Cigars are built for one thing: the smoking experience. They aren’t built to withstand changes to temperature or humidity, and they definitely can’t handle being tossed into a suitcase along with all your other luggage. Unless you like smoking cigars that look as though they’ve been sat on, it’s recommended to pack them carefully and intentionally when taking them on a plane.
There’s more to the story than just packing them securely, though. Imagine this: you’ve planned the perfect day on an Italian beach, sipping top-shelf whiskey with a Rocky Patel cigar. You complete the journey and start unpacking. Unfortunately, most of your cigars have inexplicably developed cracks, and it looks like your perfect beach day will have to be completed with some other cigar. How did this happen, and more importantly, how can you prevent it? There are answers for both questions and more, which you’ll find below.
Step 1: Pack the cigars correctly
There are a few different considerations when flying with cigars. First, you need to put them in a sealed bag or container. Second, you need to make sure they won’t be crushed. Third, they should ideally be kept humid throughout the journey.
If you’re just taking three or four cigars with you, a breast-pocket sleeve would probably do the trick; these are usually made of wood or leather. For larger quantities, you may want to look into travel humidors. This may sound like overkill, but these humidors are designed to be easily transportable. If you’ll be traveling for significantly more than a week, and if you’re taking truly exquisite cigars along with you, a travel humidor would be well worth the investment.
Another option is to simply put together a makeshift humidor. This works just fine for shorter journeys with smaller quantities of cigars. Place the cigars in a Ziploc bag along with a damp paper towel, and seal them up. If you like the Ziploc bag idea but want a bit more long-term reliability, you can use a Boveda pack instead of a damp paper towel. These packs are engineered to slowly release humidity to maintain certain levels of moisture, so you don’t have to worry about dry cigars during your trip. And of course, don’t forget to put the bag in a durable container of some kind – humidified cigars won’t do you any good if they’re crushed to pieces!
International travelers should note that some countries have limits on the number of cigars that can be brought by visitors. While the TSA allows cigars to be taken on planes, you may be questioned about your intentions if you bring more than 50 smokes to another country. To avoid running into this situation, it’s best to double-check the regulations in your destination country before leaving.
Step 2: Decide on carry-on vs. checked baggage
If you want to protect your cigars, carry-on is always best. The main advantage to this is avoiding sudden or extreme temperature changes, which are common in the cargo area of a plane. Extreme heat can ruin a cigar, but this can easily be avoided by taking them on the plane with you.
Another issue with putting cigars in checked baggage would be the changes in atmospheric pressure. Cigars expand and contract in response to this, which can result in cracked wrappers and ruined cigars. The cabin of the plane will maintain much more stable conditions, though, which is another reason why your cigars would be safer there.
Step 3: Choose your accessories wisely
If you’re taking cigars on the plane with you, they probably aren’t the only smoking-related thing you’re bringing – a cutter and lighter are essential too. However, the TSA isn’t a huge fan of sharp objects or things that produce fire. They don’t ban cigar cutters, but the final judgement will depend on whether a TSA agent inspects your luggage and decides that the cutter has to go.
This wouldn’t be a big deal if you just brought a cheap cutter along, but some people travel with their absolute favorite cutters, and end up regretting the decision. For your own peace of mind, it’s probably best to travel with a throwaway cutter, or even buy one once you reach your destination. The TSA recommends that you pack your cigar cutters in your checked luggage, and wrap them securely to prevent injury to inspectors or baggage handlers.
What about lighters? Disposable lighters (such as BIC lighters) are allowed, and Zippo lighters without fuel can be brought in checked bags only. It’s very important that the Zippo lighters be empty, as the TSA doesn’t allow butane in any form to be carried onto planes.
Cigars that are perfect for your travels
If you want suggestions for some amazing cigars that will elevate your travel experience, look no further. Even if you’re already having a great time, these cigars will make your travels even better.
Rocky Patel Sun Grown
This cigar is wrapped in an Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper, and made with Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. As a smooth medium-strength cigar, it can be enjoyed on its own or with some tastefully paired foods or beverages. You’ll notice aromas of white pepper, espresso, and molasses.
Rocky Patel Sixty
Here’s a flavor bomb of a cigar, made with a Mexican San Andres wrapper and 100% Nicaraguan fillers and binders. The extensive aging has contributed to its medium + strength, developing the flavors of caramel, leather, and coffee to their fullest potential.
Rocky Patel Decade
Thought to be one of Rocky Patel’s best cigars, this is a must-try for any aficionado. It’s made with Honduran fillers and an aged Sumatra wrapper, for a smoking experience that’s rich, smooth, and balanced. You’ll encounter notes of black cherry, cream, and nuts.
The thought of traveling by plane with a pack of delicate cigars – whether it’s two or 20 of them – can be a bit nerve-wracking. Fortunately, you can preserve both your cigars and your vacation plans by following a few common-sense tips.