How to Fly with a Bike the Cheap and Easy Method

Written By Alla Levin
November 01, 2017

Fly with a Bike the Cheap and Easy Method

Having an up and coming cycling match in a foreign country but don’t want to spend a lot of money on travel? You’re not alone. Many people think traveling with bikes on planes is such an expensive affair.

However, it does not have to. You have your hybrid bike, and you want to also travel cheaply and easily with the bike. I am going to give you tips we have used and feel are best for a cheap and easy air travel.

What makes air traveling with a bike seem difficult is the process of packing and unpacking once you arrive, looking for packing materials and making sure the bike is protected during transit.

When the airline fees are included, traveling with your bike can seem to be a nearly impossible thing to do, and you may end up saying you’d rather go and rent a bike where you are heading to. It can be gut-wrenching. Nevertheless, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. By the way, you can check the reviews of the best comfort bikes for city touring here –

I have and although the first experience wasn’t so good, over time, I have discovered that I can fly with a bike the cheap and easy method. So you also can, and I am going to show you how.

Using a cardboard box to pack your bike

A cardboard box is often the most inexpensive bike packing option. You can get the box at no cost or a minimal amount.


  • Because it’s inexpensive and can easily be replaced, you don’t mind throwing it after you arrive at your destination
  • You can store other items in the box which may include camping tent, mat and sleeping bags.
  • The box gives some protection to your derailleur, frame and other delicate parts.
  • Easy to find.

If you choose this option, you need:

  • The box
  • Packing materials which include packing tapes, string, foam and bubble wrap

Using a plastic bike bag

This is the second cheapest bike packing option. A plastic bag? How safe is that? These may be some of the questions that are running through your mind right now.

I have used this too though honestly speaking, at first I was skeptical, after using it for a while, I realized it’s another great packaging option. The reason I have liked it is because I have discovered my bike will be much more carefully handled by the luggage handlers at the airport.


plastic bicycle bag

  1. Packing your bike in a plastic bike bag is very easy. What you simply need to do is to slide your bike into the bag, hold the bag top and fold it then tape it. If you need manufactured ones, you can check out the CTC Plastic Bike Bags. If not, you can design yours.
  2. It’s quick. The total time you will take to pack and unpack a bike is approximately 15 minutes. Way too short compared to when you are using other options, right? With a plastic bike bag, almost every part of your bike remains intact.
  3. Your bike will be treated with respect and care. If the luggage handler can see it’s a bike they are carrying, why would they handle it carelessly and damage it? Why would they also put all sorts of luggage on top of it when they know very well it’s a bike? They are just humans. The possibility of them doing so is very low. They will be careful when carrying your cruiser bike.
  4. It’s cheap. CTC plastic bike bag retails at approximately $13.50 (note this may vary). If you choose to make one by yourself, the cost is even lower because you only need to purchase a duct tape and plastic sheeting.

To fly with a bike, you will need to disassemble it before packing. The following bike dismantling instructions are for both bike bag packing options we have seen above.

  • Remove the rear derailleur and pack it separately.
  • Remove the pedals.
  • Rotate the handlebars to a position parallel to the frame or remove them.
  • If you are using a cardboard box, remove the wheels
  • Protect your bike. To do this, you can wrap some bubble wrap or foam around the frame
  • For the cardboard box, remove the seat post.

On Airline Fees

traveled with my bike to various countries

Different airlines have charges for overweights, and these charges vary depending on the airline. So to make sure you are not charged for carrying an overweight bag, just make sure apart from your bike you don’t store other things in the bag or box.

There can be extra space, and you may want to utilize it however because you want to fly with a bike easily and cheaply just don’t store bulky items together with the bike. Choose your travel destination and plan your journey!

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