Whether you're traveling by car, plane, or boat, figuring out how to travel with your hula hoops can be tough. You might be going overseas for a vacation or semester abroad, to a music festival with your festie fam, or just going for a hike. No matter where you're headed, finding the best way to travel with your hula hoops is essential. In this article I'll provide suggestions for a few different ways you can travel with your hoops.
Coiling your Hoop
This is the most basic way to make your hula hoop smaller. When ordering from most hoopsmiths, your hula hoop will be shipped coiled down. This is exactly what your hoop will look like when you coil it down to travel. All you'll need to coil your hula hoop down is a roll of painter's tape, your hula hoop, and your hands! First, you'll need to disconnect your hoop and start to slowly coil it into a smaller circle. Once you have it at a good size—24" OD in diameter for traveling by plane—you'll tape the middle and the sides. JAMhoops recommends taping in at least five spots so the hula hoop doesn't get warped or one spot doesn't have too much pressure exerted on it. You shouldn't leave your hula hoop coiled down for long periods of time. The longer it is coiled down, the more likely it is to warp and lose its shape. When you're traveling, you might not have extra time to let your hoop uncoil. It's very important to keep these things in mind when considering what method of transportation you'll be using to travel with your hula hoops.
Consider what kind of hooping you'd like to do on your trip and what size hoops you're comfortable using. Also keep in mind the duration of your trip. It might not be wise to bring three different sized hoops on your week-long trip to the Alps. Do you really need to bring your 38" OD 7/8 HDPE from your beginner days? If you normally use bigger hula hoops it's still possible to travel with them. However, I'd suggest using the smallest hula hoop you're comfortable hooping with for traveling.
Traveling by Car
Traveling by car is certainly the most popular method of transportation. However, luggage and people in the car might make it difficult for you to find a place for your hula hoops without them being crushed. The picture above shows how JAMhoops—and many other hula hoopers for that matter—suggests you store your hula hoops for car travel. Strap your uncoiled hula hoops to the ceiling of your car to avoid them being warped and getting in the way of your passengers. Bungee cords are the ideal choice for this type of storage because they can stretch to accommodate any size hoop. Hula hoops can be quickly removed and placed back in store while traveling.
The alternative is to pack your hula hoops in the car last. If you pack your hula hoops last, you can easily place them on top of all the other items in the car. They might shift during travel, but this ensures they will be protected from being bent or crushed during the car ride.
Traveling by Airplane
From my own personal experience, there are many ways to travel on planes with hula hoops. I HIGHLY recommend traveling with smaller hula hoops as there is limited space in the cabin. However, if you're traveling with a hula hoop (or several hula hoops) over 24" OD, you must coil them down to at least this size to fit through the X-Ray scanner. Traveling the skies with your hula hoops requires confidence and persistence. I have broken this section down into helpful steps:
Step 1: Prepare for security. While in the security line, you should begin prepping your bag to be placed on the conveyor belt and follow all other standard TSA rules (i.e., take out your laptop, take off your shoes, take out your liquids). You don't want to hold people up, and your hula hoops might cause a small disturbance or confusion. Before you go into the body scanner, a TSA agent may ask what your hoop is. You should be courteous and reply calmly: "It's a hula hoop and is my dance/performance prop". The TSA agent may ask you to step aside. This is no cause for alarm.
Step 2: Boarding the Plane. There are two ways to go about this depending on how long your flight will be.
Option 1: Coil your hoop down and attach it to your backpack or carry-on luggage. When you board the plane, store your backpack underneath the seat and your hoop (coiled down to AT LEAST 24" OD to fit through the X-Ray scanner) will fit along with it. Alternatively, at this size your hoop will be able to fit in the overhead storage compartment. If you have a layover, uncoil your hoop and find a spacious area where you can flow while you wait for your next flight! However, be sure you have extra painter's tape or velcro strips to recoil your hoop for the next leg of your journey.
Option 2: Hockey players and other sports teams are allowed to bring their equipment aboard planes simply by speaking politely with the flight attendant. This is a great method if you're traveling with more than five hula hoops. When you get to the boarding gate, walk through the jetway and onto the plane. There will be a flight attendant standing right when you walk into the cabin. Explain to her/him what your hula hoops are, and ask if you can place your them in a storage spot. Storage spots on planes are behind the last row of seats in each cabin. There is about a 4-5” wide gap where your hula hoops and other sports equipment can be easily stored.
Option 3: If the first two options aren't ideal for you, this is the option that requires you to be neighborly. Upon walking up to your seat and before you sit in your assigned seat, ask your neighbor in the seat next to you if it's okay to store your hula hoop in between the window and the window seat. Many people don't have a problem with this at all. Some people will even offer you the window seat (but don't bank on that!). A good way to be sure you have enough space for your hoops is to book a window seat when you buy your plane tickets or when you check in for your flight (depending on which airline you're flying with).
Traveling by foot for Hiking, Festivals, Performance, & Workshops.
Traveling with your hoop on foot is definitely a lot easier than the other forms of travel. However, unless you have a sectional hoop, you'll be carrying your hoop wherever you go. Hiking while holding a hoop is difficult. So I have some hands-free recommendations for you. You can also apply this technique for traveling around festivals, family vacations, or to the beach!
Hoop holders and carabiners are the number one choice for people traveling with their hula hoops on the go. JAMhoop Holders (pictured below) are found on the JAMhoops website on the Shop JAMhoops tab on Add-On page. You can find carabiners at virtually any store near you that has a sports or outdoors section (Walmart, Target, Cabelas, or online at Amazon). The one I have, pictured above, I purchased from Walmart (I found it in the camping section) is more like a bungee cord with two carabiner clips at the end. It's adjustable so I can carry multiple hoops with one clip! You can also find one on Amazon!
Hoop bags and Hoop Huggies are my favorites for traveling to gigs, workshops, and other places where I need multiple props and hula hoops. JAMhoops recommends wreath bags from Amazon, where you can get a large bag or small bag. These are perfect for protecting your LEDs from inclement weather while also carrying multiple hula hoops (or other props) at once. Ordering your bag a bit larger helps if you want to carry multiple hoops or if you don't want to coil down your larger hula hoops.
I bought my hoop bag from EmzHoopzDesignz. They make beautiful hula hoop bags with pockets. The pockets allow for easy storage of your batteries and other accessories and it has a carrying strap. I bought a 27” bag because I usually hoop with this size or smaller. My bag can usually hold 4 to 5 hoops, plus my minis and my silk veil fans. This is perfect for when I'm busy traveling and have multiple performances in one weekend. The bags are made from stretchy material and won't damage your hoop! Plus you can customize them to your favorite colors.
I really hope this article was helpful for all your travel needs. Be sure to comment below and let me know if these suggestions worked for you or if you have any unique travel tips. We love feedback!
Also if you are interested in a new hula hoop or other flow prop be sure to use my discount code EMILYG10 at the JAMhoops checkout!
Happy Travels & Hooping!!