No matter which means of transport you travel by, carrying your musical instrument, especially a guitar, can cause you a lot of anxiety. Although not as complicated as air travel, taking a guitar on a train does require you to think things through before setting off.
How to Travel By Train With My Guitar? To travel by train with your guitar you need to consider the following information:
- Checking the train’s policy
- Consider peak times
- Measuring your guitar case
- Using a hard case
- Packing your guitar properly
- Consider travel insurance
- Showing up early
In this article, I have compiled a list of essential tips to make sure your guitar can land on board and arrive at the destination safely if you are planning to take it on a train.
1. Study the train’s policy in advance:
I would highly recommend that you should make it clear before booking whether the train operator you are choosing permits guitars as carry-ons or requires your instrument to be checked. You can research the luggage policies on their websites, but it’s best if you can contact a representative to ask directly.
You should also take notice of the maximum dimensions and weight allowed for your instrument as this is also part of the luggage policy. I suggest measuring and weighing your guitar case before booking, as it will help you choose the suitable train operator, as well as actively prepare in case your guitar is requested to be checked.
However, according to a lot of travellers’ experience, train operators aren’t too harsh most of the time. It is said that as long as you can safely carry the instrument onto the train and stow it yourself, no one will check the weight or dimensions of your case.
2. Invest in a hard case:
You may have known that a hard, sturdy case is way more preferred than a gig bag when it comes to choosing a guitar case for train travel. Truth is, it is advised for all kinds of travelling, even by train, because a standard hard case is known to provide your guitar with better protection from the external environment. However, you should also take notice of the total weight of your guitar and its case, as it will likely have to be considered and charged as checked luggage if it’s too heavy.
3. Pack your guitar properly
This would include 2 steps: detuning your guitar and preparing extra-padding.
Unlike airplanes, a train’s cabins are not pressurised, so there may be variations in the air pressure during the travel that may affect your guitar. To prevent your fragile instrument from any damage, simply loosening its strings is recommended before packing. Better safe than sorry, right?
In addition to a hard case, make sure your guitar is also well protected from the inside. The techniques would usually include: Wrapping your guitar in bubble wrap and stuffing t-shirts or generally anything soft in the guitar case to keep the guitar tightly fixed. In this way, you have provided your instrument with better internal cushioning and minimised the possibility of your guitar smashing against the internal surface of your hard case during the journey – in case you cannot bring it as a carry-on.
4. Consider buying travel insurance:
Insurance is highly recommended for any kinds of travel, especially if you intend to carry anything valuable like a guitar, because it helps limit the loss you have to bare in the worst circumstances. However, it is worth remembering that the compensation train operators guarantee to offer for your carry-ons or checked luggage is limited just like the airlines. But don’t worry, the solution here is to research carefully about the reimbursement policies of the insurance before buying one, and the ultimate way to ensure 100% is to consider buying a travel insurance plan that would provide coverage for both you and your luggage. And that’s it, even when your guitar is lost, stolen or damaged, you can still make a claim on your travel insurance plan and get repaid an amount of money equivalent to the plan limits.
5. Arrive at the station early:
You might have heard other experienced travellers suggesting turning up early at the train station before its scheduled departure. However, it is especially important when you are carrying your musical instrument along. Arriving early will enable you to bring your instrument onto the train more easily and allow you to move swiftly through the train to your seat without bothering anyone. Don’t wait until the whole train is crowded, because it will cause you a lot of trouble finding a way through other passengers while having a lot of luggage and a guitar on your shoulders.
So, I’ve gone through 5 essential tips that any train traveler might need if he/she is planning to bring a guitar along. These tips would help you: ensure your guitar is accepted on a train, protect your guitar from any external damage, and prevent you from as much trouble as possible.
Travelling with your musical instrument may be a little complicated, but your journey will be safe and sound if you take some time to prepare!