How to Travel by Air with Vinyl Records
You have booked yourself a gig abroad, your bags are packed and you have even taken care of all those infuriating COVID-19 declaration forms. You are pretty much ready to go; only just realising you have a bunch of ultra-fragile LPs to take along for the ride.
Vinyl records are naturally more susceptible to damage than tapes, CDs and digital media. They can also occupy much more space in your bags, which does not usually bode well for affordable air travel.
Travelling by air with vinyl records can be a daunting prospect, but it is nonetheless possible to get your precious vinyl from point A to point B without damaging or destroying it along the way.
A few points worth considering before packing your bags and setting off:
Can I Take My Vinyl Records in My Hand Luggage?
The short answer is yes – vinyl records can be transported as hand luggage. There is nothing about a vinyl LP that is restricted where carry-on baggage is concerned. Nevertheless, it is vital to check the carry-on baggage size and weight restrictions of the airline you are travelling with.
Hand baggage allowances tend to be quite restrictive at the best of times, leaving little room for manoeuvre where vinyl is concerned, it could be better to throw your clothing and other non-breakables in your hold luggage if looking to free up hand-luggage space.
Remember that as it will be going in the overhead locker, it needs to be packed into something fairly robust, it will be bashed about a fair bit along the way.
Carry-on Bag or Checked Luggage?
You could always invest into a heavy-duty protective case for your vinyl and have it placed in the hold. The benefit of doing so is that of a much higher weight limit and greater flexibility by way of bag size.
On the downside, a plane’s hold has a tendency to be susceptible to extremely low temperatures at high altitudes. Even with the most durable and protective bag, this could result in your vinyl records becoming so cold they become are even more fragile – or even crack.
Where possible, keeping your vinyl records with you in the cabin is the preferable option.
Can I Avoid Cracking or Bending?
If you have no choice but to transport your LPs in the plane’s hold, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of cracking or bending.
This means using the highest-quality DJ backpacks and cases that are designed to offer maximum protection; the soft padding on the interior protects vinyl against knocks and friction, while at the same time providing protection from warping and cracking.
If packing your vinyl in standard bags, keep them away from anything that could put further pressure on them during transit. Surround them with soft protection to keep them as safe as possible from potential damage.