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Travel Tips for Musical Instruments


Just because you’re taking a break from the usual day-to-day doesn’t mean that you want a vacation from your instrument. In fact, taking your guitar, violin, trumpet , mandolin or whatever you play on the road with you can lead to some unforgettable summer moments.


While it may seem like a no-brainer to just grab your instrument and go, you’ll want to be sure to protect your musical baby as you explore far and wide. Here are some tips for making the most of your journey while keeping your instrument safe and sound. 


The perfect protection

This may seem obvious, but if you take your instrument out of its usual environment, make sure you have a proper case that protects its from dings and scratches. If you’re going to fly with it, you may need a flight case (more on that in a minute). Even if you just throw it into your trunk for a short road trip, a case or bag is a must.


Time to fly

Recent flight regulations state that when you board a U.S. flight, if there is room to put your guitar or other small instrument in an overhead bin, they must allow you to do so. But an ongoing barrage of horror stories about instruments being forced into the cargo hold and subsequently damaged still persist . Know the rules from your airline. Make sure that your instrument doesn’t exceed carry-on specifications. Plus, it will count as one of your carry on items. Talk to folks at the gate. Speak authoritatively and board early! We’ve flown a ton of times with instruments without incident. 


Direct and off-peak flights will work in your favor. If you are planning to check your instrument, make sure you have a flight-approved or hard case. If you are checking a stringed instrument, you may want to loosen the strings a bit to deal with fluctuations in pressure and temperature. You’ll find some helpful tips from the government here , but overall, research and plan ahead for the best result. 


Beat the heat

You wouldn’t leave your dog in a hot car, right? Don’t do it with your musical instrument, either. Temperature extremes can damage your finish, warp your neck, create cracks and weak points in your instrument’s structure and more. Most instruments will suffer from temperature extremes – from banjoes to fiddles, saxophones, mandolins and, yes, even harmonicas! The heat can cause pads to shift or swell, or metal to expand or contract so that tuning may become a challenge. In addition, your instrument maybe be sensitive to humidity fluctuations. Consider investing in a humidity control kit and you’re good to go. As a rule of thumb, don’t keep your instrument in an environment for an extended period of time that you wouldn’t want to be in. 


Lock ‘er up

Personally I try to never leave my instrument in the car, locked or not. So what if you feel a bit silly carrying your instrument into the diner when you break for lunch on that road trip? But if it’s just not possible, make sure it’s not visible or that it is in your trunk so that thieves are deterred from taking off with your prized possession. And of course, lock your doors! That goes for hotel rooms, too. Put your instrument in a closet out of sight.


Two is better than one

If you own a high-end instrument, the best advice may be not to take your baby on vacation with you. A better option? Purchase a lower-end model to take to the cabin or cottage . You’ll stress less and have more fun, knowing that your go-to instrument is safe at home while you still can enjoy playing and practicing as you travel.


Let the learning continue

Want to learn from top musicians as you travel? Whether you’re a beginner or have been playing for years, you’ll find a huge variety of online courses from ArtistWorks that fit your needs. You can log in any time, anywhere and beef up your chops with video-based courses presented by the pros. See the full list of courses here:







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