tools are Backpack. Good assistant when I Traveling any place and country.

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