Whether you want to do some extra training during your vacation or your coach makes each player responsible for a ball during travel, there are times when you’ll have to travel with a soccer ball.
I’ve traveled with a soccer ball by car, bus, and plane several times, and learned a few helpful tips along the way.
Traveling with a soccer ball is possible, but it can be a headache if you don’t take the right steps.
Today we’ll cover some helpful topics like:
- Bring the ball vs leaving it
- Air travel rules
- Deflating a soccer ball
- Helpful tips for traveling with a ball
Read on to find out the safest, most convenient way to bring your soccer ball with you as you travel.
Can You Take a Soccer Ball On An Airplane?
If you’re traveling by plane, the first question you may have is “can you take a soccer ball on an airplane. The short answer (and good news) is yes, you can!
The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.TSA.gov
Simply put, you can travel by airplane with a soccer ball. While this is great news, it’s not the end of the story. There’s still a lot more to learn about traveling with a soccer ball.
Reasons to Travel with a Soccer Ball
A lot of people may find the idea of traveling with a soccer ball silly. Why not just leave it at home?
There are actually a lot of reasons for traveling with a soccer ball including:
- To stay active during a trip or vacation.
- Each player is responsible for one ball during team travel.
- You are traveling for a soccer event (like tryouts).
- The soccer ball is a gift.
Risk of Traveling With a Soccer Ball
While traveling with a soccer ball is helpful or even necessary at times, it is not without its downsides. Here are some considerations:
- Damage to the ball
- Forgetting the ball in overhead storage/ in the vehicle
- Trouble re-inflating the ball
- Taking up space you need for other items
When to Leave the Ball at Home
As mentioned, there are times when a team may require you to travel with a soccer ball. However, when it comes to personal travel the decision is yours.
Many times, traveling with a soccer ball is simple enough. Still, it’s another thing to think about. How many times do we pack things we don’t need?
When considering if you want to bring your ball, evaluate the following:
- Purpose of travel. Will you even have time to use it?
- Duration of the trip. Might not be worth it for a short trip.
- Mode of travel. Easiest to bring when traveling by car.
- Ball access. Can you borrow one at your destination?
Deflate a Soccer Ball When Flying
If you plan to bring a soccer ball on an airplane, you should deflate it. While the TSA may not require this, it’s an important tip that can save your ball.
When you fly on an airplane, the pressure changes. If you bring your inflated soccer ball on an airplane, it could pop due to the change in pressure.
Fortunately, there’s a simple fix, and that’s to deflate the ball prior to flying. Deflating the soccer ball will also make it smaller and easier to pack with you.
How to Deflate a Soccer Ball
Deflating a soccer ball is extremely easy. All you need is a needle from a ball pump.
Unscrew the needle from the ball pump. Insert the needle into the pump hole on the soccer ball. You will hear the air begin to hiss out.
Apply pressure to the ball to help squeeze the air out quickly. As air comes out, you may need to apply more force to get the remaining air out.
Keep in mind you do not have to get out every single ounce of air. Just flatten it enough to release most air.
Tips for Traveling with a Soccer ball
With the right resources and planning, traveling with a soccer ball is easy. Here are some helpful tips:
Bring a Ball Pump
Traveling with a ball won’t do you much good if it’s flat when you arrive! The flipside of deflating your ball is inflating it. Make sure you pack your soccer ball pump too.
Of course, there are a ton of ball pumps to choose from. Here are a few we recommend:
Re-Inflate Right Away
One of the biggest mistakes is leaving the soccer ball deflated for too long. I’ve found that this makes it harder to return to its normal shape and can lead to damage. Reinflat the ball as soon as possible once you arrive.
Do not fold up the ball too much or shove underneath a bunch of items. Pack it carefully.
Ideally, place the flattened ball in your luggage without crunching or folding it. Doing so can cause rips or cracks. Be mindful of how and where you pack the ball.
Don’t Bring Your Best Ball
If you are undertaking personal travel, don’t bring your best soccer ball. Remember, the ball is prone to damage or loss when traveling. The last thing you want is to bring your very favorite ball and come back without it in top shape.
Bring a backup soccer ball, or purchase an affordable ball for travel. Select soccer balls are great quality, yet affordable options for travel. Consider this Select Numero 10 size five soccer ball.
Write Your Name On It
Reduce the chances of losing your ball by writing your name and contact information on it in a permanent marker. If it is a team ball, it should have your team name and jersey number on it. Bring an extra permanent marker for touch-ups.
Double-Check with the Airline/Bus
While the TSA allows you to travel with a soccer ball, always double-check with your travel company. Whether you are traveling on a plane, bus, train, or car, inquire about traveling with your ball before doing so.
The bottom line is that you can travel with a soccer ball, including on an airplane. While it may seem unnecessary, there are actually several reasons why someone would need to bring their soccer ball when they travel.
Regardless, there are still some risks when you travel with a soccer ball, mainly damaging or losing the ball. Deflate the ball during travel to help, and inflate it upon arrival.