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Old 28 Jun 2012
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Derby, UK
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Booking air freight UK to US/CA - how far in advance?

Exciting times - spoke to my boss the other day about taking 12 weeks off next summer and his response wasn't "haha you must be joking", but instead "so where are you going?".

The answer is, hopefully, the USA.

Will be shipping my own bike (2009 XT660Z). Not interested in the debate over whether it's cheaper to buy or rent over there, taking my bike is important enough to me that I'm prepared to pay the air-freight, so we can keep the lid firmly on that can of worms

Rough itinerary is to fly to the Eastern seaboard (or eastern Canada), Trans-Am Trail East to West, then back across to where I started via whatever route seems interesting and putting the bike back on a plane.

So some good news for me, bad news for you lot as it means I'm going to be asking lots of dumb questions

First one, which I haven't seen answered anywhere is: How far in advance are people booking air freight? Minimum, maximum, and 'optimum' (cheapest!).

What I'm trying to figure out is when I need to commit to specific dates - I'm going to need to put in a slightly more formal request for the time off at some point soon. All I've said so far is "12 weeks, some time between May and September". If I know when I'll have to commit to specific dates, I can score some brownie points for being "flexible to suit business needs" . Besides, I haven't really made my mind up which end of that window suits my purposes yet, but we'll pretend it's all for the benefit of my employer

Other questions:

- Anything else other than flights that might need to be sorted out months in advance?

- The general opinion seems to be that flying into Canada is cheaper/easier. Can anyone who's done it in the last couple of years give me a feel for what sort of % saving it might be? Perfectly open to the idea, but given my first destination is Tennessee, it would need to be weighed up against fuel and tyre cost of the extra distance. Obviously the answer is eventually going to be "phone up some freight companies", but just looking to get a rough idea to start with.

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Old 29 Jun 2012
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: LONDON
Posts: 28

I would recommend getting some prices in Feb next year if you are thinking about going May , that way you will have a good chance of the cost not changing to much.

Airfreight is easier than seafreight in terms of speed , the bike will have be at the loading depot approx 72 hours before the departure date and then maybe a day or 2 for customs clearance in the USA or Canada.

I would personally choose USA over Canada but it depends on what you are planning of course.

We can ship from Heathrow by airfrieght , it is cheaper to ship sea freight and the transit time can be just 10 days from Southampton to Baltimore if we plan enough. We also have a shared container service to ship from the USA to the UK if needed aswell for the return journey.

We can also arrange marine insurance if required.

Take a look at our blog to see what we do :


My email is jamie@hillshipping.com if you need any further info.

We are also a HUBB sponsor.

TEL # 01795 876000
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Old 29 Jun 2012
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Back home in the UK
Posts: 874
You could also consider shipping in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that is what I have just done, £595 each way plus $C165 at this end. Drop the uncrated bike at Southampton and pick it up in Halifax, I have shipped crated/flown my bike several times but this was easiest.
I used Welcome to the H-C Travel Home Page - The World's Best Motorcycle Holidays and booked about a month in advance, ship goes every 8 days.
They can also do travel and bike insurance but do shop around nearer the time.
If gaffer tape doesn't fix it then you haven't used enough tape
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