The summer season is rapidly approaching and that is sure to mean vacation time for many! For those of us who enjoy our cigars, that definitely includes packing up some tasty smokes to take along for the trip and the ensuing days of rest and relaxation. However, traveling with cigars and of course a cutter or two and several lighters is not quite the same as tossing a pair of socks in the suitcase. The traveling cigar smoker needs a bit of planning before they hit the road or the air!
Cigars are picky little characters; they like things to be just right. Too warm and humid and they might just be so damp and soggy that they don’t light well. Too cool and dry and their precious oils vanish and you’re left with a crackling pile of leaves that go up in smoke. Once you round up your collection of fine cigars that will accompany you on your hard-earned vacation, you will need to find them the appropriate accommodations. What you need to remember is that if you are travelling by car and you have the air conditioning running the humidity will drop down to about 30% . If you are traveling by plane the humidity can get even lower and within a short time you will end up with dry cracking wrappers and harsh cigars that have lost much of their flavor.
So take the time to keep those cigars in mint condition on their journey. Their accommodations can be as simple as a zip-lock baggie with a Boveda pack or water pillow as their bodyguard or ideally a quality hard-sided cigar caddy or herf-a-dor (coming soon to an ABC near you!) with foam inserts and a nice tight seal. I prefer the hard case because it protects the cigars from jostling around in the suitcase so they arrive at your destination in one piece. Definitely worth the small investment and they come in a variety of sizes.
Of course, once you hit your destination you will definitely be ready for a smoke and that brings us to lighters and cutters. If you are traveling by car, this is simple: toss your lighters and cutters into your bags and away you go! Traveling by plane can be a bit different. Cigar cutters for the most part never seem to pose much of an issue, depending on your local TSA agent that day. I just toss the cutters in my pocket or carry-on bag and 99% of the time there is never a problem. Lighters can be a bit tricky. If you think you want to bring your favorite torch lighter on the plane, think again. It’s possible if you want to empty it and pack it in a special container that may cost more than your lighter. My advice is to forget about the torch and bring a couple soft flame lighters like a Bic or Djeep. Understand also that while some countries will let you bring a soft flame lighter in to the country but won’t let you leave with said lighter!
Safe travels and stay smokey!
Steve Mungeer, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Category Manager: Premium Cigars and Craft Beer
Follow me on Twitter @abccigarmungo