Hiking and trekking can be enjoyable activities. But when you trek for a long time, you start running out of places to go. Instead of visiting the same sites over and over, you should consider traveling to other countries with gorgeous mountainous regions.
If that ever happens to you, you might wonder how to pack all your trekking gear, including your trekking poles. After all, the trekking poles are an essential piece of hiking equipment. So, what do airplane companies say about packing hiking poles?
Knowing the facts about air travel and hiking sticks is essential and could help you have a better, more successful trip. In today's guide, I will discuss this topic in greater detail. So, if you want to learn even more about it, make sure to read on!
Can You Take Trekking Poles on a Plane?
Taking your trekking or hiking poles on a plane could be tricky. If you have ever traveled by airplane, you must know that security does not allow any potential weapon in the plane. It does not have to be an actual weapon - it could be anything that is sharp or has a pointy tip.
This is where things get complicated, as most hiking poles have pointy tips at the end. Their form makes them comparable to a stick you could use to hit someone or something. That means the poles are unsafe and could be banned from the airplane's cabin.
Still, checking in with a TSA officer or someone working at the airline you will travel with is wise. They will tell you if you can take your hiking poles into the cabin or put them in the checked luggage. They can also tell you if the airline allows the transport of such poles so you know whether to take them or not.
A safe assumption is that you can take any walking stick used for medical needs on the plane. Things like trekking poles would not be allowed into the cabin, but you might be able to transport them in checked bags.
TSA Rules About Hiking Poles and Trekking Poles
If you are not a US citizen and have never traveled there, you might not know what TSA stands for. Knowing this acronym is very important, as you will see it all over airports in most English-speaking countries.
Namely, TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration. TSA officers work to ensure people are safe while traveling with any means of public transportation. You can see a TSA agent at any security checkpoint in airports, but do not be surprised if you see them with a K9 unit. These trained dogs help trace scents from passengers' bags.
If there is one thing you can take away from this, it should be that you cannot board a plane without meeting with at least one TSA agent. According to the airline and TSA rules, they will advise you on what you can take to the cabin and what you must leave in your checked luggage or leave behind.
It is best to know the rules before you get to the airport. That way, you will know if you need checked baggage or carry-on luggage for your things. You will also know how to pack, which items to take and which to leave behind, and so on.
How To Carry Trekking Poles on a Plane?
Even though things can vary between the airlines, the safest assumption is that you can carry trekking poles on your flight if you pack them in your checked luggage. Few airlines allow you to bring hiking poles in the cabin as part of your carry-on luggage.
I recommend keeping your carry-on bag for the necessary items only. Unless you use your hiking sticks as a mobility aid, I do not think you should consider them essential to take in the cabin. They would be fine even if you left them in your luggage.
Still, another way to carry the poles into the cabin is by dividing them into as many pieces as possible. Try to find a bag that would fit the pieces. Then, put the packed poles into your carry-on, and the TSA might not even notice them.
Even though doing this might sound like a good idea, it might not be, as you might have to leave your poles behind if the officers find them. Chances are that there will be little time to move trekking poles from carry-ons to checked luggage. So, make the final decision while packing at home.
Can I Put Trekking Poles in Checked Luggage?
Putting your hiking poles into your checked luggage is a great option. As I said, most airlines allow you to take hiking poles in checked bags but not all of them. So, call and check the rules before you pack and leave for the airport.
If you do not have a medical need for the walking sticks, you can put them into your checked luggage. There are two alternative options to look into as well, but let's start with the checked bag first:
Pack in checked luggage
If you plan on taking a hiking stick with you on your trip, you will need to put it in your checked bags as it will be safer for everyone. Keeping the sticks in your carry-on luggage could pose a security threat and might force the TSA to take the sticks away.
This is why all hiking gear needs to go in checked luggage. Get a separate bag for your trekking poles, break them apart, and put them into the suitcase. Surround the bag with clothing, ensuring it protects the sticks from breaking during transport.
You can also mail the hiking poles directly to the destination country. That way, you will not have to worry about them getting damaged, lost, or thrown away by TSA. This option is also relatively cost-efficient since you will not have to pay extra for checked baggage.
Rent or buy new ones
If there is no way for you to bring hiking poles during your travels, you can also buy or rent some poles once you arrive at your destination. Most destinations have sporting equipment stores that can rent you some hiking poles. In that case, you will need to be mindful of the cost of renting and returning the poles in time to avoid having to deal with an extra fine.
How Do You Travel with Trekking Poles?
You can travel with your hiking poles in two ways - packing them in your bags or taking them into the plane. In the second case, you must justify why you need the poles on the plane. If you have a medical note saying the sticks are a necessary mobility aid, chances are you will be allowed to take them on the plane.
Then, ensure that the hiking sticks are always close to you. Please do not leave them unattended or hand them over to someone you do not know. If you follow the rules, there should be no problems at all. The only thing left would be for you to enjoy the trip - so happy hiking!
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