How To Travel With Your Vinyl Records

The renaissance of vinyl has brought up new, better, and safer ways to travel with your favorite records everywhere you go. 

You have probably heard that vinyl records are far more fragile than CDs or cassette tapes and therefore need more attention during transportation. This is absolutely true, as vinyl can easily bend, warp, break, or even melt at high temperatures. 

Vinyl records cost a lot of money and taking them on a plane can be a scary thought. If you transfer your LPs with a cheap backpack with soft protective materials it will be more harmful than good. Today we will see the best ways to travel with your records safely and with style. 

vinyl record collection

How To Travel With Your Vinyl Records

Can I take my vinyl records on a plane?

Vinyl records are TSA-permitted items for flying, so you can take them in your carry-on bag or checked luggage. Most domestic and international airlines will allow one carry-on luggage and one personal item. Remember that every airline has its individual dimension and weight restrictions to follow. 

Take a look at this individual airline/luggage dimension table to be prepared.

How to transport vinyl records on a plane?

If you are a vinyl DJ who is travelling often, it is essential to find the best way to fly with your records. The market has introduces new sleek-fitting bags and hard cases that will safely store your LPs during a flight.

The first question most will ask is, “should I carry records with me on the plane or in the checked luggage?”. 

Carry-on bag or Checked Luggage?

Both ways are acceptable but the safest and best option is to carry your records on board. The conditions on the passengers’ seats are definitely better compared to the “unknown”. You never know how airport staff will handle your suitcase. 

The extremely low temperatures in high altitudes will harden your records and make them more fragile to break or crack. On the other hand, the room temperature inside your flight cabin is the ideal place to keep them. 

A common-sized carry-on bag of most airline carriers is 22″x 14″x 9″ (56 x 36 x 23 cm) and has a weight limit of 22 lbs (10 Kg). Checked luggage can be double the size and weigh up to 25 Kg.

Packing your LPs in your checked luggage is a more tricky business, as we will see below.

Broken Vinyl Record

How to avoid cracking or bending?

Soft paddings inside the most modern DJ backpacks will ensure high endurance during transportation and hardship. If those paddings are missing from your bag, replace them with some clothes that will absorb friction and bumps.

If you transfer your LPs in a large suitcase, avoid anything that can put pressure on them. For a few minutes might not do any harm, but a few hours of traveling can get your records warped.

Hard Shell Case or Cloth Bag?

vinyl case for the plane
vinyl record bag

Locking aluminum hard cases are the most common way DJs choose to transfer their vinyl. However, it is not always practical and not the best option to get your records on the plane.

Hard cases are often heavier and do not necessarily fit more vinyl records than a simple bag. Furthermore, those cases do not offer space for your DJ headphones, laptop, or other gear, so you will have to manage more than a couple of baggage.

If you want to transfer your whole vinyl collection to your new house or studio ones and for all, then an unbreakable hard case is the best way to go. Also, it is a great way to maintain your records at home.

vinyl records luggage

How to pack vinyl in your luggage?

It can happen that the airline company has limited allowed on-board luggage capacity, so packing your records in the checked luggage is one-way. Remember to use your clothing as a padding material around your records to absorb the vibrations and shocks. Here is how to do it.

  1. Put your pants at the bottom
  2. Start packing your LPs in the center and rotate them to spread evenly. 
  3. Roll your hoodies and t-shirts and place them along the sides of your records, and to the top. 
  4. Fill up with your socks and underclothes.

Tip: Put your sharp and heavy items such as electronics and shoes into a completely different bag.

How to transfer your LPs to a gig?

When you want to transfer your records to the nearest city to perform live, a DJ backpack will fit most types of vinyl and DJ gear. It will also not require any special packaging or protective materials. If you are traveling far from home you are obligated to pack your records tightly and with the minimum gap between them.

Modern bags like the Ranger Work Tote by Tucker & Bloom are made from strong durable materials that will keep your records safe at all times. Make a list of all the gear and vinyl records you want to pack and make sure that it will fit everything.

Final Thoughts

A grocery or shopping bag will work only if you travel with a few records. If you are playing music live, then a bag or a case is essential to transfer your precious vinyl safely. 

If you choose your next bag carefully and pack your LPs properly, then you can travel with your records everywhere you go. It comes down to these two factors to enjoy your flight without an unpleasant surprise until you reach your destination. 

We wish you and your vinyls a safe journey!

how to travel with your vinyl records

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