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Packing and Traveling With Dolls

How to Get Your Dolls To Where You Are Going In One Piece

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Whether you are traveling with dolls by air or car, packing and transporting dolls so they arrive at their destination undamaged can be very stressful. Here are some things that you should do when packing your dolls, as well as some tips to avoid possible travel pitfalls.

1. Proper Packing Of Dolls For Travel

Packing delicate dolls for safe travel can be difficult. Nearly all dolls are delicate in some way--there are the obvious breakable porcelain and antique dolls, but it is very easy to mess up the hair, paint, or costume of any doll if it is not properly transported. If you are 100% sure that your dolls are not going to leave your side, packing can be done simply with bubble wrap and sometimes even clothing wrapped around breakable or easily messed-up parts such as the doll's head and wig. But...are you really sure those dolls won't leave your side? If you are late to a connecting flight, even with good planning you might have to check your carry-on dolls at the time of boarding. If you are in a car, a sudden bump or short-stop can jostle dolls, or a careless luggage porter might drop your case when taking it to your hotel room. Therefore, dolls should be packed as well as possible. I like to pack my dolls as if they are going to be dropped from a plane. I wrap heads in baby diapers (which are absolutely wonderful for wrapping dolls well! and then the rest of the dolls' bodies and then sometimes again their heads in bubble wrap.

2. Dolls in Carry-On Luggage

After you have safely wrapped your dolls in baby diapers and bubble wrap, if you are flying, if at all possible, you should try to carry on your dolls. If you are not taking a great number of dolls with you and they are not large, pack them in a small case that can fit under the seat in front of you. If you have to pack a suitcase that must go in the overhead bin, it is essential that you can get on the plane early enough to stow your dolls in that overhead bin. If you are flying an airline line like United for which you can pay for early boarding, I suggest that you do so if your dolls are expensive and you want to be sure they don't have to be checked. If that is not available, know the pattern of seating for your airline (back boards first? windows first?) and try to arrange your ticket so you can be one of the first on board the plane.

3. Getting Dolls Through Airport Security

Even if you have packed your dolls well and arranged a ticket that can get you boarded on the plane when you are sure to get overhead bin space, you still have to get your dolls through airport security. If you are lucky, they will x-ray your bags and you are done. If you are unlucky, you can have your entire bag of dolls unwrapped and looked through by security personnel. This is very nerve-wracking and can damage the dolls, but there is nothing you can do except stand there, tell them the dolls are antique or valuabe and delicate, and hope the security personnel will listen. Because of the possiblility of security screening. do not tape your doll packing very much, if at all.

4. Checking Dolls in Luggage

If you are traveling to a doll show or to a doll convention, of if you have been shopping, or antiquing or at an auction, and you have many dolls to transport, you may be forced to check dolls in luggage. Again, this is very stressful. If you must do this, pack your dolls as if they are going to be dropped from a very, very high airplane. Try to pack them in a hard case or a hard trunk, and in any event make sure there is packing material lining the insides of the luggage. Once again, because your luggage may be gone through, you cannot tightly tape or close your packing material. As for theft, the good news is that most luggage handlers have no idea what the valeue of dolls are, so you probably will not have a problem with theft.

5. Traveling With Dolls in Cars

Finally, if you are transporting your dolls in a car or truck, the most essential thing after using proper packing materials is to secure the luggage, boxes, or trunks in the vehicle so that the dolls do not get thrown about if there is a short stop, bump, or worse a crash. Dolls can get damaged by poor packing in cars as well as in planes. However, transporting in cars does give you an extra degree of control and is often preferred for short distances or transport of large quantities of dolls.
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