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Flying with vs shipping gear internationally?


Phantom31
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Hi guys,

I'm moving to the UK in a couple weeks and am trying to decide what will be the least obnoxious way to get my goal gear over there. My player gear/skate sharpener/ synthetic ice tiles etc are all going with my household goods, which should show up by July or August. I'd love to have my goal gear with me sooner as there's already a group skate waiting on me.

Option one is to take it with me on the flight.  This would get the gear there fastest, but that's a lot of crap (that and my personal luggage/professional gear) for me to hand carry (plus extra baggage costs).  As of now I have to take at least two flights with plane change.  Anyone have experience flying with their gear internationally?  Was customs a pain or easy? Any problems keeping track of everything or ever have anything lost/stolen?  I think that's my ultimate fear.

Other option is to ship it out a few days before I leave. As of now I still have to quarantine so it can take a few days to get there as I'll just be sitting in a hotel room anyway.  Also not cheap, but less crap for me to deal with on the flights over. The other military have shipped their gear before to get it there before the household goods.

Has anyone had to deal with this? Any recommendations? 

Edited by Phantom31
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Pack up your gear into the safest (lock on a bag(a) instead of boxing it should be okay but ask your local shipper (DHL, UPS, & FedEx for example), reasonable to move package count.  Use a tape measure and scale (always round up) to get your dimensions (LxWxH) and weight of each piece. Call your airline and ask how much the carry on charge will be using the info you now have, as well as call your local shippers for quotes and additional questions you may have (locks are okay through customs?).  You should be able to add insurance to shipping for a small fee.  If it smells like a dead body I'd clean it a bit, not because it will be investigated, but because no one will want to touch it, so your gear may get "neglected" in terms of handling (imagine your bag being tossed violently as it's being loaded/unloaded because no one wants to touch it).  It also may prevent tampering, a plus, so you have decisions to make. 

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When I moved from Canada back to Finland in 2013 I also looked in to shipping my stuff back to Europe.. at least back then it made no sense to do that. 

If you ship your stuff, you have to declare everything for customs. If you take your gear with you on the plane, no need to worry about customs. Also I've heard that right now shipping is very slow and expensive due to the pandemic. Heard this from guys who buy gear from North America and then get it shipped to Finland.

As for the plane changes.. You're not able to check in your luggage all the way to the final destination? Do you have to change airports of something between flights? 

I once almost lost my suit case in Beijing, because I had to change airports and I thought my bag was checked in all the way to Ningbo. Ha. Turns out it wasn't. I was dumb.

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I would recommend taking your mask on the plane with you as a carry on.  It's really the only piece of gear we have that can be damaged, and coincidentally, the most important piece of gear we use.  

Spend the extra bucks in the airport and get a luggage cart assuming your gear bag is a carry bag.  No use wrecking your back and shoulders while flying internationally. 

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Which airline? .. Kidding.. there's always a chance of something getting lost due to human error but the systems are more efficient now than they've ever been.. make sure your bags zipper wont open up from normal handling. Lock or zip tie it if possible. 

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I may have to swap terminals at ORD and if so, possibly recheck baggage.  This was the case between domestic/ international terminals when I was back/forth from the US to Okinawa.  Added hassle on top of the 3 bags I'm already dragging around.

I agree about hand carrying the mask on the plane, but unfortunately I won't have space. I'll have my backpack/documents under the seat and am also hand carrying my violin as a carry on. I'm considering shipping my primary mask in my hard case containers full of clothes/etc that are going out this week.

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14 hours ago, seagoal said:

I would recommend taking your mask on the plane with you as a carry on.  It's really the only piece of gear we have that can be damaged, and coincidentally, the most important piece of gear we use.  

Spend the extra bucks in the airport and get a luggage cart assuming your gear bag is a carry bag.  No use wrecking your back and shoulders while flying internationally. 

Just wear it. Have to wear a mask on flights anyways.

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