A large tripod/head may be an issue.
While expensive, I prefer to ship my tripod/head (a Gitzo 5530S and RRS BH-55) via UPS to my location ahead of time, usually by 2 days (so there is a backup day in case it gets misrouted). I also call the hotel I'm staying at to make sure they're cool with the idea, and of course, I insure the cr*p out of the shipment as well. I've done this at least a half dozen times now and it's just easier than dealing with the TSA (think what would happen if one airport allowed your tripod but another wouldn't and how rapidly your day might go downhill at that point) or with checked luggage and the issues there. When I travel, I try to minimize the things that can go wrong in terms of getting my gear there, so shipping the tripod (and whatever spare clothing I might need as well) while carrying the rest onboard works best for me. Makes for less stressful flying in my book.