Tips for Taking Your Bicycle Overseas

by Natalia Sokolova

It may not seem like it, but bringing your two-wheeled companion abroad is far from a pipe dream. In reality, it is much easier to bring your bicycle on a plane than you might think. There are just a few things you should consider before you start taking your bike apart.

Is it worth bringing your bike?

Before you begin disassembling your bike and trying to jam it in a bike box, you have to figure out why you are bringing your bike in the first place. If your bike is just worth $200, then it is probably not worth the hassle. It would be much easier to buy one when you land at your destination.

Will you use it to simply commute around the city or do you have bigger plans for it? I took my bike with me when I went to Korea after deciding that I would cycle across the country and that any cheap bike I could buy would just make me angry every time I rode it.

How to pack your bike

If you are flying to your destination to bike your way back, it is much easier to throw your bicycle into a cardboard bike box and recycle the box at your destination. Most bike stores will give you a bicycle box if you ask them. If you are moving somewhere to live, I recommend investing some money in a reusable hard-case bike box as it will be much easier to carry to and from the airport. Those cases do come at a price; however, it will be worth it when you are also transporting the rest of your luggage to the airport.

Choosing the right flight path

The fewer times your bike is handled by baggage handlers the better it is for your bike. There is also less chance of it getting lost on a stopover. Choosing a direct flight will save you the headache of worrying about the condition of the bike—the money you may save on your ticket with three stopovers will not be worth the time and money you might need to fix your spokes, or buy new wheels or even a new frame at your destination. I would also never fly through any country that makes me re-check my checked baggage during a stopover. That is just extra hassle I do not want to deal with.

Choosing the right airline

Some airlines will charge you an arm and a leg for an extra bag or oversized luggage. Some airlines may not let you bring sports equipment. Check the baggage policies and extra costs before you buy your flight ticket. Some prices may seem high but may end up costing you less when you add in extra baggage fees. I do not fly with certain airlines because the added fees are almost the price of another ticket.

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