We've all had the idea of traveling with our own ski, or golf, or whatever gear on our next trip, but we're all afraid of what might happen to them on vacation. Is it worth going abroad with sports equipment? What if airline baggage handlers cause damage, is that covered by my travel insurance?
And you are absolutely right to inquire about travel insurance coverage before you go, because many people assume their sporting goods are automatically insured. To answer this question: yes, your golf clubs and skis will be covered, but only with selected options.
For example, golf equipment coverage can be viewed as an optional extension to a particular insurance contract. Ski equipment is often covered in a winter sports package that can be arranged for your stay. Generally, traveling with your sports equipment is perfectly safe. You just need to make sure you pack it properly and protect it against the rare risk of loss, breakage or theft. Here are five basic tips that will help you.
How to prepare for the registration of sports equipment?
Remove the pedals or secure them so that they do not protrude. Unscrew the front wheel and secure it to the frame and fix and secure the handlebars along the frame. Deflate the tires and then wrap the bike with stretch film or plastic bags, or place it in a cardboard box.
- Diving equipment
Empty the bottles, turn all switches and valves off, and remove all batteries and lights.
Diving equipment can only be carried in checked baggage and is subject to weight conditions which may result in additional charges if the weight exceeds the maximum authorized weight.
The most fragile parts should be carefully wrapped (for example, in foam). If you want to transport a harpoon launcher, it will need to be packed properly and the ammo will need to be packaged separately.
Transport of windsurfing boards and surfboards is always subject to additional charges. This equipment is never included in the hold baggage allowance.
- Skis and snowboard
Most airlines accept to carry skis and snowboards. These items of equipment are considered "sports luggage": a pair of skis with its fixing elements and a pair of boots are considered to be one piece of baggage (for water skiing, the skis are considered to be one piece of baggage).
It is advisable to pack the skis in a suitable transport bag.
The cost of transporting sports equipment differs from one airline to another. Most scheduled airlines like Saudi Airlines allow sports equipment in checked baggage and do not charge extra for this service.
- Golf clubs
Saudi Airlines applies its own tariffs for transporting sports equipment. It accepts to carry golf clubs in excess of the baggage allowance at no additional cost. However, charges may apply if the bag containing the golf clubs has an oversized dimension, or if its weight exceeds a certain limit (check with Saudi Airlines customer service).
Tips for traveling with your sports equipment on board a Saudia aircraft
Your € 2,000 bike will never mean as much to someone else as it does to you. Saudi Airlines and other airlines are known to throw business away, so it's not a bad idea to give your sports equipment an extra layer of plastic. Bubble wrap works great as a protective layer around bikes, surfboards, and other fragile (and expensive) gear.
The cheaper option of placing a few towels around your sporting goods also works well, but I recommend using a hard case if possible and reinforcing it with bubble wrap.
Sports equipment is not covered by all travel insurance policies. If you're serious about your golf, ski, or snowboard gear to take on vacation, you need to insure it. It has already been mentioned that airlines do not have an impeccable track record when it comes to handling passenger belongings, but this is just one risk you run on vacation. Your sports equipment and equipment could also be damaged, lost or stolen, among other things.
Be careful what you pass through airport security. If you take a harpoon rifle, a rifle or a hunting knife, or anything that could be taken as a weapon, do not take it in your hand luggage, it must go in the hold. At best, this will get you to the security office for questioning and you might miss your flight.
If you are bringing any of these or something similar, make sure you have the correct storage case and locking facilities, and that you declare them at the check-in desk. It will be extremely difficult to explain what a rifle does between your t-shirts and underwear, if found. We live in extremely delicate times when it comes to terrorism and the loading of potentially dangerous cargoes. Be as open and careful about your luggage as possible, to prevent security from getting a bad idea. For more information, contact Saudia customer service (Customer Service page).
Some smaller airlines will charge you extra for specialized sports equipment like surfboards, skis, windsurf boards, golf clubs and fishing rods. While most major carriers will not charge you additional fees on long-haul flights (this will normally be factored into your baggage allowance), so you will do well to find out ahead of time.
If you follow these guidelines and have the right insurance policy, you shouldn't have a problem bringing your sports equipment on a trip.