It’s hard not to turn into a jumping jack on steroids when planning a kitesurfing trip. But, traveling with kitesurfing gear is as exciting as it can be overwhelming. Between kiteboards, kites, harnesses, bars, pumps, and survival clothes, the process of getting it all together while abiding to weight and space restrictions, can make us tired even before boarding the plane.
After a recent trip to Tarifa and traveling with kitesurfing gear that was far over my body weight, I learned some quick tips to make travel time a bit easier. Here are five useful ones:
1- Book Connecting Flights With the Same Airline
If you are traveling with kitesurfing gear and have to catch more than one flight, try to book a connecting flight option offered by the airline. This will save you from the mad-rush of claiming your baggage at a stop, and having to check it in with a different airline.
When booking connecting flights, you will also have to pay close attention to the airline carriers assigned for each flight. Sometimes a partner airline is used and different baggage restrictions may apply, including baggage fees. This takes us to tip #2.
2- Research Baggage Restrictions For Each Carrier
Baggage regulations can vary between airlines, turning into a menace when travelling with kitesurfing gear. If we don’t do the necessary research on the airline, we can easily get caught off-guard by additional baggage fees. Oversize and overweight can be a b*tch!
Some bigger airlines allow for sporting equipment to be part of your checked baggage, while others don’t. Take a look at the baggage allowances for weight and dimensions of each carrier, and make sure that your kitesurfing gear fits the requirements. A few airlines have special regulations for golf bags. You may run a risk, but it’s worth the try at getting your board and kite gear all in one bag, and at a reduced rate.
Luggage allowances are as well important to consider when booking flights through an operating carrier that uses partner airlines. Take American Airlines, for example, where you may book an AA itinerary and end up on an Iberia flight, without realizing. This happened to me on my recent trip to Tarifa, connecting in Madrid. Luckily the penalty this time wasn’t too big.
Below you have quick links to information on sporting equipment restrictions for three major airlines:
Also, keep yourself updated with airline policies! These change periodically, and hardly ever for the best.
3- Research the Cost of Renting a Car
Renting a car can work out to be more affordable than other options. We may try to save on rental fees but then finish spending more. Overnight hotels, bus and/or train tickets, and taxi rides will add up.
Lets not forget the hassle of trying to get your kiteboard in a taxi, not to mention the luggage area of a bus.
4- If Overnighting, Be Strategic With the Hotel You Book When Traveling with Kitesurfing Gear
If you don’t rent a car, find a hotel that is close to the bus or train station that you will be using to get to your final location. You don’t want to end up like me, cart-napping in broad daylight along the city of Malaga.
No judgments here! I needed to get my three overweight bags, full of kitesurfing gear, from the hotel to the bus station. And of course I didn’t make it the whole way undetected… I was stopped by the Malaga street patrol and my cart was confiscated!
5- Girls, Try To Be Practical When Packing!
Yes, I know, I feel your pain. It’s difficult to choose between your kite pump and some extra pairs of shoes, but trust me, you’ll be grateful for that pump!
Choose your favorite pair of heels, indulge in one or two less than practical dresses, and a small cosmetic bag with essentials. Use the rest of space for bikinis, rash guards, wetsuits (not if you come to the Caribbean!) and all other beach and kitesurfing essentials.
The great thing about traveling with kitesurfing gear is just that- your trip is based on kiting! You will mostly be in beach attire and will not use as many clothes as you anticipate. Once the wind is good you will spend your days on the water. By the end of it, you will be way too tired for a full night out in heels anyway.
It will all be worth it in the end, I promise. When reaching your final destination you and your friends will be super stoked to have your own kitesurfing gear… you may even want to sleep in your kiting suit 🙂
Have I left out anything that has helped you when traveling with kitesurfing gear? If so, drop us a line below. We would love to hear your best tips!
See you on the water…