The Do's & Don'ts of Traveling with Sports Equipment

Everyone knows what to do with their golf bag when traveling. It’s a checked piece of luggage and that’s that. But what about some of the others balls, racquets, clothing and personalized gear that athletes need to bring along when traveling to compete or just unwind on vacation?

Certain things like baseballs, basketballs, footballs, along with the pumps that are used to inflate them, can accompany the traveler in the aircraft cabin. Even some unexpected items are allowed in the cabin. Take, for instance, ice skates, track spikes, and skydiving rigs. All are allowed as carry-on items.

Other items, from bows and arrows, diving knives, and pool cues, to baseball bats and fishing hooks, must be transported in checked baggage only.

Since the rules and regulations can get confusing (you can bring a bowling ball in your carry-on, but bowling pins must be placed in checked baggage), the TSA has provided the below chart for travelers’ reference:

Permitted in Carry-on Bags:

Baseballs & Baseball Cleats, Basketballs, Bicycle Chains & Bicycle Pumps, Bocce Balls, Bowling Balls, Boxing Gloves, Fishing Poles, Footballs & Football Helmets, Golf Balls, Golf Shoes, and Golf Tees, Handball Racquets, Hockey Pucks, Ice Skates & Rollerblades, Ping Pong Paddles, Skateboards, Ski Boots & Ski Helmets, Skydiving Rigs, Snowboards, Soccer Cleats, Softballs, Sports Ball Pumps & Needles, Tennis Racquets, Track Spikes, Volleyballs 

Permitted in Checked Baggage Only:

Baseballs Bats & Novelty Baseball Bats, Boogie Boards & Skim Boards, Bowling Pins, Bows & Arrows, Canoe/Kayak Paddles, Cricket Bats, Croquet Mallets, Diving Knives, Fencing Foils, Fishing Hooks, Pogo Sticks, Golf Clubs, Hiking Poles, Hockey Sticks, Hunting Knives, Ice Picks, Lacross Sticks, Lawn Darts, Martial Arts Weapons, Paintball Guns, Pole Vault Pole, Polo Mallet, Pool Cues, Ski Poles & Skis, Surfboards & Surf Paddles, Throwing Darts

One integral piece of an athlete’s training regimen, supplements, are often forgotten until standing in the security line at the airport. More than one athlete has asked himself “should I have put these in my checked bag?” The answer is not necessarily. The FDA, who regulates vitamins, herbs, and supplement products, will allow travelers to bring these items with them, either on their person or in checked luggage, as long as they are carrying an amount “reasonably considered for personal use.”