Since we’re in the biz of helping guitarists get their gear where they’re going safely, we’ve been spending a lot of time talking to musicians about travel.

After all, hitting the road with your guitar can be a great thing, you know? Maybe you got a gig in Austin, or in Chicago, or in another country. Or maybe you’re just driving out to the ‘burbs to play a wedding.

So, that’s all good, but as you know, there’s usually some pain mixed in. We got some weekend warriors to tell us what they think about the troubles of travel.

Loading and looking

The first thing mentioned by Tony Salvaggio, Austin-based bass player for Deserts of Mars? “Loading stuff in and out,” and keeping gear compact enough in the back of an SUV to see what you need to see and “have a good line of sight when you’re driving.” Deserts of Mars mostly plays local gigs or venues in Houston, San Antonio, or Waco, so driving is what they’re dealing with. And, just like on planes, things can shift: Another issue is keeping your stuff strapped down so it “doesn’t move around a lot and gets there in one piece.”

And there’s the risk of theft: Know where you need to park outside a venue “so your stuff doesn’t get jacked.”

Joe Emery, guitarist for The Ugly Beats, sums up his main headache as “using other people’s gear.” Joe’s heading out in the coming weeks to gigs in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland and played in Europe last year, so, sure enough, the rest of his answer comes down to flying, and this is something we’re not surprised by.

Matchsticks—now there’s a visual

Joe says, “Sometimes (the cases) don’t fit in the bins. Last time we went to Spain, we got on the plane and carried on soft-shell cases, and they just didn’t fit in the bin. The airline people were super cool; they were able to stick some behind the seats in first class. If we’d had to check the guitars for international travel in soft cases, they would have been matchsticks when we got over there.”

We’ve talked a lot about tips for flying with your guitar. One thing to try is to call ahead and find out the bin size for the airplane you’re getting on.

Traveling is always risk, but we’re hoping to help you reduce it. So drop us a line and let us know what ticks you off or winds you up. And sign up for notifications for more on keeping your guitar safe when hitting the road.