Canoeing and kayaking have always been high among the favourite passions of adventure holiday enthusiasts. While of course you can easily hire a vessel at popular watersports destinations, there are certainly times when you’ll need (or just want) to take your own familiar (or super special) kayak or canoe with you. And guess what? It’s not as hard as you’d think – as long as you do some research and prepare well.
Do They, Don’t They, Will They, Won’t They?
Not all airlines will allow you to fly with a canoe or kayak as part of your baggage allowance so you’ll need to check before you go ahead and book a flight. If an airline’s individual policy is unclear (and it can be confusing or misleading sometimes), give them a call to confirm their requirements – not only regarding dimensions, but also weight.
As well as making sure your airline is prepared to help you launch your vessel abroad, you’ll need to consider land transport to your final destination or accommodation once you land. You certainly won’t be too welcome on public transport balancing a canoe or kayak on your head (even if it’s available), and taxis will be unlikely to be able to carry them, so you’ll need to prebook a shared or private shuttle with the capacity to transport your equipment. Get your airport transfer bookings in place as soon as you’ve finalised your flights and you’ll be able to set off without any stress or nasty surprises when you land.
Preparing and Packing Your Canoe or Kayak
While there are specialist bags available, even some seasoned experts swear by the DIY method of bubble wrap, blanket or tarpaulin and packing tape! If you do choose to design your own packaging, make sure you fashion some kind of handles out of tape or rope so the baggage handlers can’t find any excuse to throw it around unnecessarily. In fact, there are also some people who claim that not wrapping a kayak at all (this doesn’t apply to a canoe) is the best way of putting it on a plane, as baggage handlers take more care and carry it more safely when they can see what it is.
Whether you invest in a professional canoe or kayak travel bag or not, you should certainly use a separate paddle bag – or at least wrap paddles extremely well before taping them to the inside of the canoe or kayak. A well-wrapped helmet can also be tucked or taped inside – but be aware of how much weight you’re adding, as this can affect the cost. A specialist waterproof kit bag is also a good idea, so you can keep all the bits and bobs in one place for travel (depending, of course, on how much you’re taking and what you decide you can rent).
Even with the best intentions, transporting unusually shaped sporting equipment on a plane comes with its hazards, so make sure you take out the appropriate insurance in case of any unfortunate incidents.
At the Airport
The tip, as always, is to arrive early – but this isn’t just to save you stress and queues at the check in counter. If the flight is full and luggage space is at a premium, the earlier you have checked in oversized baggage the less likely it is to get bumped off. It’s also a very good idea to print out the airline’s baggage policy or any correspondence you’ve exchanged with the airline regarding the carriage of your kayak or canoe. This pre-empts any problems at check in if you encounter an inexperienced staff member: it’s not all that common to bring a boat on a plane so you can’t always blame them if they’re doubtful of the rules.
Shuttle Direct – Here to Help
At Shuttle Direct, we go the extra mile to make sure our clients can safely and comfortably get to their destination with all their sporting equipment. It’s easy to book on line and our user-friendly system means you’ll get an instant confirmation of your service booking. Our efficient, safe and convenient transfers mean you won’t have to struggle on public transport or pay through the nose to get your canoe or kayak to your final destination.
Keep Us in the Know
We’re more than happy to transport all your sporting equipment, including a canoe or kayak, but we do need to know in advance what you’re bringing so we can dispatch the right vehicle for your transfer. Make sure that at the time of your service booking you advise us of all your baggage requirements. If you need any assistance or advice we’re here to help, so just contact our friendly Customer Care team.