Travel and theft advice

Posted on: 12 July 2016

Man waiting in airport with suitcase

Protect your instrument when you're on the move

Theft, loss or damage of an instrument is a musician’s worst nightmare. So we’ve created this guide to help you protect your instrument whilst you’re out and about.

Theft advice

Keep instruments in a safe place when not being played

Consider keeping high-value instruments in a lockable cabinet.

Make sure your home is secure

All external doors should be locked and windows closed and latched. If you have an alarm, that’s even better!

Don’t leave your instrument unattended

Especially in places where the public has free access, even at music venues. If you’re unloading or loading your car/van, then make sure someone keeps a look out - even if you think the area is safe.

Don’t let your instrument out of your sight

Stay aware and keep a close-eye on your instrument when using public transport, and don’t leave it all alone on the luggage racks!

Don’t leave it on show in an unattended vehicle

If you have to leave your instrument in the vehicle, either cover it over or leave it in the boot and lock the vehicle. If you’ve got an alarm, make sure it’s turned on.

Don’t lend your instrument to someone you don’t trust

We’re mates, right? Well, don’t lend your gear out to someone you don’t know well or trust. Your instrument will still be covered when on loan, but make sure they treat it as their own.

Keep a note of your instrument details

Note down your instrument’s make, model and serial number and take photos of it - especially if it has any special identifying features. These details could help your instrument to be recovered if it was sold on after being stolen.

Check that your buyer is reputable

If you’re selling your instrument check you’ve received the funds before handing over your instrument. If you’re dealing with a large amount of cash, using a platform like PayPal can add an extra layer of security for you both.

If the worst happens

Immediately inform the police

Let the police know as soon as possible so they can help you and give you a Crime Number - you may need this to claim on your policy.

Be proactive

Create an info sheet with pictures, details, contact details and the Crime Number. Hand it out to local music and pawn shops (incase they try and sell it on) and even attach it to posts at the local train station and bus stops.

Use the power of the web

Put a post up and tell your story across all your social networks to get the widest coverage possible. Also keep an eye on websites where your instrument might be put up to be resold (eBay and Gumtree are a good start).

Travel advice

Do your research

All travel providers have different policies regarding musical instruments so it’s definitely worth finding one that’s flexible with instruments.

Communicate with your travel company

Contact your provider before you book and ask them about their policies surrounding instruments. Have the dimensions of your instrument/case and any other details ready to give to them.

Pack your instrument securely

Use a robust and lockable case and label it clearly with your contact details in case your instrument is misplaced.

Prepare your instrument for travel

Take your accessories out and pack any gaps in the case with something soft. Then you’ll need to prepare your instrument for travel, e.g. for strings, tune them down a tone or two to allow for temperature fluctuations.

Arrive early and be prepared

Arrive early so you can speak to staff and iron out any potential issues - you may also need to have your instrument searched by security. And most importantly keep a close eye on your instrument at all times.

Find out more in our guide to flying with musical instruments.

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