Travelling Abroad with Your Kayak: Is It Possible?

Ireland is a beautiful country with many great kayaking opportunities. But, why restrict yourself to kayaking the rivers, lakes, and coastlines of this island when there’s a whole world full of stunning kayaking destinations out there?
From the crystal clear waters of the Soča Valley in Slovenia to the raging waters of the Krupa River in Croatia, there are hundreds of places across the globe that should be on your kayaking bucket list. One thing’s for sure, there are plenty of places to explore in your kayak and once your abroad, setting paddle to water is as easy as it is over here!

However, what’s not so easy is transporting your kayak and bringing it abroad, right? It may not be as difficult as you think though. In this article, we’ll be looking at how you can transport your kayak abroad and whether it’s feasible physically and financially. We’ll outline all of your options and some alternatives if you don’t fancy the hassle of driving, flying, or sailing with your yak. Enjoy…

3 Ways to Bring Your Kayak Abroad

There are many ways to bring your kayak abroad. I mean you could cross the channel in your trusty yak, but that’s a feat and a half in itself. So, what are the more realistic ways to get your kayak overseas and how much does this all cost?

Transporting Your Kayak by Car
Transporting your kayak by car is the easiest and usually the cheapest way to transport your kayak overseas. However, you are restricted by how far you can travel. If you’re travelling extremely long distances the cost of fuel, toll roads, and running costs will add up far too much to be economical.

That being said, if you’re planning on taking your kayak over to Europe in countries such as France, Spain, Holland, or Germany, it’s extremely affordable and convenient. Taking your car allows you to go exactly where you want. You will be able to find places to drop your kayak in the water without paying someone service costs for transporting your kayak from your hotel, campsite, or bed and breakfast to the water.

There are some drawbacks though. You will have to be confident in driving overseas and you must have a reliable car to have a stress-free trip. If you’re driving an old banger, then this is not the best idea. However, if you have a reasonably reliable car and enjoy a good old road trip, transporting your kayak by car is the perfect form of transport.

Transporting Your Kayak by Plane
Transporting your kayak by plane can get expensive. It’s not the best solution for close range trips to Europe for example. You’d be far better off driving if you’re heading to Alps, but if you’re planning a bucket list trip to Asia, America, or Canada, checking your kayak in as luggage will be far more affordable.

Most long-distance airlines will offer a transport service for adventure equipment at an extra cost. Airlines are used to accommodating mountain bikes, kayaks, and heaps of hiking equipment for transport to far out destinations. You won’t have a problem finding a service to meet your needs, but you will pay a pretty penny for the privilege.

There are a few drawbacks to bringing your kayaking on a plane. Once you reach your destination, you’ll need to figure out a transport option from the airport to your accommodation and from your accommodation to the water. This can become even more costly. However, there are some simple solutions to this problem. The easiest is, of course, renting a vehicle. You’ll have to ensure the car you rent is capable of securing a kayak, so you’ll have to get either a van or a car with an appropriate roof rack.

Another option is finding a kayak rental company that will provide a service that picks up your kayak and transports it for you. The final option is finding accommodation or a service that will drop you and your kayak directly to your paddling location from the airport.

Posting Your Kayak to Your Destination
The final way to transport your kayak is by a courier service. Again, this is rather costly but if you’re planning a large expedition to a far-out place, this may be your only option. A delivery address is agreed upon delivery, so you can collect your kayak when you arrive at your destination.

As with taking your kayak abroad by plane, you’ll need to figure out a way to transport your kayak in the country once your there. Usually, this can be done with an expedition service or rental vehicle.

How to Figure Out Which Way Will Work Best for You?

The best way for you to transport your kayak will depend on a number of factors. The first being the location you’re traveling to. If you’re simply heading over to Wales for a trip down the Wye, then it’s probably not worth checking in your kayak as luggage on a flight. Similarly, it wouldn’t be economical to drive all the way to Thailand with your kayak strapped to the roof of your car.

1. First, figure out how far your destination is from your start point. If your destination is close, then a car is probably your best option. If you’re going further afield, then a plane or courier service will be more economical.

2. Next, calculate roughly how much fuel, tolls, and crossing would cost to get to your destination. Then calculate how much shipping or plane check-in would cost as well as a transport solution for the country you’ll arrive in.

3. Compare the three options and figure out which is most cost effective.

4. Weigh up your options and find a balance between cost and time. It may be a few hundred euros cheaper to drive to your destination but getting on a plane may save you days of time.

What’s The Easiest Way to Get Your Kayak Over to Europe?

The easiest way to get your kayak over to Europe is by car. As long as you have a car, roof rack, and a way to secure your kayak, you’ll have no issue taking a ferry or two over to Europe. Of course, you will have to drive in Europe, so make sure your confident driving in foreign countries. You should also make sure you check the requirements for the countries you’ll be driving in. You may need items such as spare bulbs, a first aid kit, and an emergency triangle to abide by European and local laws.

You will have to consider costs such as fuel, ferry fees, toll fees, and insurance. However, if you’re travelling to somewhere close such as Holland, France, or Spain, you will be surprised at how little it costs. To put it into perspective, I travelled 2,200 kilometres from London to Lake Mälaren in Stockholm County, Sweden in a 2.0 Toyota 4x4. The trip took 3 days and cost under €800 including fuel, two hotel stays, toll roads, bridge crossings, and food along the way. That’s not bad considering how long a trip it is. If you’re planning on heading to France for instance, you can expect it to cost a fraction of what I paid to get over to Sweden.

Easier Alternatives to Bringing a Full-Size Kayak Abroad

There are some easier alternatives to bringing a full-size hard shell kayak abroad if you don’t fancy the hassle or cost of driving, flying, or posting your vessel.

Depending on where you’re planning on kayaking, buying a heavy-duty inflatable kayak may be a better option for you. These will fit in to a standard suitcase and can be checked on to a flight as standard luggage. You may have to pay slightly extra for the weight, but this is an extremely cost effective option. It all depends on whether you want to experience the water in your trusty hard shell kayak that you’ve grown to love, or don’t mind making a compromise.

Your other option is to find a rental company or guided service in the country you plan on exploring. There are plenty of companies across the globe that provide guided tours and rental kayaks with drop off and pick up services included. This is usually a much cheaper option if you plan on venturing far into Europe or much further afield. However, you will likely be using a pretty standard kayak without some of the features you may have on your trusty stead at home.

A Final Word:
Kayaking abroad is a fantastic experience. Although taking your vessel abroad seems daunting at first it becomes second nature after a while. Although I haven’t travelled particularly far with my kayak, I can say that some of the best adventures I’ve had on the water have been overseas.

Kayak fishing for massive catfish on the Ebro in Spain, fishing for carp in France, and catching pike in Sweden have been my favourite trips so far. Have you been overseas kayaking? What’s been your favourite trip so far? Let us know down below!

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