Taking your metal detector on a plane

So you want to take your hobby abroad? Good choice! There is nothing better than enjoying a holiday and not leaving your favorite hobby behind. Metal detecting is an exciting hobby and is even more so in a new location (with better weather hopefully), that’s why it’s important to take a look at some advice for travelling with a detector to avoid any disappointment and stress. Please read on for some great tips on how to prepare for travelling with your metal detector.

Tips for travelling with your metal detector

  • Phone the airline for metal detecting guidelines or check the airlines website on baggage guidelines. You can do this efficiently by sourcing the baggage allowance section on the website or by searching on Google this exact phrase, “baggage” site:www.britishairways.com (example), it will come up with the page you are looking for. You can check with the airline website to understand luggage dimensions and extra costs etc.
  • If your detector is new and still in the box, it is very important to remove the box as it will not only take up room, but you can sometimes be forced to pay custom tax.
  • It is possible to pack your detector in parts in your normal baggage, but it is best to declare it as a separate baggage item to avoid your bag being searched after check in and causing complications.
  • If possible, put your metal detector in a hard case, some people have been known to use a hard snow-boarding case (ask around your friends or on Facebook if they have something similar you can borrow).
  • Wrap the metal detector in bubble wrap and any clothes you are bringing with you when travelling.
  • Place the metal detector in the middle of the suitcase to avoid getting it bumped if near the case edges.
  • If you are allowed, ask the check-in staff if they can place a fragile sticker on the case to avoid any damage occuring.
  • Never take your metal detector as carry on luggage as it is not in keeping with the dimensions of the cabin hold and it will not be allowed on the flight.
  • Always remove the batteries or battery pack from the metal detector as it will probably cause complications if it is accidentally turned on.
  • If possible, keep the receipt you received upon purchase of the metal detector in case custom officers are unsure you are the true owner.
  • It may also be worth bringing a manual that is in your carry on luggage in case you have to explain to a custom officers the purpose of such a device as some people may not be familiar with metal detectors.
  • Be aware that people see metal detectors as high value objects and your detector could be of interest to thieves abroad. Keep it out of sight when walking about or in a car boot.
  • If you have acquaintances in the metal detecting community in your area, they may be able to tell you about any clubs/fellowships in different companies to give you advice. The internet is also a great way to get talking to the metal detecting community in the country you are travelling to (just make sure if you are meeting to meet in a public place). Forums are the best types of websites to join for this.
  • Do not advertise what you are looking for or what you have found to strangers.
  • Remember to pack spare batteries as the country you are going to may not have your make, or you may not be able to find what you are looking for due to the language barrier.
  • Make sure your insurance is up to date.
  • Don’t lock your case as security may want to see the contents of the case during the x-ray screening process.
  • You can rent a metal detector abroad, but make sure you research the companies location and guidelines before using their services. For an example on price, renting a detector in Ireland is roughly 60 Euros for a week or 20 Euros for a days rent. It may be worth calculating the advantages and disadvantages of bringing your detector with you versus renting one abroad.
  • Research the country you are going to thoroughly before travel, for instance, Poland has strict rules on metal detecting. It is completely illegal to detect almost everywhere in the country. 
  • Never trespass, for example, it is completely legal to trespass in Scotland but most countries do not share this law. 

Some good resources that I will add to periodically when I find more information on metal detecting laws:
A good website for finding out detecting laws in different countries – press ‘Ctrl’ and ‘f’ to find your chosen country quickly:
The National Council For Metal Detecting
For metal detecting laws in Germany:
German metal detecting laws

Can I Take My Metal Detector On An Airplane?