PDA

View Full Version : Should I ship ukuleles via ocean freight or put them in checked bags?



paeataa
03-01-2012, 05:15 PM
I'm thinking about getting a couple (or 3 :D) solid koa ukuleles in a few months. And I'm relocating back to Bangkok, Thailand by the end of summer or the end of this year at the latest.

Now it occurs to me that getting ukes back to Thailand might be a problem. Given that I may be able to carry one uke with me as a music instrument, what should I do with the other two?

Is it safe to get them shipped oversea via freight? It takes about 1-2 months. I'm concerned about the ukes travelling through different climates from cold/dry to hot/humid.

Or should I put them in the checked luggage packed with a humidifier in each case? Should I be concerned about cracks? Last year I travelled back to Thailand. In one of my checked luggages, I packed a uke (solid spruce top) without any problem getting there in one piece with no cracks whatsoever.

But I'm leaning toward shipping them via freight as they are cheaper considering airlines nowadays allow only one checked bag for international flights. I definitely need to pay extra baggage fees for the ukes :(

The reason I'm buying ukes here is that those particular ukes are relatively cheaper than those in Thailand (around $100 cheaper each). If it's not worth the trouble, I might just wait until I'm in Thailand to get those ukes.

Thanks! Any recommendation/suggestion would be much appreciated, as always :)

Hippie Dribble
03-01-2012, 05:20 PM
hi paeataa,

there is no way on this earth I would send them over in a ship's hull and have it take 2+ months. I would rather wear the extra cost and have them with me on the flight. Put them in the plane mate. 2 months of uncertainty vs. a few hours safely in a plane...no decision to make for me at least.

hoosierhiver
03-01-2012, 05:24 PM
I'd definitely carry one on the plane, depending upon the airline you might get away with taking two on board with you. The Asian airlines aren't as picky as US carriers. We ship USPS priority to Thailand almost every week and never have any trouble, typically takes about 7-10 days, but I expect you will have to pay import duty.
Once in Thailand be sure to check out Ribbee Boutique near Siam Center/ Siam Discover. Asada is THE MAN when it comes to ukuleles in Thailand. Also a great guy who will help you any way he can. Thailand now has several brands on Thai made ukuleles that are worth checking out including a guy in Bangkok who makes the cheapest carbon fibers available.

paeataa
03-01-2012, 05:24 PM
Good point, Eugene :)

Do you think the ukes will survive 24-hour flights (with 2-3 connections) in the checked luggage? I don't think the airlines will let me carry and put all of them in the cabin.

Thanks a lot for your suggestion.


hi paeataa,

there is no way on this earth I would send them over in a ship's hull and have it take 2+ months. I would rather wear the extra cost and have them with me on the flight. Put them in the plane mate. 2 months of uncertainty vs. a few hours safely in a plane...no decision to make for me at least.

paeataa
03-01-2012, 05:26 PM
Thank you very much, Mike!

I missed the ukulele festival, and the chance to meet you guys in person.

I've been checking prices of ukes sold here and at Ribbee and other uke shops in Thailand before making a final decision whether I should buy them here or wait until I'm there :)


I'd definitely carry one on the plane, depending upon the airline you might get away with taking two on board with you. The Asian airlines aren't as picky as US carriers. We ship USPS priority to Thailand almost every week and never have any trouble, typically takes about 7-10 days, but I expect you will have to pay import duty.
Once in Thailand be sure to check out Ribbee Boutique near Siam Center/ Siam Discover. Asada is THE MAN when it comes to ukuleles in Thailand. Also a great guy who will help you any way he can. Thailand now has several brands on Thai made ukuleles that are worth checking out including a guy in Bangkok who makes the cheapest carbon fibers available.

Nickie
03-01-2012, 05:32 PM
A few weeks ago there was a sad story on UU about someone who checked his uke as baggage. It was destroyed. Baggage handlers do not care what's packed. I would never check my uke as baggage, even if I had to buy a seat for them.

foxfair
03-01-2012, 05:38 PM
What airline are you flying anyway? My own experience was some airline companies could let you bring 2 in, but request their staff to walk with you to boarding gate. And boarding crews will check with ground/captain etc.... to make sure there is space. So be there earlier!

paeataa
03-01-2012, 05:55 PM
What airline are you flying anyway? My own experience was some airline companies could let you bring 2 in, but request their staff to walk with you to boarding gate. And boarding crews will check with ground/captain etc.... to make sure there is space. So be there earlier!

It's likely either Delta or American Airlines (via Japan Airlines) to Japan, and then Bangkok.

Having read recommendation so far, it sounds like not a good idea getting ukes here. But prices here are so tempting, anyway :)

mr moonlight
03-01-2012, 06:20 PM
Asian airlines are usually very accommodating. You should be fine checking in your uke given you pack it properly. The mistake a lot of people make is that they check their instrument but don't have a flight case. if you don't have a proper flight case, pack your uke case or cases inside a suitcase with clothing wrapped around them. If your suitcase is large enough you can probably fit 2 - 3 Ukes in one.

Plainsong
03-01-2012, 10:05 PM
Have you thought of shipping the other two ukes by Fedex/DHL/TNT... expensive, but they're generally good at this kind of thing.

mm stan
03-01-2012, 10:29 PM
My friend the uke dealer has shipped hundreds of ukes from hawaii to thailand with the USPS..Baan Ukulele..
has no problems as I heard of....

paeataa
03-02-2012, 04:57 PM
Thank you everyone for your suggestion.

Now I'm trying to get an idea of how much shipping via USPS or UPS/Fedex/etc. costs. Hopefully, the shipping cost will not break my bank!

mm stan
03-02-2012, 05:25 PM
USPS shouldn't cost too much......make sure you find out the size of the box requirements..so you save some money...

Doc_J
03-02-2012, 05:45 PM
USPS shouldn't cost too much......make sure you find out the size of the box requirements..so you save some money...

+ 1 on mailing it (Priority or Express....not parcel post).

pwcgecko
03-02-2012, 06:48 PM
How about purchasing a solid hardshell suitcase then you can check it in and also have some room for some shirts or something.

MGM
03-02-2012, 07:37 PM
Shipping from USA to there for two ukes in a case should be about 100.00 express if packed right. Aloha

mr moonlight
03-03-2012, 05:55 AM
A few weeks ago there was a sad story on UU about someone who checked his uke as baggage. It was destroyed. Baggage handlers do not care what's packed. I would never check my uke as baggage, even if I had to buy a seat for them.

The real question is what the uke was in when it was checked. I think what often happens when an instrument gets destroyed in baggage is someone plans on carrying their instrument on the plane, but ends up having to check it at the last minute.

thomas
03-04-2012, 02:39 AM
Ive carried three on quite a few times. A concert and a soprano in gigbags, inside a bigish backpack with a shirt or two for padding, and a tenor in a hardcase. Just be careful with the backpack.

Gook luck.