If you’re a cigar aficionado and you’re planning a long trip or a vacation, the first question that will pop into your head will be how to travel with cigars. Moreover, how to do it without having issues with the TSA at the airport or ruining the cigar’s freshness in the process. There are a lot of things to consider before you start planning your trip and in this article, we will leave no stone unturned when it comes to having your cigars close to you on your vacation.
If you want to get the best travel humidor for your cigars, visit my full Buyer’s Guide! The first and most important thing is learning how to properly prepare your cigars for travel, whether it is by plane or not. Let’s further discuss that now…
How To Pack Your Cigars For Traveling
The main thing you have to keep in mind when traveling with your cigars is maintaining proper humidity and temperature levels. While the temperature is a bit harder to control for smaller travel humidors, humidity isn’t as hard. Remember that proper humidors will store cigars under 70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit conditions. Trying to keep your travel humidor as close as possible to these numbers is key to the cigar’s quality.
A lot of people prefer keeping their cigars with their original cellophane wrappers on them. Traveling with your cigars is one of the cases where this practice is going to repay you greatly. Cello wrappers are excellent at protecting the cigar from sudden changes in its surrounding conditions. That’s why I recommend keeping them in their cello on top of transporting them in a smaller humidor.
In the case where you don’t yet have a travel humidor, there are a few rules for packing your cigars with the rest of your luggage. Firstly, try to pack them carefully so that they don’t roll around within the suitcase. Having them in a small compartment with not too much room to move around is a good way to go. Wrapping them in-between your clothes is also a good trick some people do. What I used to do before I got myself a small travel humidor is wrap them in one or two socks. That tends to keep them from being damaged and is a surprisingly good tactic for keeping their humidity levels normal. Another trick that works great is putting them in a sealed bag with a soft napkin to keep the humidity stable.
What To Take With You
When packing your cigars, one important rule is to take all your accessories. While air travel might be a little restrictive as to what to take (more on that later), we will primarily discuss the things you take with you if you’re traveling on road or water. Here is my travel checklist for my cigars and accessories:
- Storage container (either a humidor or a bag)
- Different types of cigars to match my mood
- My second-best cigar lighter
- A cigar cutter
- A humidor bag or two
- A flask with your favorite pairing liquor or drink
- An ashtray (if you really prefer yours) or a travel ashtray for smoking on the go
A major topic of discussion is how to deal with air travel when you’re carrying your favorite cigars. That’s why we will dedicate a whole section of this article to try to answer all of your questions…
Air Travel With Cigars
When traveling via plane, there are certain restrictions you have to adhere to. While cigars are allowed both on carry-on and checked bags, the conversation gets a little funky when lighters and cutters are put in the mix. The first thing you need to remember is that your cigars are way better-off in your carry-on luggage as opposed to the checked bags. The reason for that is because the plane’s cabin is much more stable in terms of its humidity and temperature as opposed to the plane’s cargo area.
Another reason to never put your cigars in your carry-on (unless unavoidable) is because of the atmospheric pressure. The plane’s cargo area experiences fluctuations in its air pressure. These changes in the surrounding pressure of the cigar can make it shrink and expand, ultimately cracking its wrapper. If there isn’t enough room in your carry-on, then make sure your cigars are packed properly and more importantly – sealed from the outside environment.
What the TSA can take and what is allowed is the next major topic of discussion when it comes to air travel. As a rule of thumb, always assume that they will take your cigar cutter and lighter if you try to bring them on your carry-on. Most soft flame lighters are allowed, as well as most cutters (especially punch-hole ones) but you shouldn’t take any risks. That being said, put those in your checked bags along with any other accessories you’re bringing. I never bring my best cigar cutter and lighter because they can be taken away from me.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to a country that allows the sale of cigars or even has them in their duty-free shop, it is best to buy yours from there instead of carrying them with you. That way, you can only bring your cigar cutter or use any of these methods to cut your cigars without a cutter.
My Top Traveling Tips for Beginner Smokers
To sum things up, I’ve compiled a long list of all of the tips that I wished someone had told me when I first started enjoying cigars. Here are some of the best ones:
- Always bring a few extra cigars for your buddies
- Bring matches in case your cigar lighter dies on you
- Don’t try to increase the humidity in your travel humidor in order to compensate for the lost humidity on the road
- Diversify the types of cigars you take with you
- Don’t ever put them in your pocket when boarding the plane or when traveling by road
- Try to limit their exposure to the sun as much as you can
- Don’t bring your nice cutter and lighter to the airport
- Pre-cut your cigars before you head out in order to save time and not deal with this later on when you don’t have a cutter
Lastly, one thing that I always do is bring a flask of single malt to complete the experience once I have the time to wind down with a good cigar. That, in my opinion, is one of the best cigar and liquid pairing options you have, especially when you’re not at home.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep cigars fresh when on the go?
One of the best ways (tested) to keep your cigars in relatively stable conditions when traveling is by using a sealed bag. These aren’t as good as travel humidors but with a soft napkin or small towel inside, it will be a good-enough weather-control solution until you get a proper humidor.
Can you pack a cigar cutter and lighter in your checked luggage?
While you are generally allowed to carry cutters and soft flame lighters, there are certain prohibitions. One example of that is fuel soft lighters which aren’t allowed in checked bags (unless they are sealed in a DOT-approved case).
Can you fly with a cigar torch?
Those are forbidden in both your carry-on and checked baggage. This also includes smaller torches.
As a whole, learning how to travel with cigars is never going to be a one-off experience. Until you master your travel checklist and have a good travel humidor, there will always be risks of forgetting something or ruining your cigar’s quality in the process. Also, always keep the TSA’s strict policies in mind. Try to keep your cigars in your carry-on and the rest of your accessories in the checked bags. That will prevent potential damage to the cigars and won’t put you in a risky situation where you could have your lighter confiscated.