Road musicians rack up the miles faster than just about anyone. That means instruments that keep moving. Our friends at the stolen recovery network & online instrument database GearTrack put together a few tips for keeping your gear safe on the road. *Special offer for Bandzoogle members: Upgrade your free GearTrack account to Pro Status to get unlimited items in your library. Just register with the code ZOOGLE by May 1, 2014 here.
Oh! The Airlines
Each airline’s policy regarding instruments and carry-ons varies, so know before you go and prepare. Their policy regarding not tossing your checked gear onto the luggage train like a sack of potatoes does not seem to vary. If you’re checking, make sure your case & set-up are on point.
Obviously carrying on is preferable. And it turns out if there’s room, they have to let you. Read the highlights of the Modernization and Reform Act that pertain to instruments here. Know your rights!
Don’t Leave Your Instrument in Your Car. Like, Ever.
This is the number one theft story we hear at GearTrack. Not only is your car not safe from a theft standpoint, any temperature other than an overcast 60 degrees is seemingly a threat to the integrity of your instrument. If you think your instrument is irreplaceable, it is. If not, leave it in your car.
We get it. Sometimes you’re not unloading the trailer into the Motel 6 at 4 am. But think about where you are putting it. Back it up against a wall, put it under security lights, right in front of your room door. Padlock the door AND the hitch. Make your snoring drummer sleep in the trailer. Stolen trailer stories are the saddest ones and we hear them monthly.
If you travel with or make money on your instrument, chances are you need instrument specific insurance. Your homeowners/auto policy isn’t going to cover it. It’s cheaper than you think and it’ll get you back on the road (plus the ax and minus the benefit show) very quickly.
Make A Gear List
Make sure you know what’s with you - keep a list of instrument serial numbers, identifying marks, and ownership documentation. It’s handy for a load-in/load-out check-list, such a lifesaver at a border crossing, and if theft or loss should occur it could be the difference between recovery and that benefit concert we talked about.
We know a great place you can store this info safely, in the cloud, to access or download at any venue, border crossing or coffee shop.
Loading In & Out Smartly
This is second only to “stolen from car” in the instrument theft scenarios that we hear at GearTrack. It’s easy to get in a rush moving in and out. Never leave a case for 2 seconds to run in! It’s worth finding one trustworthy helper or bandmate at both ends of the gauntlet you’re running - even if it seems like a waste of muscle.
Play it safe out there!
GearTrack is an online registry that aims to deter music instrument theft and aid in recovery. Instrument owners can itemize their collections and victims of theft can send stolen alerts to the WatchDog network and access tools for search and recovery. Buyers and sellers can easily search serial numbers before trading and selling their gear. Learn more and register your instruments at Gear-Track.com.
***Special offer for Bandzoogle members: Upgrade your free GearTrack account to Pro Status to get unlimited items in your library. Just register with the code ZOOGLE by May 1, 2014 here.