When it comes to traveling with cigars, the world is your oyster. Whether you’re abroad with work commitments for a few days or jetting off for a relaxing beach holiday, you don’t have to relinquish time with your prized stogies.
Depending on your destination, you may not have access to a cigar shop or reasonably priced cigars (due to high taxation). If you only have access to Cuban smokes in the country you’re visiting, there’s also the risk of counterfeit Cuban cigars ending up in your hands.
That’s why bringing your own cigars along for the ride is best. However, if you haven’t traveled with cigars before, you must ensure they don’t suffer a turbulent journey. Cigars need to be stored with care in the right conditions as they are delicate — just like you do at home.
With balmy summer days and adventures beckoning, having time to switch off and recharge with one of life’s great pleasures will make your vacation extra special.
What cigars should I take on my travels?
Before considering the best way to transport your cigars, you must decide what cigars to take. If your trip allows plenty of downtime, you can enjoy a long, luxurious smoke while basking in the sun — larger ring gauges or longer sticks generally offer longer smoking time.
If your vacation is action-packed, smaller sticks are more practical, as you can fit them in during your trip. Whether it’s a 15-minute coffee break from a work conference or you’ve found a moment’s peace from a hectic family holiday, you won’t need to worry about leaving your cigar half-smoked. Stogies with a smaller ring gauge or a pack of your favorite cigarillos are your best bet.
How to pack your cigars
Cigars are sensitive to moisture and temperature. They absorb the aromas and tastes from their surroundings, so you can’t just throw them in your suitcase and hope for the best. They need to be packed correctly and securely prior to take-off. Don’t squish them in with the rest of your belongings, or leave them to bounce or roll around in the excess space of a separate compartment.
The atmosphere and temperature in an airplane hold fluctuate drastically, which can compromise the freshness and structure of your cheap cigars. It may deplete your smokes of moisture, leading to the wrapper cracking and the cigar drying out completely.
This is why we recommend taking your cheap cigars on the plane inside your carry-on luggage. The conditions inside the cabin are far more stable and favorable to your cheap cigars, but you’ll need to check your carry-on limits.
Let’s look at some different methods you can use to transport your cigars safely, while still keeping them fresh.
Shorter trips (1-3 days)
For brief excursions and long weekends, a sealed ziplock bag will suffice. However, you’ll want to put the bag in a hard-shelled, airtight container to prevent your stogies from being crushed.
While an airtight plastic bag is a cost-effective option, it’s worth investing in a leather or hard plastic cigar case if your dollars stretch. They are available in various sizes to transport your favorite cheap cigars in style, holding each stick snugly and keeping them safe from damage.
Cigars concealed individually in aluminum tubes are another excellent storage fix for a short getaway. The tube helps maintain a cigar’s humidity, with the extra layer of protection keeping your smokes in great condition. That said, it’s still best to keep them in a controlled, humidified environment, even when still in their tubes.
Longer trips (3 or more days)
If you’re treating your cigars to a longer vacation, they deserve (and need) a home away from home — a small, cheap travel humidor. While this may seem extreme, it makes transporting your cigars even easier. To help maintain the humidity and keep your cigars tasting fresh, we recommend placing a Boveda two-way humidity-controlled pack inside your humidor.
If you decide against using a two-way humidification system, don’t expect your cigars to hold their humidity for longer than a few days at best.
Cigar Travel Regulations
When traveling to another country, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with important cigar travel regulations. Americans traveling to Canada with cigars can bring in 50 cigars free of duty and taxes if they are in their possession upon arrival.
If you’re traveling from the US to the EU with cigars, you can bring up to 200 of your cheap cigars, provided you have bought them for your own use. If you’re flying with more than 200, you will likely arouse suspicion and be questioned about your smoking habits and intentions. Countries outside the EU are far more restrictive, with a maximum limit of 50 cigars.
Err on the side of caution if you plan to bring lighters and cigar cutters. The general rule is that lighters are forbidden on aircraft, even in checked baggage. As they’re considered dangerous, you’re better off leaving them at home.
You have more leeway with your cigar cutter, but it’s still best to pack it in your hold luggage. Contact your airport before you fly to learn the rules, as bringing blades on board is always risky — you never know how the security team will enforce the rules. Pack a cheap cutter in case the worse happens, and it is confiscated.
Also, note that cutters can sometimes be available in the duty-free area.
Tips for traveling with cigars
Here are some other valuable tips to help you when you next travel with cigars:
- Take enough cigars for your trip to stop the light from going out on your holiday early. There’s nothing worse than being unable to fulfill your stogie craving.
- On the other side of the coin, try to avoid bringing any of your outbound cigars home with you, as this will increase their chances of going bad.
- If you are using a travel humidor, leave some space if you discover any cigars.
- Keep your cigar travel case closed whenever you’re not grabbing one of your cheap cigars. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, as it can dry out your cigars and cause them to burn too fast.