Are you excited about Shibaricon? Me, too. But especially if this is your first time coming, and you’re coming from far away, you may be wondering: how can I get my rope to Shibaricon?
As someone who travels regularly with rope and other toys, I can tell you my personal secret: Pay the damn fees. Yeah, it’s ridiculous, but while I’ve accumulated a nice collection of TSA inspection forms, I’ve never had anything – from basic Twisted Monk rope to high-end MauiKink exotic wood paddles – get taken. I’ve heard various other horror stories (including one from Midori who had all kinds of stuff taken) but my own experience is that if you just fork over the cash, I don’t worry.
I’ve tried other methods, including one that is often recommended by others on discussions like this one on Fetlife to mail the packages, but I’ve found that there’s an element of risk in relying on others to mail or hold your packages. I’ve still got a lot of my rope sitting in the back of someone’s car in San Francisco because they haven’t found the time to mail it to me, and SherynB mentions that “almost all large hotels charge substantial receiving and holding fees, and I’d be surprised if the Hyatt was an exception. It’s been a few years, since I did hotel conferences, but my guess would be $20-25 a box, or more, based on weight. So if you’re going to do it, call first so you know what to expect.”
This year I have the advantage that my partner is driving in from the Bondage Burgh, and so my gear bag will just be thrown in the back of her car.
If you do decide to brave the TSA and carry on your rope (It’s for climbing! Honest!) just remember they are arbitrary, fickle, and logic will not work. CherriesJubalie and Lqqkout had the interesting experience of traveling to the same event – Beyond Leather – and while TSA was fine with Lqqkout’s five-foot heavy-steel chain in his carry-on, they insisted that Cherry remove her nipple piercings in order to go through the metal detector (note: Cherry has investigated and found that this is NOT TSA policy, so if you are asked to do this and you don’t want to, know that you can insist on a “visual screening” instead of removing them).
In short, if you’re bringing gear, pay the damn fees. It’s the safest way to transport them.
What’s your plan for getting your gear to Shibaricon?