Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Thu April 09 2015

To Bring or Not to Bring: Sports Equipment on Vacation

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | April 09, 2015

To Bring or Not to Bring: Sports Equipment on Vacation

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

As the summer gets into full swing, golf clubs are being dusted off and tennis rackets are being restrung.  With the cost of extra baggage going through the roof with the airlines, the question continuously being asked is, “Should I bring my equipment or just rent it when I get there?”

Bring it

The advantage to bringing your own equipment is you know exactly what you are working with. Rental equipment might not fit you the way that your equipment does. If you have to buy supplies that you would normally have along with you, it will more than likely cost you more than you would pay at home. 

In certain cases, like bowling, the ball is fitted specifically for you and if it is a tournament, you certainly do not want to bowl with house equipment. The disadvantage is that you may pay a bundle to bring it along with you.  Most airlines are pretty good with golf clubs and other equipment. 

They will normally allow you to check one set of clubs as baggage with no additional fees unless it weighs in at more than 50 pounds or is oversized. Some airlines will only allow you to pack 14 clubs, 12 balls and a pair of shoes in your bag. Some of the novice golfers out there go through more than 12 balls in a round (OK, maybe just me). 

There are also allowances for fishing, hockey, scuba, surfboards, etc. Check with your individual airlines before you book the ticket. Be careful because if you hit that oversize fee, it can get up to as high as $150.

Ship it

Shipping is a great way to alleviate trying to navigate two airports and ground transportation to your final destination with your equipment in tow. Most services like FedEx or UPS start at a little less than $50 to ship golf clubs and the price obviously goes up the further you have to ship them. 

If you have incredibly bulky or heavy items, you may want to consider Greyhound. Yes, the same Greyhound that buses people all over the country. Greyhound Package Express will ship anywhere in the country that has a greyhound terminal and as long as your final destination and starting point are within 15 miles of a Greyhound terminal, they will even deliver door to door.

See Also: You Think You Know Everything About Greyhound? You’re Right (And Wrong).

Rent it

So the thought of bringing or shipping you stuff scares the heck out of you or you aren’t going for any other reason than leisure anyway? Well you might consider just renting the equipment that you need. 

Sometimes renting is a crap shoot, and it is always best to call ahead and find out what you are getting into. You may end up with clubs that are actually better than yours. You may, on the other hand, not be able to rent the left handed clubs at the course that you need. 

Make sure whatever equipment you are going to rent, you reserve it. There is nothing worse than showing up for the tennis lesson and all of the rackets are out for the day. My rule of thumb is if I can pack it in a suitcase, I bring it.  Golf balls, bowling shoes, darts (don’t try to carry those on) etc. all fit in the suitcase and therefore they don’t need to be purchased at the destination. 

Don’t be afraid to grab an extra box of Bridgestone balls when you go. The price they are charging in the clubhouse overseas can be twice what it is here. Even if you don’t need them, you can sell them to the twosome you got paired up with and pay for drinks that night.

Whether you decide to bring, ship or rent equipment on your next vacation is ultimately a choice based mostly on how good you want to be and how much you are willing to pay to be good.  What issues have you had transporting equipment?  How bad were fees to ship, bring, or rent?  Let me know in the comments below.


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.