Electric skateboards are one of the best ways to travel short distances. Though they can be an expensive purchase up front, they are not that expensive to maintain and can save you money in the long run. You can use them for commuting, cruising and anything else you dare to attempt.
Yet as fun as they can be and as far as they can take you, some distances are just out of the question. Therefore you might need to travel another way. Perhaps by plane, but can you take your board with you? This question leads into the rest of this article.
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Can you Travel with an Electric Skateboard?
In short, yes, but with qualifications. The main issue with traveling with an electric skateboard is the battery. These lithium-ion batteries, which are great for recharging, pose a danger (1). The issue with these batteries is there ability to short-circuit and catch fire. Obviously, this a big issue, especially on an airplane. Though this is not common, it can happen. Therefore, airlines limit the wattage of electric skateboard batteries to 160 (2, 3). For reasons I will explain later on, this is the wattage limit they have decided on.
Batteries you can take on an airplane
As I said above, the problem with taking an electric skateboard on an airplane is the wattage of the battery. While all lithium-ion batteries have the potential to catch on fire due to the battery being cheap, it short circuiting, or a few other reasons, ones with lower wattage are allowed on air travel.
So how can you know what to expect when traveling with an electric skateboard? Well there are two entities that restrict and monitor this; the TSA and the airline itself. The TSA and all airlines will allow a passenger to take an electric skateboard as a carry out if the battery is under 100W (4). Though some boards do have batteries at or under 100W, it is not many that do. Electric skateboards tend to run off of stronger batteries both for the sake of speed and distance, something lower wattage batteries do not allow much for.
The second allowance for electric skateboards is anything between 101W and 160W, but for this you need prior approval from your airlines (5). You need to show this approval to the TSA when passing through security. The electric skateboard can either go as a carry on or checked bag, it’s up to the airline and you must comply to their rules Anything over 160W is not allowed, at least at this time, in the air neither as a carry on nor as a checked bag.
Best Packing Techniques
As far as packing for the flight goes, you have a few options. It all depends on how your airline wants you travel with it. One option is to, if you can, store it in your suitcase or backpack. If you have the room in there, this is a great way to make sure it is always with you. You might want to wrap it in something before doing so, as it could get the rest of your bag dirty.
Also, consider using clothes to pad it and make sure it is secure. Another way to travel with it is to simply strap it to your bag or get a bag specifically designed for carrying a board externally. This will be extremely helpful especially if you need to take it out for security to check. You can also buy a special bag of case to store and transport it on its own. This is a more expensive option, but could save your board from the roughness of airplane travel.
Consider this option if you think your board might get damaged. On this note, make sure you are taking some spare parts with you when you do travel, such as wheels, bearings and anything else you might want. If something goes wrong or needs replacing, you will be so glad you had the equipment and tools on you to fix it and get back out there.
If none of the above options work for you let me offer some alternatives that hopefully would work. For starters, see if you can rent a board or borrow one from someone. I don’t know if this is actually possible, but it’s an idea. Maybe you can invent an electric skateboard sharing service for this very reason.
Another possibility is to ship your board ahead of you to wherever you will be going. This is a more expensive option, but if you just need to have your board with you, this might be your best option. Other options include taking a normal skateboard. Though not as fun, this might still be a possibility.
Or consider having a new board shipped there and then just paying to ship it back. It would be wisest to buy a new board, that way as little as could be wrong with it will be, hopefully. It would not be fun to show up to find a broken board. This is about having fun; not creating more of a hassle.
With time we always see improvements to technology. I’m sure in a few years, maybe even a few months, there could either be more powerful boards with lower batteries or safer batteries that increase the wattage allowance. Or perhaps there is a third option that hasn’t been considered yet. Who know what time will provide us with? In the mean time, at least we have what we do have in that some electric skateboards are suitable for travel.
If you plan on flying a lot and think that you will want to take your electric skateboard with you, find one that meets both the TSA’s guidelines and those of your airline(s). Find the one that has the potential to cause the least hassle, while still being a great board. Or maybe look into buying two boards, one for travel and one for everything else. Otherwise, you might have to abandon your board at security, which no one ever wants to do. Like anything, do your research, both of the electric skateboards and of the airlines, to make sure.
SkateboardIt has a great list of some of the most reliable brands and best boards out there, some of which are quite easy to travel with. If the board you have now doesn’t meet all of the qualifications for the airlines, perhaps investing in a travel board is a wise idea.