How to Travel With Your Viola | Herriman Viola Teacher

How to Travel With Your Viola | Herriman Viola Teacher



With the holidays comes travel. If you are planning to travel with your instrument, it’s important to plan ahead in order to keep your instrument healthy during the process. Traveling with an instrument can be stressful, but being prepared can help you travel with peace of mind. Here are my tips for traveling with a viola.


Be Mindful of Temperature

Wood instruments are happiest in about 60 – 75 degree weather. While it is likely not possible to keep your viola in this range at all times while traveling, it’s important to be mindful about keeping it in excessive heat or cold. It’s important not to leave your instrument unattended in the car for extended periods of time because of this. If you perform outdoors, be sure to find shade to play in if possible. Doing these things will aid in instrument health.


Check Humidity

50-60% humidity is the general healthy zone for string instruments. In Utah, the climate is very dry. My viola stays healthy even when it gets down to 40% humidity, but bringing a humidifier can help you have peace of mind if your instrument is switching between dry/humid climates. On the other hand, having an extremely humid climate can cause mold to grow on your instrument. In those cases, be sure to keep the air conditioning on if possible.


Use Packing Materials

Instruments will naturally move around in the case while traveling. To avoid excessive movement, you can pack in materials such as packing peanuts or bubble wrap inside the case. I was overly worried about flying on an airplane with my viola, so I wrapped the whole thing in bubble wrap. I don’t think I needed to go to that extreme, but it did give me peace of mind.


Loosen the Strings

This tip is a little more particular and not absolutely necessary, but it can be helpful to loosen the strings before you travel. Loosening the strings a bit before traveling may prevent strings from snapping when changing elevation.


Wondering how else you can care for your instrument? Read my tips here!




Bonus Tip

In case you’re wondering, a viola can be brought onto a plane as a carry-on (although be sure to double-check your specific airline for details). I highly recommend doing this rather than checking the instrument under the plane. That way you can be sure to handle it carefully and avoid excessive jostling.



I’d love to work with you! Please contact me for more information about music lessons!


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