Travelling and sports gear

Many people are very addicted to
their chosen sport, to such an extent that they will plan vacations around
furthering their sport, whether playing golf on a course they have not played
before or taking part in a marathon or triathlon.

Although travelling to a running
event is no more fraught with difficulty than normal travelling, many other
sports present unique challenges when it comes to transporting equipment. Apart
from the fact that sporting equipment tends to be expensive, fragile and bulky;
airlines also have different rules when it comes to travelling with sporting


Protect your gear

One of the biggest problems for
many travellers is keeping their equipment safe during transit. This often
requires special travel bags for the equipment, with sufficient padding to
protect the equipment, or even a hard shell to offer even greater protection.
However, most airlines will still require a waiver to be signed for fragile
sporting equipment. Airlines also have limited liability when it comes to lost
or damaged luggage, which is related to the weight of the luggage, not the
actual value. This means that unless you have insurance coverage for the sporting
equipment, loss or damage will, in large, have to be covered out of your own

Even when sporting equipment is
insured as part of home contents insurance, it might not be covered for travel,
so it is important to contact your insurance provider before travelling in
order to find out whether you are covered.


Taking it with you

Some sporting equipment, like
tennis racquets, are relatively easy to transport as it is light and not too
bulky. Most airlines accept tennis equipment as one item of checked luggage, as
long as it is not over the maximum weight for a piece of luggage.



Golf clubs, although quite bulky
and heavy, tend to be relatively easy to transport as well. Airlines generally
accept up to 14 golf clubs, 12 golf balls and a pair of golf shoes in a golf
bag as a piece of checked luggage, as long as it does not exceed the maximum
allowed weight or dimensions for a piece of luggage. Airlines also tend to
allow a pull cart, as long as it is attached to the golf bag. Although golf
equipment can be transported in a standard golf bag, a hard-sided carrier would
be better suited as it offers greater protection to the clubs.



As the sport that made the region
famous, many visitors to Cayman travel with scuba gear. Airlines accept scuba
equipment for transport, but charges will depend on whether a tank is included
or not. Of course, the tank has to be empty for transport. Many of the airlines
that fly to and from Cayman will charge $100 to transport scuba equipment with
a tank included, or accept it as one item of checked luggage without the tank.



The sport that probably suffers the
most under airline regulations is cycling. Due to the size of bicycles,
airlines usually charge a fee of around $100 to transport a bicycle, which has
to be properly packed in a padded or hard-shelled carrier. Should the weight
exceed the standard luggage weight, additional fees may also be charged depending
on the airline. However, due to the charges levied on bicycles, a number of
companies have come up with folding bicycles that can fit in a suitcase
matching the standard luggage template. Airlines will transport these special
bicycles as one standard piece of luggage.


Do some research

When planning a sporting vacation,
keep in mind that fees charged for sporting equipment or excess baggage can
vary quite a bit between airlines. Another important element to keep in mind is
that when you travel on one booking and one airline throughout your trip, the
highest luggage allowance on any one leg of your trip will apply to all legs of
the trip. However, should you use one airline for the international leg of your
trip and then switch to a different airline, you will have to pay excess
luggage charges should the luggage allowance differ. Such charges can add up quickly,
especially if you are travelling in a group with multiple pieces of sporting
equipment and could eat up any savings made on the tickets themselves.

Although airlines tend to follow
somewhat similar fee structures for sporting equipment, there is some variation
in fees and airline specific requirements as well. Most airlines have a quite
thorough explanation of their sporting equipment rules on their websites, but
if you are left in any doubt it is best to call ahead to check. It is also
useful to print out the relevant section of the website, just in case the
check-in agent is not aware of the specific rule.