wikiHow to Pack a Guitar for Travel

If you're going on holiday or playing a gig abroad, you probably want or maybe even need to bring your guitar. However, too many guitarists send their instruments inside fragile, unprotected gig bags only to find broken chunks of wood on the other end. Well obviously, they've made a mistake, and now they have no guitar so before you travel, learn how to avoid losing yours.


  1. Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 1
    Gather your equipment. There's nothing worse than arriving at your destination only to find you've forgotten your picks. Get your spare picks, capo, extra strings, tuner and everything else that you'll need and place them in one spot. Don't leave anything out because if you don't bring strings and your old ones break, you could find yourself using a size or type that you don't really want to play with. If you're missing something, buy it now.
  2. Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 2
    Choose a guitar that will travel well. If you only have one guitar, you're not going to be concerned with this step. However, if you have lots of guitars, choose one. It could be your favorite or one that you don't mind getting knocked around a bit or won't be so cut up about if it goes missing. Acoustic guitars are easier to carry about as you don't have to pack an amp and only need to bring minimal spare hardware. If you really want to bring your electric though, go ahead in full knowledge that you'll have some extras to carry.
  3. Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 3
    Buy a good quality flight case. Flight cases are rock solid. They can withstand nearly everything from a drop down a flight of stairs to the baggage handlers in the airport. However, with all the safety comes a price. A good quality flight case can start from £100. If you don't really want to spend that much, get a good quality hard case. These can be around £50. A nice way to get them cheap is to go to a music store and ask if they have any slightly blemished ones. A hard guitar case that used to be £60 can be reduced to £20 if it's a little battered. Don't get one that's too broken though.
  4. Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 4
    Bubble wrap. That's right, bubble wrap. The stuff you used to play with when you were a kid. Bubble wrap is great for absorbing impact and could save your guitar's life. Stationery shops and supermarkets usually sell bubble wrap quite cheaply. Get loads of it too, you'll need to wrap your whole guitar up. You could have a little bit lying around the house, so don't spend too much on it, as you could always buy more if you run out.
  5. Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 5
    Pack your equipment. If your guitar case comes with a small built-in compartment for extras, put all of your equipment in before packing the guitar. This is because to get to your equipment again, you'll have to unpack the guitar and start all over. It's just a hassle that you could avoid. If your guitar case doesn't come with a compartment, keep your equipment in your hand luggage. Don't try to shove it in the case, it could break.
  6. Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 6
    Line the case with the bubble wrap. To line the case, simply unroll the bubble wrap and put one layer in the bottom of the case. You don't need to make the layer very thick because you're going wrap the guitar up separately. The lining is just for a small bit of added protection.
    • If your guitar fits too snugly to line the case with bubble wrap and still have your instrument fit in, your case may be too small. It should have a little bit of flexible room in there.
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    Lay the guitar down. Now that your case is lined, lay your guitar in the bottom of the case. Do not cut the bubble wrap used for lining off as you're still going to be using the roll, so only cut it at the end.
    • Does your guitar fit? It should still have some room for more bubble wrap. You should start to see that the guitar is looking quite secure in the case though, secure enough for it not to break.
      Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 7Bullet1
  8. Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 8
    Pull the roll of bubble wrap over the guitar. This is why you shouldn't have cut the bubble wrap off of the roll, it's easier to work with it all rolled up.
    • Simply roll the bubble wrap over the guitar so that it ends up at the bottom of the case. Now you have a layer of bubble wrap on the bottom of the guitar and on the top of the guitar.
    • Cut the bubble wrap off the roll and tape the two loose ends together.
  9. Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 9
    Extra protection. There are some parts of the guitar that need a little bit more protection. These parts are mostly the headstock, the neck and a little bit around the sides of the body.
    • To protect the headstock, simply wrap some bubble wrap around it. Cut and tape the loose ends.
      Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 9Bullet1
    • To protect the neck, start the bubble wrap from the very top (the nut) to the very bottom. Cut and tape the ends. To protect the body, stuff the sides with scrunched up balls of bubble wrap. Repeat as many times as you like with spare bubble wrap.
      Image titled Pack a Guitar for Travel Step 9Bullet2
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  • Loosen the strings on the guitar, it helps prevent snapping and it will allow the wood of the neck to flex during the many temperature changes during travel. This should also be done whenever the guitar will be stored for extended periods of time.
  • Don't forget to label the case thoroughly! In addition to putting a luggage tag on the handle, put your contact details on the inside as well, because luggage tags can and do get torn off in baggage handlers.
  • The baggage compartment of an airliner is extremely dry (low humidity). Also, if you are going to someplace that has really cold winters the air can be extremely dry. Low humidity can split the top of your guitar. In either situation, get a guitar humidifier and always keep the guitar in its case with the damp humidifier when not playing.
  • Put a luggage strap around the closed case to keep it shut and secure. You may want to also consider an approved lock for traveling (one that airport security can open with a universal key) to prevent theft or a luggage strap with an appropriate lock on it.


  • Never ever use a gig bag.
  • The chances your guitar could break with a low-quality case are very likely.

Things You'll Need

  • Equipment
  • Guitar
  • Bubble wrap (a lot of it)
  • Flight or hard case

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