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Not your usual question about hiking poles

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wynrich

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Time of past OR future Camino
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I'm considering mailing my hiking poles from the United States to a friend in A Coruna. I wonder if anyone has had experience with mailing items to Spain and how long it might take.

I know I could buy poles after we get there, but these are some nice light-weight carbon Z-poles that I really like using. We are flying from the US to A Coruna in April. We have only a little over an hour lay-over in Madrid so are hoping not to have to check luggage at that time. (Seems like a tight connection.) So, hoping we can carry-on the whole way. But I'm pretty sure I can't carry on the poles from Madrid to A Coruna. I've never had a problem with carrying on the carbon Z-poles from the US to Spain but I understand that within Spain they are much stricter about this.

Thanks for any advice!
 
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Hopefully someone with more experience in that regard will come up, but first thing that came to mind was "what happens if some overly eager customs officer thinks that you are not mailing a personal item to a friend but that it is a commercial shipment of some kind that needs some VAT added". I have no idea how spanish customs work, but our *cough* efficient german customs likes to take its sweet time with that.
 
I'm considering mailing my hiking poles from the United States to a friend in A Coruna. I wonder if anyone has had experience with mailing items to Spain and how long it might take.

I know I could buy poles after we get there, but these are some nice light-weight carbon Z-poles that I really like using. We are flying from the US to A Coruna in April. We have only a little over an hour lay-over in Madrid so are hoping not to have to check luggage at that time. (Seems like a tight connection.) So, hoping we can carry-on the whole way. But I'm pretty sure I can't carry on the poles from Madrid to A Coruna. I've never had a problem with carrying on the carbon Z-poles from the US to Spain but I understand that within Spain they are much stricter about this.

Thanks for any advice!
Regrettably the flying-to-Spain and the flying-within-Spain bits have fairly definitive answers so far as the written rules stand; but there are a number who have travelled with their z-poles without a problem. Past experience doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything.

As you might face an issue with duty on a posted package and, given the cost of a reliable courier service, might it not be better to buy another pair when you land?
 
I’m in the UK so not quite the same situation.
I’ve posted my poles to albergues along the Frances twice, and they’ve always been waiting for me when I arrived.
That was before Brexit.
In 2021 I posted my poles to a hostal in Ferrol.
They weren’t waiting for me. I bought some €5 poles from a Chinese store. These were adequate for a 6day walk, but I would have much preferred my own.
I hope someone else benefitted from them and that they weren’t binned.
 
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I'm considering mailing my hiking poles from the United States to a friend in A Coruna. I wonder if anyone has had experience with mailing items to Spain and how long it might take.

I know I could buy poles after we get there, but these are some nice light-weight carbon Z-poles that I really like using. We are flying from the US to A Coruna in April. We have only a little over an hour lay-over in Madrid so are hoping not to have to check luggage at that time. (Seems like a tight connection.) So, hoping we can carry-on the whole way. But I'm pretty sure I can't carry on the poles from Madrid to A Coruna. I've never had a problem with carrying on the carbon Z-poles from the US to Spain but I understand that within Spain they are much stricter about this.

Thanks for any advice!
From what I understand you cannot carry poles
 
I was able to stuff mine diagonally into a 22" carryon. That depends on the airline of course (and the actual size of your 22" rolling carryon suitcase, They are not all the same). You probably cannot carry them waving around of course but maybe (like me) IN a bag of or box of some sort. As someone mentioned you can use a tube or make a tube or box out of cardboard and check them as baggage. If you plan on hiking ONLY with a pack then perhaps hit a thrift shop and pick up a $5 rolling carryon and discard/donate it when you get to your destination.
 
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I'm considering mailing my hiking poles from the United States to a friend in A Coruna. I wonder if anyone has had experience with mailing items to Spain and how long it might take.

I know I could buy poles after we get there, but these are some nice light-weight carbon Z-poles that I really like using. We are flying from the US to A Coruna in April. We have only a little over an hour lay-over in Madrid so are hoping not to have to check luggage at that time. (Seems like a tight connection.) So, hoping we can carry-on the whole way. But I'm pretty sure I can't carry on the poles from Madrid to A Coruna. I've never had a problem with carrying on the carbon Z-poles from the US to Spain but I understand that within Spain they are much stricter about this.

Thanks for any advice!

For many years, I have carried on z-poles and had no trouble carrying them on with me through Madrid security to make a connection to a flight to my camino starting point. I have read enough recent posts about Madrid security and its unpredictability that I am now planning to check my poles from the US. Like you, I will not have enough time in Madrid to go and check the poles if they don’t make it through Madrid security. So I’m going to check them in the US.

Checked luggage from the US to Spain goes to its final destination, in your case A Coruña. So your connection time in Madrid doesn’t matter. I know that many US travelers just assume we have to pick up our luggage at point of entry, as we do going back into the US, but Spain (and I think the rest of the EU) is different. I’m assuming here that your journey is all booked on one ticket — if not, you will have to get them and recheck, but there’s no way you could do that with an hour layover). I think it’s much more likely that your poles will arrive in A Coruña if you check them on a flight than if you send them with the customs mess Ivar has described.
 
If you want to guarantee that you have no problems with your poles flying to Spain or back from Spain, here is the solution. When I walked the Camino in 2018, I had heard about TSA or the Spainish version of TSA confiscating your poles at the airport. What I did is ask my doctor to write a note on his office stationary indicating some affliction and the poles were necessary as a "medically assistive device". My doctor had no problem writing the note when I explained what I was doing. Lo and behold, at the Madrid airport, they pulled my poles and were going to keep them. I then handed them the note and they graciously gave them back to me. Trust me, it works.
 
If you want to guarantee that you have no problems with your poles flying to Spain or back from Spain, here is the solution. When I walked the Camino in 2018, I had heard about TSA or the Spainish version of TSA confiscating your poles at the airport. What I did is ask my doctor to write a note on his office stationary indicating some affliction and the poles were necessary as a "medically assistive device". My doctor had no problem writing the note when I explained what I was doing. Lo and behold, at the Madrid airport, they pulled my poles and were going to keep them. I then handed them the note and they graciously gave them back to me. Trust me, it works.
I don’t think that this is good advice. If I understand what you are saying, you are encouraging dishonesty. Whether I can walk a camino or not without a hiking pole is not the question. The question is whether I can walk through the airport and to my plane without a hiking pole.
 
For many years, I have carried on z-poles and had no trouble carrying them on with me through Madrid security to make a connection to a flight to my camino starting point. I have read enough recent posts about Madrid security and its unpredictability that I am now planning to check my poles from the US. Like you, I will not have enough time in Madrid to go and check the poles if they don’t make it through Madrid security. So I’m going to check them in the US.

Checked luggage from the US to Spain goes to its final destination, in your case A Coruña. So your connection time in Madrid doesn’t matter. I know that many US travelers just assume we have to pick up our luggage at point of entry, as we do going back into the US, but Spain (and I think the rest of the EU) is different. I’m assuming here that your journey is all booked on one ticket — if not, you will have to get them and recheck, but there’s no way you could do that with an hour layover). I think it’s much more likely that your poles will arrive in A Coruña if you check them on a flight than if you send them with the customs mess Ivar has described.
Oh my gosh, this is so helpful! You answered all the things I was wondering about but didn't state explicitly: Can I check the poles all the way to A Coruna? Will I have to re-check in Madrid? Thank you so much.
 
In the eyes of spanish customs, the person who receives these will have bought something from the US (it is an importation) and the want to charge import tax on this. There will be paperwork, so don’t do this last minute.
This is exactly what I needed to know. Thank you, Ivar! I don't think I'd want to ask my friend to do that so I won't be mailing them.
 
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Can I check the poles all the way to A Coruna?
If your flights are all on one through ticket they will be checked through to A Coruña.

If you have purchased these tickets separately then you would have to collect them and recheck them in Madrid.

If that were the case it would probably be faster to carry them on in some kind of bag, then check them in at the Madrid Airport. At least you wouldn't have to wait for them at baggage claim first.
 
I'm considering mailing my hiking poles from the United States to a friend in A Coruna. I wonder if anyone has had experience with mailing items to Spain and how long it might take.

I know I could buy poles after we get there, but these are some nice light-weight carbon Z-poles that I really like using. We are flying from the US to A Coruna in April. We have only a little over an hour lay-over in Madrid so are hoping not to have to check luggage at that time. (Seems like a tight connection.) So, hoping we can carry-on the whole way. But I'm pretty sure I can't carry on the poles from Madrid to A Coruna. I've never had a problem with carrying on the carbon Z-poles from the US to Spain but I understand that within Spain they are much stricter about this.

Thanks for any advice!
Check your poles although ours didn't make it to Paris with us due to delays and flight changes and we had to buy some in Pamplona but also the items we shipped back to the US from Santiago took around 3 months to arrive. Hope this helps.
 
There are two DECATHLON stores in A CORUÑA and as far as I know, the store chain is located all over Spain. Why hassle with hiking poles sent from the States when you can obtain a very nice set in Spain? You will avoid a number of hassles including packaging, shipping, EU/Spanish customs and bothering your friends. Take it easy and go shopping in Spain.
 
I'm considering mailing my hiking poles from the United States to a friend in A Coruna. I wonder if anyone has had experience with mailing items to Spain and how long it might take.

I know I could buy poles after we get there, but these are some nice light-weight carbon Z-poles that I really like using. We are flying from the US to A Coruna in April. We have only a little over an hour lay-over in Madrid so are hoping not to have to check luggage at that time. (Seems like a tight connection.) So, hoping we can carry-on the whole way. But I'm pretty sure I can't carry on the poles from Madrid to A Coruna. I've never had a problem with carrying on the carbon Z-poles from the US to Spain but I understand that within Spain they are much stricter about this.

Thanks for any advice!
Most people just buy the cardboard postal tubes and put their poles, knife etc in them and check them at the airport with no problems. Too many people get their poles confiscated at the airport that tried to hide them in their carryon and if it’s poles you love why take that risk!
 
Most people just buy the cardboard postal tubes and put their poles, knife etc in them and check them at the airport with no problems. Too many people get their poles confiscated at the airport that tried to hide them in their carryon and if it’s poles you love why take that risk!
Yes, I'm convinced. I will plan to check them to my final destination. Many thanks, to everyone who responded.
 
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I'm considering mailing my hiking poles from the United States to a friend in A Coruna. I wonder if anyone has had experience with mailing items to Spain and how long it might take.

I know I could buy poles after we get there, but these are some nice light-weight carbon Z-poles that I really like using. We are flying from the US to A Coruna in April. We have only a little over an hour lay-over in Madrid so are hoping not to have to check luggage at that time. (Seems like a tight connection.) So, hoping we can carry-on the whole way. But I'm pretty sure I can't carry on the poles from Madrid to A Coruna. I've never had a problem with carrying on the carbon Z-poles from the US to Spain but I understand that within Spain they are much stricter about this.

Thanks for any advice!
Can’t really answer your question regarding the shipping times, but I can confirm that the connection from Madrid to Pamplona required us to check our poles even though we were carrying on everything. Pamplona was our final destination. I would fit the poles inside your pack and be done with it.
 
I'm considering mailing my hiking poles from the United States to a friend in A Coruna. I wonder if anyone has had experience with mailing items to Spain and how long it might take.

I know I could buy poles after we get there, but these are some nice light-weight carbon Z-poles that I really like using. We are flying from the US to A Coruna in April. We have only a little over an hour lay-over in Madrid so are hoping not to have to check luggage at that time. (Seems like a tight connection.) So, hoping we can carry-on the whole way. But I'm pretty sure I can't carry on the poles from Madrid to A Coruna. I've never had a problem with carrying on the carbon Z-poles from the US to Spain but I understand that within Spain they are much stricter about this.

Thanks for any advice!
Think about maybe keeping it simple, and limiting the needful things you will need to guard along the long way. Sometimes the poles vanish by mistake or design, especially really special ones.
Buen Camino!
 
Batones can be purchased in Spain, from very inexpensive to very expensive. (With no obvious difference in quality!) One thing they have in common with those in USA is that it is very difficult to find ones that aren't two centimeters too long to fit in a carry-on!
 
If you want to guarantee that you have no problems with your poles flying to Spain or back from Spain, here is the solution. When I walked the Camino in 2018, I had heard about TSA or the Spainish version of TSA confiscating your poles at the airport. What I did is ask my doctor to write a note on his office stationary indicating some affliction and the poles were necessary as a "medically assistive device". My doctor had no problem writing the note when I explained what I was doing. Lo and behold, at the Madrid airport, they pulled my poles and were going to keep them. I then handed them the note and they graciously gave them back to me. Trust me, it works.
So, you are encouraging fraud.
 
Batones can be purchased in Spain, from very inexpensive to very expensive. (With no obvious difference in quality!) One thing they have in common with those in USA is that it is very difficult to find ones that aren't two centimeters too long to fit in a carry-on!
Hiking poles and camera tripods too IME
 
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I would definitely agree with the advice to put them in a box or something, and put them in as luggage.
 
Thanks for any advice!
The suggestions above seem to boil down to:
1) mail to a friend near your start point
2) use check in (cardboard tubes, for example)
3) just wing it
4) buy on arrival

My suggestion is a variation of 4) buy on arrival.

I suggest you order desired poles online from a Spanish store
Shipping address is for the friend near your start point
Billing address is your home details.

My experience of this technique (presents to UK addresses, billing to Aotearoa / New Zealand) is most online purchases have tracking as standard, regardless of country of dispatch.

Kia kaha, kia māia, kia mana'wa'nui (take care, be strong, patient and confident)
 
I previously posted the link to US TSA showing that carry on of hiking poles is prohibited. However, the post was removed by a moderator. I'm told it was because I responded to a removed post.... in any case, you may wish to look up current US guidelines if considering carry on of any form in the 'wing it' option and depart from the US.
 
I previously posted the link to US TSA showing that carry on of hiking poles is prohibited. However, the post was removed by a moderator. I'm told it was because I responded to a removed post.... in any case, you may wish to look up current US guidelines if considering carry on of any form in the 'wing it' option and depart from the US.
I'll refer you to this post https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...sticks-into-the-airplane-cabin-with-me.73727/
The aTSA's position is not so cut and dried. The TSA agents on duty do have some leeway.
Screenshot_20230206-215711.png
 
If you review the TSA.gov website, the position is rather clear. You are correct in that the site often references the TSA agents as having the final decision. This note is posted with specific items that can be considered slightly ambiguous such as "Enough prescription medicine for your trip" or baby food where liquid is normally limited to 100ml.

The question at hand is one set of hiking poles. Much like one golf club, we are discussing a clearly defined item where the site states they are not permitted.

Again, to you point and as another user suggested, Agents may at their discretion permit "medically necessary items" not normally permitted the general traveler. It becomes a matter of individual conscious if one feels the necessity to abuse the system. It may be of little consequence to most people if they skirt the system until the loophole is closed due to abuse as these are accommodations for people in specific need. However, the folks in true need of these accommodations, TSA discretion, will certainly be put out.
 
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As a matter of reference, one can take scissors with a blade up to 4 inches, but no knife in carry on. I'm not sure who thought of that, but ladies need the scissors with their knitting sticks (also allowed).

I have, in the past been permitted to take all of my check baggage thru TSA to my gate to catch my plane. As a frequent business Traveller at the same large airport week after week, thru the same checkpoint, to the same gate, for the same flight.... TSA didn't see a threat with my knife or wine corkscrew. This was like running for a bus. I never suggested the process, the airlines did and TSA said yes. My luck. Had someone new been working, I would like have been stopped, perhaps missed my flight, and certainly understood.

The line has to be somewhere for safety and organization.
 
we are discussing a clearly defined item
I have not seen a definition. I suspect that folding "poles" are treated differently that standard ones.

Agents may at their discretion permit "medically necessary items" not normally permitted the general traveler.
They have discretion, period, not just for that particular situation.

This argument has been conducted on the forum countless times and it usually always ends in an argument.

If you are interested, go read all the old threads with the tag "poles". It has all been said many times.

The OP has received good answers to the question posed, so I will lock the thread.
 
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