5/17/2015 - Completion of this tutorial is postponed indefinately until further notice. CONTENTS:
1. Transportation Rules, Regulations, & Restrictions - The 3 "R's"
2. Modes of Transportation
3. Container Types (Reply Post # 1)
4. Packing a Fursuit (Reply Post # 2)
5. Shipping, Labeling, & What to Do If Lost. (Reply Post # 3)
6. Future Updates & Edits (Reply Post # 4)INTRODUCTION:
Ok, youíre all set to go to your first furry convention. Youíve got your clothes, your travel tickets, snacks, personal items, but have you thought about how youíll pack and take along your fursuit? No? Well, hereís a helpful tutorial thatíll explain and show you just how to do that.
Now granted, not all my advice here will be accurate or precise. Just as there are many reasons why people join the furry fandom, so too is the diversity of ways that people pack and travel with their fursuits. What works for one suit/person may not always work for another. All the advice given in this tutorial is a ďguideĒ only. It is not law. How you choose to pack and travel with your fursuit is your choice. It is all personal preference.1. Government Rules, Regulations, & Restrictions Ė ďThe 3 RísĒ.
The first thing youíll want to check/read is any official government website for traveling, whether itís in the United States, or another country. In the United States, this will be the following sample links:* Transportation Security AdministrationLINK: http://www.tsa.gov/* U.S. CustomsLINK: http://www.cbp.gov/
Official government websites may give further or different info. from individual airline, bus, train, and other carriers about what you can/canít travel with, Where you can/canít travel to, and any other emergency or non-emergency information. If youíre going to be traveling from one city/state/country to another for any type of event or length of time, then you really need to pay attention to any rules and guidelines that your government has for traveling within your own country or especially abroad. While I wish I could give more advice on international travel, Iím afraid I have never traveled to another country, so therefore itís difficult to list any more specific advice in this tutorial for traveling overseas with a fursuit.2. Modes of Transportation:
Have you selected your mode of transportation yet? Before you do, then read the selections listed below to figure out whatís best not just for you, but also for transporting your fursuit as well. AIRLINE Ė
This is probably the main mode of transport that most fursuiters will use when going from one convention to the next. While traveling on an airline is generally safer and faster, there have been more and more restrictions on what people can/canít take with them on an airplane (or other transportation carrier) due to past terrorism events like what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City in the United States.
Because of that infamous incident, airports and airlines (as well as other transportation carriers) have implemented tighter security rules about:
* What you can carry on a plane,
* How much to carry,
* Size of luggage,
* Amounts of luggage,
.......etc., etc. Before you travel on a plane, you may want to check the individual carrierís website to see what additional baggage policies they may have which might be different from any Federal/Govít regulations.
And if security regulations weren't bad enough, There's also higher costs associated when traveling with more luggage and/or carry-on items. Due to the economic downturn/recessions in various countries from 2007 to 2012 (or thereabouts), More airlines (and other transportation carriers) are seeking ways to create more revenue by imposing higher baggage fees for more items that are carried, oversized items, and so forth. So before you travel by plane with your fursuit, Pack it carefully, but keep it lightweight, and don't pack it in more than one suitcase/container if possible. TRAIN Ė
Taking a train can be a moderately fast and comfortable way to travel, but the downside (especially in the U.S.) is that freight trains will be given a higher priority since getting cargo from one destination to another is more important than getting people from place to place.
I learned this the hard way when I traveled on Amtrak to Anthrocon 2008. About 1/3 of the way through my trip to Pittsburgh from Chicago, the train had to stop and sat on the tracks FOR EIGHT HOURS, while we let some other freight trains that were on some other railroad lines go past first. Another downside is that trains can be late and you may miss your connection to another train.
The advantage of taking a train: At least youíll have some good scenery to look at depending on where youíre traveling, and going by train can sometimes be even cheaper than taking a plane!AMTRAK website in the U.S. Ė http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/HomePageBUS Ė
This represents one of the slowest modes of transport and is probably one of the most restrictive when it comes to luggage. Itís generally not very comfortable on a bus as thereís no chance to walk around down the aisle, no snack cart or in-flight movie the way airlines have, etc.
The biggest restriction is about luggage. Buses generally do not have very large baggage compartments under the buses. Therefore, the amounts of luggage you carry could be limited to 1 or 2 pieces but no more, and will be further limited by size. Sample bus websites in the U.S. -LINK: http://www.greyhound.com/
LINK: http://us.megabus.com/AUTOMOBILE Ė
Probably the best option available. Donít have to worry about any fees (Except for gas......or unforseen breakdowns.), No lost luggage, Donít have to worry about delays (Except for traffic problems.), and if you want, You can travel alone by yourself or you can travel with friends. The best thing about traveling with your own vehicle is that you can choose what route you want to take, How fast or slow you want to get to your destination, and how much luggage and other accessories you want to take with you. By taking a car, youíre not limited by weights, sizes, amounts, etc. of luggage unless you had a small vehicle/trunk space, or you were traveling in someone elseís vehicle. SHIP -
Itís highly doubtful that a person would travel on a ship to a con, butÖÖÖ.you never know. It could happen.
Maybe a person might travel from Los Angeles to Hawaii on a cruise ship to a con in Honolulu, or maybe travel from France to New York for a convention. Cruise ships are probably the slowest means of travel, but they are very accommodating as far as rooms and amenities. Theyíre kinda like big floating luxury hotels.
While I wish I could give more info. about what cruise ships are like and traveling on one in regards to luggage and fursuits, Iím afraid Iíll have to leave this link instead which talks briefly about what cruise ships are like.LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruise_ship
For more information about cruise ships and cruise lines, Googling various cruise ship services on the Internet should provide you with all the information you need.