When traveling, ukulele lovers feel concerned about how to travel with a ukulele. In truth, touring with brittle string instruments does not become simple, even if it is a small one like a ukulele.
Do you intend to carry your loved uke on your road trip or overseas vacation? No idea how to travel with it without damaging your instrument?
Okay, we are here to help. If you’ve purchased a sounding ukulele, come here to learn how to travel with it so you can continue your play anywhere you travel!
15 Tips to Travel with a Ukulele
1. Collect a hard case
The first thing you need to do is collect a hard case to protect it if your instrument is valued. Sure, it is bulky, yet protecting your uke from the outdoors is the real deal, no doubt. A few hiccups here and there become inevitable during the journey.
While picking a hard case, ensure it is the correct size so your instrument suits snugly. There should be no wiggle room inside the case because it can cause damage. If it is, even a little, we recommend wrapping a few old clothes around it to make it tighter during the tour.
2. Labeling your hard case
When you get the hard case in your hand, place two labels on it. One will contain your name and phone number, and others should be called something like brittle, so please handle it carefully.
Indeed, it is not sure that airport staff will handle it carefully, yet it might inspire them to ponder twice before putting it away with everyone else’s luggage. No cost is for the label. Therefore, it is attemptable.
3. Know your options with the airline
Each airline follows its musical instrument carry-on policy, so know those policies. Generally, you have two conspicuous alternatives: keep your instrument as a carry-on item or check it in.
Keeping your instrument like a portable item is the best choice, where it will always stay within reach and sight. Overlook checking it in with the remaining of your checked baggage at any cost, or it could be the last time you give a look at your instrument in one piece.
Don’t understand us wrong because no damage is guaranteed. But in our experience, it’s not worth going through constant anxiety during a flight.
4. Buying an “Additional Item Ticket”
Purchasing an additional ticket (generally known as an “additional item ticket”) may be an alternative solution. One of our friends did it when he carried his classical guitar to Italy and Spain. It functioned just fine. He toured with a less expensive airline, and the additional ticket remained inexpensive. The hostess only told him to place the guitar on the window seat and tie the seat belt. Not much else.
We will still take this option whenever we can travel with a low-cost airline. It is better for short trips.
5. Priority boarding
Several airlines have kept an option to purchase priority boarding with your ticket. It implies that for a few additional bucks, you can board the plane before anyone else and be among the first passengers to opt for some overhead space.
Therefore if your instrument holds a feature of the carry-on item, you can safely and securely put it aside before any passenger arrives on the plane.
Place your ukulele next to an overhead shelf space, and don’t place anything on top of it.
Unless you can find a priority boarding option when you buy your ticket, call them and ask about their possibilities.
6. Ignore emergency exits
You can tuck it safely under the seat before you instead of tucking the instrument in the overhead space. It will be as safe there, even though it moves away from you somewhat.
If you prefer this alternative, ignore sitting in the emergency exit rows like passengers sitting there are not permitted to do anything under the seats. Based on the aircraft size, two or more emergency exits are available.
7. Unloose the strings for less tension
This suggestion is general, yet it is better. Alters in pressure, temperature, and humidity can cause your ukulele nylon strings to toughen. They will snap if they become too tight. The fact that you’re taking a few extra string packets doesn’t alone become a problem, but it could be worse.
Creating tension is the real problem on the saddle, where the strings connect to the rest of the ukulele. If it is applied with enough pressure, the ukulele’s saddle will snap and destroy your instrument.
If the saddle can endure enough tension and doesn’t snap, it can distort the neck. Excess pull has to go somewhere, so loosen the strings and keep your mind calm.
8. Think of Insurance for Expensive Instruments
You don’t require insurance if your ukulele is inexpensive, but purchase travel insurance if it’s valuable. If you do that, you pick up a few photos during check-in to substantiate that your instrument was there and remained in perfect condition before the flight.
Try out your ukulele condition right after the flight and during staying at the airport. If it is damaged, broken, or lost, claim it immediately. Otherwise, it is likely to be rejected by them.
9. Packing equipment, accessories, and spares
Always write down before packing some nail files, a tuner, an extra string or two, and everything else you’d generally carry with a ukulele. You will never understand what you’ll require on a trip.
10. Packing them individually
Never place these accessories with the instrument but put them individually in your luggage. Some things, like nail files, can be a reason for doubt, and security often checks them. Having them open the case and beating your instrument are not better.
Do you have to check it in?
If you fail to carry your ukulele as hand luggage for a few unfortunate reasons, there are more tips to ignore the worst.
11. Wrapping the ukulele case with bubble wrap
There are many airports where a “bubble-wrap your luggage” service is provided. You spend several dollars and then ask the guy to enwrap your luggage (or any other item) in a few layers of bubble wrap.
12. Tucking the luggage
We don’t say it will be an ideal solution, but it can be worth trying if alternatives remain limited. Place the ukulele (still inside the case) in a larger piece of luggage and then stick it tightly into the cloth. Ensure it is stuck in all directions: top, right, left, front, bottom, and back. You wish the instrument to have a nice snug cushion from all angles and all sides!
In this perspective, always test your luggage weight and ensure it has remained within the limits permitted for your ticket. If it becomes too bulky, attempt a softer or lighter ukulele case. Attempt the next tip if it is not possible.
13. Travel-friendly Instruments
You might consider a travel-friendly ukulele if the only argument you are carrying your instrument with you is to have a little fun and continue your practice. These instrument types remain light, cheap, and small, which makes solving all the problems we mentioned easier.
14. Avoiding the worst airlines in the world
We recommend avoiding the world’s worst airlines. In general, these airlines offer the worst customer care and flying experiences.
Unless you get cheap tickets or a short trip, you should stay away from these airlines at any cost.
15. Tour by other means
When your trip is not long, you can always choose an alternative, like a bus or train. It just allows you to put the instrument nearby.
Think of going by train, car, or bus. Rightly, it needs a long time, and it’s not as cozy as a quick plane ride in some cases. But these options can be your best bet for your ukulele’s safety. In general, this option is also more inexpensive. Therefore, you can consider it.
Conclusion: How to Travel with a Ukulele
A ukulele becomes a family member to players, so they intend to protect it at any cost. Above all, you have also cost a chunk of your hard-earned cash to buy this beautiful instrument.
So it is understandable to keep it secure. Hopefully, these tips on how to travel with a ukulele will assist you on the way to your next trip.