Here's the short answer:
A golf club travel bag will protect your investment. It will also ensure you're able to play both during and after your travels.
And here's the long version:
Many avid golfers bring their clubs when they go on vacations - even for quick weekend getaways. These are prime opportunities for golfers to play some different courses. It's also fairly common for people on business trips to bring their clubs with them. Hope springs eternal, and they want to be prepared in case they can sneak away for a game or two. A golf club travel bag is ideal for these travelers. They love the game so much they're unwilling to be away from it.
Unfortunately, your clubs are more likely to be damaged while you're transporting them than at any other time (unless you're a club-basher when you get frustrated). And that's true whether you put your clubs in the back of your trunk and drive to your destination, you ship them as freight by airplane or train, or you bring them with you as part of your baggage on a commercial air flight.
Unless you own a golf cart (some of us do), your clubs are your most expensive, valuable pieces of golf equipment. You can't play golf at all without them, and you won't play well if they've been damaged, so it's important to protect them. Travel equals potential damage, so looking into a travel bag is advisable.
There are two main types of bags to consider: hard and soft. As is so often the case with something you're thinking about purchasing, each type of travel bag has its advantages and drawbacks.
The Pros and Cons of a Hard Travel Golf Club Travel Bag
Without question, a hard travel bag will protect your clubs better than a soft one. Hard travel bags are like rigid "suitcases" that have been designed specifically to hold and protect golf clubs. Remember the hard-sided luggage everyone used years ago? It was virtually indestructible, no matter what the baggage handlers tried to do to it. About the only damage you'd ever see was a few scuffs here and there. Well, a hard travel bag is very similar. Damaging one would be difficult - much less the clubs inside that it's protecting. Most golf pros transport their clubs from tournament to tournament inside a hard travel bag. They trust these bags to protect their source of income, and that's the strongest endorsement I can think of.
Unfortunately, a hard bag will typically have two drawbacks: its expense and its weight. These things aren't cheap and can easily cost several hundred dollars. Are they worth this kind of expense? I guess it depends on how much you love your clubs and how expensive it would be to replace them if they were damaged.
Weight can also be an issue with a hard bag. Remember how heavy your mother's big old Samsonite® suitcase used to be? Well, a hard travel bag will be just as heavy. And once you load it full of clubs you're getting into hernia territory. Fortunately, you can buy a hard golf club travel bag with wheels (what a wonderful innovation!) and just roll the bag through the airport. Although ... you still have to get it in and out of your trunk if you drive to the airport or you're driving to your destination instead of flying.
So, there's an alternative ...
The Pros and Cons of a Soft Golf Club Travel Bag
If you don't want to spend a few hundred bucks or risk giving yourself a hernia, consider getting a soft golf club travel bag instead. Prices start at $75 to $100, so they're considerably less expensive. And, assuming you pack your clubs properly, soft travel bags can protect your clubs almost as well as the hard ones. The trick is to keep your clubs in your regular golf bag, attach the rain cover over the top after wrapping the heads of your clubs in some towels, and then place the whole thing inside the soft golf club travel bag. Stuffing the pockets of the bag with some clothing can provide some additional padding and protection. It's not a perfect solution, but using a soft golf club travel bag is a lot better than no protection at all.