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Whether you are traveling for the first time or coming back from a bad experience and wanting to learn how to fix your mistakes - you have come to the right place. Flying with boards is always stressful. You have to trust that the airline will handle your bag with care. Unfortunately, that will not always be the case. So, with some planning on our part, you can rest easier knowing that no matter how much abuse your bag takes - the board inside will arrive safely.
1) Look over each airline's surfboard policy. They vary from brand to brand. So, always check before booking that their policy aligns with your needs.
2) Choose the right board(s). Research the type of waves you will see on your trip, then plan accordingly. Nothing is more frustrating than showing up with a knife to a gun show.
3) Choose the right size board bag. Always travel as lightly as you can get away with while keeping in mind that you want adequate protection for your stick.
4) Strip your board(s). Remove the fins and all of the wax. The last thing you want is a broken fin or melted wax inside your bag. Wrap the fins in bubble wrap or cellophane to be tucked away in a secure location.
5) Swaddle your board(s). Carefully encase your board in bubble wrap, fastening with a generous layer of packing tape so it will stay in place no matter what.
6) Put a sock on it. Gently slide your board into a board sock, being careful not to remove the bubble layer. You will appreciate the sock for daily transport once you arrive.
7) Pack your clothes. As mentioned, travel light. Have your clothes and beach towels act as additional padding around your board(s).
8) Weigh it! Once you have packed everything you need for your trip, weigh your bag. Adjust as needed. You do not want to go over the airline's allowed amount.
9) Slap some decals on it. Placing stickers that warn handlers of the fragility of your bag is always a good idea. Red "fragile" signs do a great job!
10) Don't forget the accessories. Most board bags have wide pockets along the outside that you can store leashes, fins, fin keys, wax etc.