Today’s tip comes to you from Abbotsford, B.C., so it’s appropriate that we continue our series on traveling. I’m finding that an iPad isn’t the best tool, so please excuse a couple typos.
This week, we’ll focus on the actual travel portion of the trip, in other words, getting from home to wherever you’re going.
Packing is probably my least favorite part of traveling. I suggest making a checklist of all of your important equipment and keeping a blank copy on your computer. That way, you can always go print a fresh one with each trip. Your list should also include things like cleats, your shooting jersey and anything else you normally have on the range with you. Check things off as you pack, there’s nothing worse than getting halfway (or more) to an event and realizing you forgot your ammo, favorite rabbits foot or whatever the case may be. If you’re flying, make sure that your checked luggage doesn’t break the magical 50 lb barrier to avoid incurring some nasty baggage fees.
My cut-off time for driving vs. flying tends to be around 10 hours or so for a pistol event. 3 Gun tends to be a bit longer, simply due to the logistical challenges of flying with 3 guns and ammo for each. So, make sure to allow yourself plenty of time if you are driving. I’ve found google maps to be a pretty accurate indicator of real time spent. While it generally calculates off of a much slower driving speed, you make up for it in stops for gas, restroom, etc. I don’t like to use my Garmin by itself for navigation, as it can tend to send you on… Strange routes at times. If I’ve got a printout of where I need to go, I know when to ignore the windshield driver. General observation: make sure to stay well hydrated while driving. I’m one of the worlds worst at not drinking water to minimize bathroom stops, but unless you have a day in between to recover, it’s pretty much a bad idea.
Whenever you are bringing a firearm, make sure to get the ticket counter 2 hours before your flight, and maybe even longer during peak times. Dealing with the ticket agent and TSA is probably a whole other article, but here are some basics.
Duh. Hopefully, this doesn’t need to be expanded on.
Guns and ammo:
All firearms must be packed in a locked, hard-sided container. This can be anything from the simple plastic box most guns ship from the factory in, to a large pelican or aluminum box. I like to use something that I can put a large padlock on to discourage tampering. Ammo must be packed in a container that separates each round. I like the hinged MTM boxes. Remember, the 11 lbs of ammo thing is an airline regulation, not something set by TSA or FAA, and while most follow that guideline, Frontier will allow up to 50 lbs on a domestic flight.
Depending on the airport, you will either take your bag directly to TSA for screening, or wait in a designated area while they x-ray in a controlled location. Travelers Pro Tip: Take everything out of your pockets except your boarding pass and ID and stick in your carry-on while you wait for them to clear your bag. By doing that, you can walk up to the security check point, take out your laptop, shuck your shoes and go. Everybody hates standing behind the guy who waits until he gets to the little table to take off his belt, get his keys, wallet, phone and other junk from his pockets in the little tray. Don’t be that guy.
Once you’re at that point, you should pretty much be in the clear and can relax until you get to your destination, which will be the topic of part 3!