Air Freight - Australia to the USA

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Mark Aus, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Mark Aus

    Mark Aus n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    4
    Location:
    Adelaide Australia
    Hi All

    I've been searching online and called Qantas in Australia but struggling to get some clear answers. Has anyone sent a bike from Australia to the US by Air?

    I'm taking the long way to get to Europe and going to head up from LA to Canada and the back down to the East Coast before heading to Europe with the bike.

    Any tips would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Mark
    #1
  2. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,488
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    Hi, I was gonna suggest to get in touch with Tradelanes Global Solutions in Melbourne, I used them in April 2008 to send a bike by sea from Oz to Finland, they seemed to know their stuff and handled airfreight as well ........ but now I see that their webpages do not seem to exist any more, I dunno if they´ve gone out of business or what. Sorry but I have no other good contacts in Oz :cry

    (BTW, sending to the US is reported to be a bit more complicated than sending to Canada – I have not done either, as I got a set of wheels from the US, but I did some research before that trip, and everybody said this same thing).
    #2
  3. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Lots of ways to do this.
    I'm not fond of paying $2000 to $3000 USD to an airline to transport a bike I can buy here in the USA for much less than the cost of that same bike in Oz. Yes ... bikes are cheaper here in the USA than in Australia. :D

    So buy the bike in the USA (L.A. is a very good place), set it up best you can and go. Once done with US and Canada you can either ship it to EU (from NYC or Canada) or sell it off and fly away. Buy another bike in UK ... or where ever .... and continue your trip. Sell off bike at trips end ... or store it there for future travel.

    I bought a great used bike in the UK, toured Europe for 3 years, making annual trips all round EU, going back and forth from USA to France, where I kept the bike. After 3 years and 3 trips I sold it for 600 UKP less than I paid for it. How'd I do? :lol3 Figure that against rental or shipping and
    the 3 years and 22K miles I did traveling all over EU.

    But if I were you ... I'd do it a bit different ... since you lot rarely get off your big island ... after seeing US & Canada ... I'd keep going and head South.

    Spend another year ... Do Mexico, Cent. America and S. America. Either sell the bike off once down to Chile or ship it somewhere from Buenos Aires, Lima, Peru' or Chile. All doable.

    Getting hung up on one bike is, IMO, a mistake. Good bikes are everywhere ... and since shipping them is so outrageously expensive ... maybe better to do a "work around". Burning up money shipping is just insane. That money could keep you on the road for MONTHS!

    Just my opinion.
    #3
  4. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,488
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    Both ways will have their ups and downs.

    When you send your own bike from home, the biggest advantages are, that you will be able to handle all its preparations, like panniers, and 95% of paperwork, before you set off. And you´ll also know the bike inside out technically (ok well, at least you have a chance to know it inside out – when you buy abroad, unless you buy new, it´s always a bit of a gamble, could turn out well and usually does, but it´s never guaranteed).

    And shipping costs vary wildly. It is very rare for an individual to send a vehicle overseas, so each time it happens, will be an individual case, and there are many, many variables at play. Here it really pays to do your homework well. An example: in 2008, I sent my DL650 from Sydney to Helsinki, by sea, and ended up paying almost exactly 700 euros for it, total including everything. Distance was +9000 miles as the crow flies. It took almost two months, though, but our trip had ended in Sydney, and we flew home from there, so having to wait didn´t matter so much. Could have been different, if I was stil in the middle of the trip. But for me, it was a good example, that it IS possible to freight quite cheaply as well. Problem is, you´ll only really know, how much it costs, after you´ve done your shipping.

    Should you buy abroad, or send your own, I don´t think there is one simple answer to that. It depends on your trip, and your own preferences as well. But in the case of USA, I would at the very least consider buying over there, as there are lots of very cheap second-hand bikes available, and registration and insurance issues aren´t huge, so it´s one of the better places to do this.
    #4
  5. Hodgo

    Hodgo TWIN Cylinder ADV

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,597
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Cargotransport.com.au,

    Talk to Steve & tell him you spoke to me who shipped my 950se from Brisbane to lax all no problems.
    #5
  6. Mark Aus

    Mark Aus n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    4
    Location:
    Adelaide Australia
    Hi All

    Thanks for the tips,

    To me there is only one bike It's definitely going to be my own bike, BMW 2012 GSA as I know and trust it. It's not the cost that bothers me and I've had one quote already which wasn't much more than surface freight.

    Gotta love the comment about us lot rarely getting of our big island..in many instances it's actually cheaper for us to holiday outside of Australia than at home. I've road tripped the South of the US before and I've just got back from 2 months in UK and Europe and missed the bike so much I'm taking it with me next trip which is how this process started.

    What I'm finding is that it's not a common request when I contact freight companies. I thought in this day and age it would be simple to move anything anywhere...I love a challenge so I'm steaming ahead with this and I'll keep you all informed.
    #6
  7. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,526
    Location:
    Thailand

    Lots of greats deals here in the ADV flea market. I've bought four bikes that way. Good value me thinks, better than giving all that money to shipping companies.

    Here's a good example;
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=920050
    #7
  8. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,988
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    #8
  9. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,035
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    For me, the biggest issue will be comfortable seat.. I can't just buy a bike and go.. the seat will have to be very comfortable and that is important to me. I love Day-Long seat (3rd set). It will depend on whether you are capable of being comfortable on every factory motorcycle or if you need to modify it to meet your comfortable need so in my case I will stick to one bike and shop for the best price possible.
    #9
  10. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,526
    Location:
    Thailand
    I used to be pretty fussy about seats too, lately I found cheap solutions like the bead rider and the Alaska sheep skins to be more than adequate.
    More often than not bikes bought here in the flea market will already be prepared.
    Of the three KLR's I've bought here one came with a corbin another with a sheepskin and one I bought a Sargent. The Sargent turned out not that much better than stock and I used the beadrider on it.
    And after all is said and done the KLR is a better travel bike than a Bmw ime. The lighter weight of the KLR is better suited for my kind of travel. The Bmw is too unwieldy in tight places. The KLR can easily be rolled into hotel rooms hotel lobby, restaurants after they close, all things you do frequently in South America.
    #10
  11. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Nice you have the means to be so fussy! :lol3
    My comments about Aussies rarely getting off home are outdated I guess.
    During my 7 years working, traveling and living in Mexico, Cent. America and S. America, I met DOZENS of Aussies, got to know several quite well. This was in the 70's and most of those travelers were students or young guys and gals out on a lark ... all generally underfunded.

    The common refrain was ... "once ya get off away, stay away as long as you can". Many ended up in the UK to work to make extra money to continue travel. Some I knew got into Coke smuggling (to the USA). Most were on the road for 3 years minimum. But that was then ...

    Since you are more established and can afford to travel any way you like ... and have the luxury to always have your GS by your side, you enjoy a distinct advantage over most. But there are other ways that we plebeians must resort to, to get there and back. :D

    Shipping into the USA should be relatively hassle free compared to trying to do this into some other countries where you don't have the language or grok the culture. A good agent is recommended. But I'm sure you will discover the joys of vehicle importation via your research or later in travels.

    My choice was to have various bikes stored round the world ... or rent locally as I did on several trips to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
    As Ogri (Cartoon biker formerly of BIKE UK) used to say: Any Bike Is Good. I agree with him!
    Cheers! :freaky
    #11
  12. Mark Aus

    Mark Aus n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    4
    Location:
    Adelaide Australia
    Thanks for the input and definitely appreciated. I am lucky that my job does give me quite a bit of flexibility. A lot of larger companies in Australia allow you to take career breaks of up to a year and your job is safe when you return and we can also buy additional leave.

    Luckily taking the bike to the US and Europe is easier than bringing one in. Our Government places some pretty hefty levies on those importing bikes and a carnet is needed to land a bike here and ride it while you travel.

    Mark
    #12
  13. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Yea, getting your bike into the USA as a tourist is easy. We have no temporary importation system at all for foreign bikes/cars ... does not exist. You are a tourist ... and immigration will care more about YOU than your bike. No Carnets or other 3rd world nonsense.

    But your bike can never be permanently imported to the USA, but it won't be tracked and you need do NOTHING when you leave the country regards the machine.

    Running foreign plates is fine here, it helps to have your Aus Passport to show if you get pulled. A US citizen could be written up if riding a foreign plated bike and forced to register it ... which is NOT possible without going through major hoops and $$$.

    You will find when you cross back and forth into Canada that no checking or paperwork will be done for your bike. They only care about YOU ... not the bike. They WILL run the plate to see if you're wanted ... but nothing more than that. I doubt they will even ask for any sort of proof of ownership. The computer search will tell them everything ... in miliseconds.
    #13
  14. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,488
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    Actually Tradelanes site seems to be back online!
    http://www.tradelanes.com.au/
    #14