How do I get my walking stick home?
by Capt. Rice
Hello, I will be hiking Mt. Fuji this summer and plan to get a walking stick like everyone else:) I was wondering how I should go about getting it home. It seems like it will be too big for my luggage and I don't know if I can just carry that on the plane. Do you have any idea what it might cost to ship to California? Thanks so much for your time.
May 21, 2012
Reply: Wow, Capt. Rice, that's a tough but good question.
Because some airlines allow you to check walking canes and sports equipment such as pool cues, javelins, and even pole vaults, you should be able to transport it as checked baggage. But I'm sure every airline's policy is different.
United Airlines, for example, would allow it, provided it's less than 157cm long, and it would count as one of your 2 checked bags limit. But if you were already checking 2 suitcases, the Mt. Fuji walking stick would qualify as excess baggage, costing you $200. Ouch, that's a pretty expensive souvenir! On the other hand, I guess it's possible that a check-in agent @ United or another airline might give you a break & not even count it against your checked baggage allowance. United's checked baggage policy is here: http://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/travel/Pages/BaggageChecked.aspx
Another option might be to ship it thru the Japan Post Office. Airmail, surface mail, and economy air (SAL) restrict parcel sizes to 1.05m, but express mail service (EMS) allows parcels up to 1.5m in length. Since to my knowledge, most Mt. Fuji walking sticks are in the 130-150cm range, maybe this shipping method will work. If the stick is less than 500 gm, the shipping cost from Tokyo to California will be around 1500 yen. Before you depart California, though, you might also want to check w/ US Customs to make sure the Mt. Fuji walking stick is not considered a restricted item. More details on EMS here: http://www.post.japanpost.jp/int/ems/index_en.html
In a worst case scenario, you could always saw it in half, and then use wood glue to put it back together once you get home. :-)
Hope this helps. Best wishes with the climb !!