View Full Version : Travel advice re: Cites

12-25-2017, 03:55 AM
After using the search function and reading a number of threads on CITES I am more confused than ever.

I am planning a trip to Ethiopia in January and am wondering , can I travel with my COLLINGS UT2 as it relates to Rose wood restrictions ?

12-25-2017, 04:37 AM
You canít ship it, but you can carry up to 10lbs/2.2kg of rosewood for personal use.

Good luck with that. :)

12-25-2017, 01:55 PM
Thanks, I’ve travelled with it before but only between Canada and the US, with no issues but was reading about what I could carry on and the CITES thing got me a little nervous.

Graham Greenbag
12-26-2017, 11:40 PM
Even though you should get through a customs post at a border crossing with it, I think you may still need to declare that you have it. For me this would just add extra waiting time and more questions to answer from the customs agents, then they may want to make you take it out so they can see it and inspect it. So I would take another uke which does not need to be declared in the forms, just to save time and avoid more questions.

Those echo my thoughts, but it seems to me that instruments that don’t use Rosewood are very much in the minority. Besides the all plastic ones and maybe the Flukes (not sure what the bridge is made of) nothing much comes to mind. I wouldn’t want to divert this thread but more information (about what you can do with your traditional Uke and how you can do something else) would be a help.

12-27-2017, 12:46 PM
My thoughts here are how in the heck are customs agents going to be experts on the appearance of these woods? What if they simply think it is a restricted species? It presents real problems for anyone travelling with an instrument.

12-28-2017, 12:58 AM
Perhaps it would help to bring an invoice along to proof that your instrument was purchased - and hence built - prior to the new CITES restrictions.

In order to avoid the hassle, several brands have stopped using Rosewood, at least on some models like the KoAloha Classic line, the Kanilea E line (E for Ebony), or all of the new Pono models.

Along with Rosewood, there seems to be new restrictions on Pearl/Abalone. Be sure to take that into consideration as well.

12-28-2017, 02:38 AM
All interesting thoughts, I have a less expensive Fender Tenor that I could take but, I haven’t touched it since the Collings came into the picture. I tend to be a risk taker and always assume that I can talk my way out of most situations.

Maybe I’ll offer to sing, that could get me ushered through quickly just to shut me up.

12-28-2017, 04:22 AM
Is Cites really about individual travelers with their ukuleles that have rosewood fretboards? It seems to me that Cites is about the trafficking of raw materials used in the making of rosewood fretboards and manufacturers who are using those materials in the production of fretboards in violation of the law. I just think that seizing individual ukuleles from travelers is not the intent of Cites.

12-28-2017, 04:37 AM
I just think that seizing individual ukuleles from travelers is not the intent of Cites.

From what I understand, seizing individual ukuleles from travelers is not the intent of CITES, but it was crafted overly broadly. Therefore, it is a PITA to deal with if you are travelling with an instrument. Aside from all the paperwork you are supposed to do, law enforcement could (theoretically) invoke CITES regulations to prevent you from taking your instrument across a border. In that case, you might have to choose between leaving your beloved instrument behind and changing your travel plans.

If it were me, I'd not bring ANY wooden instrument on an international trip unless it was absolutely necessary. The risk of hassle over it makes the prospect unappealing to me. Spending $200 on an Outdoor brand would solve the CITES problems you might potentially face, and it might ultimately turn out to be cheaper than tempting fate by taking a wooden instrument.