Before you head to the airport with your djembe, you should consider the details of traveling with an instrument. Djembes are large, oddly-shaped, and heavy, and can easily hold up your trip.
1. Read Before You Leave
Though you may be anxious to book your flight, check the airline regulations regarding baggage. Packing both a suitcase and a djembe will typically earn you extra baggage fees, and frequently affect the cost of your ticket as a consequence of weight. Read the fine print on your ticket deals – a flight that allows you one free bag could make or break the deal.
Most airlines cut passengers off with 62 inches of luggage (between height, length and width), and exceeding this number could cause $100 of extra fees. Measure your luggage, and plan accordingly. Some airlines are more forgiving than others, so you should read their definition of terms before packing.
Before leaving for the airport, do yourself a favor and weigh your luggage at home. The average airline caps their normal luggage price at 50 pounds. If you have only a few pounds over the maximum weight, shift some of your luggage to your carry-on.
You're a musician - be creative! Use your clothing as extra padding for your drum. Layer shirts and jeans around the drum before putting it in the case. You can even put socks inside the base of the drum (not all the way inside the bowl though... you'll want to keep that area clear so there is no risk of damaging your drum head). Be sure to take advantage of any pockets on the case as well - these are great for toiletries and jewelry.
3. Choose a Case
Even if you don't have one already, be sure to find a sturdy djembe case. Whether you're touring or traveling for pleasure, you should have a reliable case, so you don't have to shop for one in some exotic location that may not have the supplies you need. If you're buying a new case, find one that you can pack your luggage in as well, but isn't necessarily too large for everyday use.
4. Research Your Destination's Options
Not all countries have the options you need to play your djembe the way you do back home. Before you leave home, research the music stores in the area you'll be traveling in. If you're picky about drum sticks, amplifiers, or other musical equipment, be sure that they carry them. Otherwise, stock up before leaving home. You'll be glad you did when the one thing you need to play can't be found anywhere in Europe.
5. Consider Shipping Your Djembe
Some musicians may consider shipping the djembe to meet them in whatever location they're visiting. Although this is a questionable maneuver, especially to areas with poor mail service, shipping within the US and most areas of Europe is generally reliable. Make sure you choose a mail service that can get you your instrument in the needed time. Although it may cost more for faster service, imagine how much more expensive it would be to buy a new djembe.