Do you bring your violin with you at all times?

January 11, 2017 at 05:03 AM · So for those people who travel with their violins, do you bring your violin with you on the airplane? Or a car or anything? Do you always have the violin with you or do you put it with your storage stuff?

I was just curious, Thanks

Replies (41)

January 11, 2017 at 05:42 AM · Always with me. It's never happened to me but if I were ever told that I couldn't bring my violin on board the airplane as a carry on, I would not be taking that flight. On road trips, when I stop to eat, it comes inside with me.

January 11, 2017 at 05:45 AM · Depending on the type of trip, I may or may not bring my violin.

January 11, 2017 at 09:20 AM · I have just come back from a week in Brisbane (from Cairns) ; the violin went with me as usual (carry on). I have been to China four times and the violin goes with me there too, also as carry on. I have found most airlines operating in Australia have very clear guidelines about musical instruments and I have never had a problem.

Internal Chinese airlines such as Dragonair would not allow it as carry on but the flight crew take it with them on board the plane ; it was not treated as checked baggage so no problems there either.

January 11, 2017 at 03:47 PM · I noted Mary Ellen's comment about bringing her violin into the restaurant with her. I have heard this from lots of pro violinists, that they take it even into the lavatory. But sometimes I wonder -- statistically, have more violins been stolen from car trunks, or have more violins been forgotten in restaurants and lavatories?

And while we're on that subject, I just learned that one cannot take one's violin in to the lavatory in North Carolina because it doesn't have the right chromosomes....

January 11, 2017 at 03:47 PM · My country is relatively small so i dont bring my violin wtih me when i go out. If im going overseas however, I'll carry my violin with me.

January 11, 2017 at 04:40 PM · I am in the similar boat as Mary, but I often keep my violin in a locked chest in my office, or in my apartment while I am working during the day. I have never, and never will leave it in my car, or check it at the airport.

January 11, 2017 at 04:48 PM · Steven.

What if someone needs to carry three hand baggages (Laptop bag + DSLR bag + violin). Is this permissible

January 11, 2017 at 05:27 PM · When traveling, you should treat your violin like an infant. It should always be with you and on your mind.

Like Mary, I would rather not board than check a violin.

January 11, 2017 at 05:29 PM · My main load in the summer is gymbag, backpack, laptop bag and violin. I selectively buy bags with at least a sling and I modify all hand baggage to be slung on at least one shoulder. I tailor old unused leather belts and carabineer for that purpose.

If it comes to leaving things in the car or checking at the airport, I believe I rather check in my laptop and camera than my violin(although, I don't have a fancy DSLR).

January 11, 2017 at 05:31 PM · I would leave my violin at home if I didn't need to bring it on a trip, even if no one's in the house. There's things in my house worth more than my violin.

January 11, 2017 at 05:37 PM · Gautam,

the more items you declare as carry-on, the less likely they will let you carry your violin (as it often appears the biggest of them all). For example, AlItalia allows "small" instruments INSTEAD of carry-on luggage.

I know it may sound ridiculous for us musicians, especially when we see people with mid-size backpacks so heavy that thy can't not lift it and put into the overhead bin!

I would say, take a low profile, carry it on your back so is not so noticeable, and you should be fine.


January 11, 2017 at 06:00 PM · If the violin is out of the house, it is with me. My insurance (Clarion) is explicit that the violin is never to be left unattended in a car, for that matter.

I have not flown with my violin since 9/11, though.

January 11, 2017 at 06:44 PM · Like Mary, and others. Never let it out of my sight when travelling!

January 11, 2017 at 06:47 PM · "What if someone needs to carry three hand baggages (Laptop bag + DSLR bag + violin). Is this permissible"

Not on any U.S. airline that I'm aware of. When I am flying with both a violin and a computer bag, I put necessary items from my purse in the computer bag (wallet, ID, medication) and pack the rest of my purse in a checked bag. If I don't need to fly with my violin, I don't bring it--i.e. if I am visiting family and will have the use of my sister's violin. Back in the day when my family came to Colorado with me in the summers, any extra instruments that I wasn't taking with me to Boulder would go over to a friend's house so they weren't sitting in an empty house all summer.

If I'm in my restaurant with my violin *and* I'm alone, of course it goes with me into the restroom. I wouldn't leave my purse unattended; why would I leave something much much more valuable? But if I'm simply running errands at home, I don't haul my violin around town with me. It isn't negligent, even per Clarion, to leave an instrument at home in a locked house.

A couple of years ago I was flying with my violin and had the "pleasure" of spending the night in the Southwest terminal at Atlanta due to weather-related flight cancellations. During what little sleep I was able to get, I had one of the straps on my case wrapped around my leg so that if anyone tried to move the case, I would wake up.

When flying with my violin, I always try to get my tickets on Southwest and pay for early bird boarding to make sure there is plenty of bin space when I get on the airplane. I've never had a problem. One thing for the novice flyer, though--do not ever ask the gate agent if your violin is OK as a carry on. It won't fit in their little test bin, and once you've been told "no," you can't get that retracted. Just use common sense--violin on the back is helpful, and make sure your other carry on will fit under the seat in front of you. You don't get to take up bin space with two bags so even if your roller bag is supposed to be of carry on size, check it.

January 11, 2017 at 09:31 PM · Mary Ellen,

I did the same at the Rome airport once. Next time, a pair of hand-cuffs (in case they allowed on-board).


January 11, 2017 at 10:34 PM · I no longer travel (and I never want to see the inside of an airplane or airport again).

As far as protecting your instrument and getting it onboard - do what the cellists do - buy it a ticket of it's own. That guarantees you an empty seat next to yours.

January 11, 2017 at 10:45 PM · George, I don't think a lot of people can afford a second ticket, which includes me.

January 12, 2017 at 02:03 AM · Yes, I agree. Most people cannot afford an extra seat.

Every airline is different so check their website and call beforehand to double check the information. Most airlines will allow a violin in the cabin but make sure your case is not some huge oversized thing and do not take any other hand luggage on board either.

January 12, 2017 at 04:46 AM · There's no need to buy an extra seat for a violin. It fits in the bin quite nicely. The problems arise when people are flying on one of the smaller commuter jets with correspondingly smaller bins--the violin fits in those as well but just try convincing the flight crew of that.

I do not book flights on smaller aircraft if I have to fly with the violin. That's another reason to fly Southwest. No surprises.

January 12, 2017 at 09:27 AM · I always bring my violin with me, even to grocery shopping!


January 12, 2017 at 11:28 AM · Why do you take it grocery shopping ?

January 12, 2017 at 11:47 AM · Well, leaving it in the car damages my violin (as I live in Australia, constantly over 32°) and melts the varnish. By leaving my violin in the car, the chances of my violin getting stolen is increased.


January 12, 2017 at 03:03 PM · edited b/c Rocky made an excellent point.

January 12, 2017 at 03:36 PM · a word of caution: unless your violin is already insured, do not disclose personal information on this thread. At this age, it is not so difficult to get traced by IP and physically located.

2 cents (Canadian)

January 12, 2017 at 04:30 PM · If I leave from home for errands, my violin stays home of course. But if I've been out for performances or gigs and need to run errands before coming home, I absolutely do take my violin in wherever I go to do errands. Leaving it in the car is just asking for problems...

January 12, 2017 at 04:36 PM · I make a point of leaving my violin at home always if there's ice or snow on the ground. Otherwise, I bring it with me to work for early morning practice before others get into the office, and sometimes if I go out to visit socially. I never leave it alone in the vehicle. It goes over my shoulder or on my back. I would leave it at home for extended vacations where a plane is involved. I'd just let myself take a vacation from playing.

January 12, 2017 at 05:05 PM · I leave my violin in the car when I run errands after violin-related activities because I find it pointless. Nothing terrible can happen to my violin if I leave it unattended in the car in my experience. That's just me.

January 12, 2017 at 06:11 PM · I still practice on the first full-size violin (Conrad Goetz) my mother bought me in the 80’s. Over the 25 years that I did not play, I have moved across the country multiple times. I have left it in storage and with moving companies when I travel/move. Now I shudder to think what could have happened to it during those occasions. It is, if nothing else, of great sentimental value to me.

January 12, 2017 at 06:20 PM · Ella, I used to have the same thinking as you. However, just a few things that are a threat to a violin left in a car is the uncontrolled temperature in the car and more concerning is that someone will see the case in the car, not know what it is, break in and steal it, than destroy and ditch the instrument in a dumpster once they see what it is. I'm not willing to chance that with my fiddle. It can be a pain to take it with me but in my mind it's worth it due to both the monetary value and my emotional attachment to it.

January 12, 2017 at 07:59 PM · In the particular area I live in, things seem to be okay, but that's something to think about. I don't live in a huge city and there's not a lot of thieves so I never get worried. Thanks for your concerns.

January 12, 2017 at 08:15 PM · After orchestra rehearsal a few of us go to a nearby restaurant. When it's as cold out as it is right now, our instruments come in with us. This week we were careful to keep them away from the windows - it still gets cold there.

As for flying, I get to the overhead bins and stow my violin as quickly as possible, before others have packed too much in. I'm good at arranging things to make the best use of space, though, and with a bit of care I can make room for everybody. When boarding, I don't draw attention to my violin - I just sling it on my back and act nonchalant. As others have pointed out, some bins are slightly smaller, but I've always been able to fit my case in (although sometimes it's snug). Try to use a small case.

January 12, 2017 at 09:22 PM · Rocky, do you mean 5 cents? Canadian Pennies went with the dinosaurs,

January 12, 2017 at 11:23 PM · Please don't leave your violin in your car. Just because nothing has happened yet, doesn't mean that it won't. Hopefully, we can learn from a history of other's mistakes, as opposed to needing to repeat every mistake ourselves.

January 13, 2017 at 06:18 AM · ... and it can also happen if your leave it only for a few minutes...

January 13, 2017 at 01:04 PM · About five of six time a year, I leave my violin in my car because I'm going in to work for a few hours before or after my lesson, and I don't want to bring it into the office with me. I am insured with Allstate. My agent told me that the violin is insured everywhere and anywhere, whether it be in my car or in my office, etc. It's valuable enough to insure but not so valuable that someone would want to hunt down my IP and figure out when my violin might be in my car, etc., and plan a theft. On the other hand I don't live in New York City. Where I live, thieves find plenty of backpacks to steal from unlocked cars. Of course, if the weather is either cold enough or warm enough (which it usually is) to be a risk to my instrument, then of course I bring it with me. But then it stays in my office, I don't take it into the lab or to classrooms or meetings.

I was just thinking about when I visited Rome and the travel books advise you about pickpockets -- they drive by on a Vespa and slice the strap on your purse and off they go. I bet even in the US many more wallets and purses are stolen on the street or forgotten on the table in restaurants than stolen from hotel rooms or locked cars. I just don't see why it should be different for a violin.

January 15, 2017 at 06:07 AM · I was in Rome for three weeks last October with my violin. No drive by Vespa. Pickpockets, yes. I carried a shoulder bag with metal wire across my body and no one bothered me.

Yes, I carry my violin everywhere, including restaurants and bathroom.

January 15, 2017 at 06:07 AM ·

January 21, 2017 at 09:59 AM · A recent example of a violin being taken from a car:

"Between 3:00pm on 1/14/17 and 10:30pm 1/16/17, my violin that I’ve had for 20 years was taken from my car in the parking lot of my condo building in Hoffman Estates. Not only is my instrument of great sentimental value, but I also teach violin for a living. This obviously puts a strain on my job and my potential income. If anyone has ANY information about my instrument, please contact me at (630) 220-9835 or email Also, a police report has been filed with the Hoffman Estates Police Department, and you can contact them."

January 21, 2017 at 03:38 PM · So this person is a violin teacher and left his/her violin in a parked car for potentially more than TWO DAYS? I hope the violin is recovered in good condition, but wow.

January 21, 2017 at 03:56 PM · Yes, and she lives in Illinois where it's Arctic in the winter... stolen or not, the cold damaged it beyond repair

January 22, 2017 at 01:33 AM · I wouldn't leave a violin in a car for two days. That's crazy.

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