I finally got around to starting my packing today, something I’ve been avoiding since I have a house full of stuff. It’s a little daunting. And I was a little lost as to where to start. After all, I still have a month to go before my flight. In the end I decided to start in my room packing up the shelves of books, design materials, and starting in on all the clothes not accompanying me to Korea. Luckily my mom was here to help me out and we were able to weed out a good chunk of clothes and books for donation. I’m having a bit of trouble narrowing down enough clothes to bring for my move to Korea while still satisfying my needs. Since I will be over there for nearly a year I will need clothes for summer and winter as well as some professional clothes for job interviews and hopefully meeting with design clients. Space isn’t really a problem but I do have to make sure my single check-in suitcase stays under 50 pounds. In preparation for the trip I got several space bags to help condense and protect my clothing both in storage and for travel. The ones I found for the trip comfortably fit right inside the suitcase and will help immensely with the packing. However I’ve already nearly filled 2 bags (totaling about 21 pounds) and still have a few more items being washed to add to it. I suppose if need be I can ship the little excess items over rather than pay the $110 oversize/extra baggage fee.
Einstein had most of the day to himself today while I was busy packing. In the end I didn’t forget about him. He wasn’t happy with my bad preparation since I had to hold him in one arm over the kennel while I struggled with the door latches and getting the food dishes set up. Since Einstein has been regularly eating from the dishes and his length of stay is increasing I decided to try putting the food dishes inside the kennel again. I was glad to see that he didn’t try to rip them apart this time, opting to take a quick nibble instead. Since my mom, and later grandma, were around he felt he had more chances to try to wine and convince someone to take pity and let him out. It sounded pretty pathetic, but he was also settled down calmly on the towel and not really trying to get out.
One thing I did notice was that he doesn’t seem to have quite enough room in the kennel when he balls up the full size bath towel. I don’t think he needs a bigger kennel itself, but rather some better solution for bedding (even though towels are his favorite.) Since he prefers to sit or stand on the towel itself he has to stoop a bit in order to fit. My aunt currently has the soft case I got, which comes with a soft fleece mat to set in the bottom it. I might see if that fits in the hard plastic kennel I got for this trip. If not, maybe a smaller towel will work better, though it won’t provide as much padding. I will probably also need to get a puppy pad to line the bottom in case of an accident.
Overall I am very happy with the kennel I have. I spent a good amount of time researching and looking at different kennels online before choosing this one. Since Einstein will be traveling internationally I had to get a kennel that met IATA air travel requirements, which this one does. Made of hard plastic with soft coated metal cage doors I know he will be safe and secure inside. The top and front door loading has been immensely helpful when he is anxious and fighting upon entry. My one criticism on this aspect is that the front door is a little tight to open easily. The problem is in the latch mechanism. When you pinch the two pieces together the latch still scrapes along the top a bit, and when you close it you have to make sure the door gets pushed back fully and the latch matches up and locks the way it is supposed to. I’ve had the top one in place, but the bottom one skewed and outside the front lip of the case a few times now. The kennel has plenty of ventilation on all sides to keep him from sitting in the stifling heat the whole trip, and as a bonus it looks pretty stylish with this wave pattern. The top piece and bottom piece lock into place with 10 stainless steel screws with hand twist plastic bottoms so you won’t catch the sharper metal ends on anything and cause damage. As another bonus the case came with 5 additional screws (though they are standard size and could be easily replaced), 10 plastic bottoms, and a small feeding dish (and I mean small. It’s one solid piece, only like 1/2 inch deep and each compartment is about 2 inch x 2 inch.)
Though I’m happy with the kennel I still made some changes and preparations for the trip. I also wanted to keep my budget down as much as possible.
- I bought 2 small no-spill travel dishes from Dry Fur for $8.99 that hook onto the inside of the cage door. This meets the international requirements for pet travel, allowing airline personnel to monitor the food and water levels and refill from the outside if needed. The dish tray that came with the kennel was so small it wouldn’t offer enough water for the all day trip and would have probably just spilled all over the bottom of the cage.
- I also bought a thick waterproof 4 ML Poly Zip Document Bag from Dry Fur for $1.99. This pouch will be perfect to hold all the documents needed for Einstein’s travel, as well as a pet ID form with photo which will help airline staff identify your pet. In addition to training Einstein I have also been doing A LOT of research on international pet travel tips and requirements. I touched a little bit on this already in my first post, but I’ll go over it a little more here since I had to accumulate the information from several sources. There wasn’t a simple go to place to meet my needs. I realize this blog won’t help people as much traveling to other destinations other than South Korea. Even so, I think it will be of some use. This is something you will want to check very carefully to make sure you have everything required for Exportation from your current country, your specific airline requirements, and the Importation requirements for your destination country. In regards to Importation from the USA to South Korea you will need:
- The original Rabies Certificate signed in blue ink administered at least 30 days before travel and must not expire until past your departure date. This is because South Korea is a rabies free country and they are strict about keeping it that way. (Though this is the only certificate required I will also be sending copies of the certificates for his other vaccinations.)
- The original International Health 7001 Certificate and EU Certificate signed in blue inkfrom an accredited veterinarian and endorsed by the USDA within 10 days of departure. Make sure the health certificate includes:
- animal identification
- details of the pre-shipment health examination
Aside from paying for the vet visits and any treatment you will also have to pay postage to/from your local USDA office and pay the USDA endorsement fee per certificate (this takes 1-2 business days to process.) You must call the office in advance to find out the current fee for your needs and send a check/money order in with the health certificate and a self-addressed and stamped return envelope. *If you pay by check you must include your SSN.
- Pet ID form including:
- Photo (optional)
- Departure Place/Date/Time
- Arrival Place/Date/Time
- Additional requirements will go into effect December 1, 2012 including a Microchip and Rabies Neutralizing Antibody Test
- I took apart an unused key chain with a lobster claw hook and replaced the red twist tie that came with the document bag. This is just my being cautious and not trusting the twist tie to withstand the travel. I would flip out if all the documents I just spent so much time and money obtaining were lost. Especially since they require original documents upon arrival and not just copies. This also allows me to quickly and easily move the document packet around if needed.
- Pet air travel, including domestic, requires “Live Animal” labels clearly displayed on the carrying case. You can buy pre made stickers from various sites for fairly cheap. However I used neon orange duct tape to create my own. I chose to do this rather than buying more labels because of the distinct high contrast color to the case and because I already had the duct tape. In doing it myself I was also able to create a label with my pet’s Name and his pet ID# that will also be easily seen and read, creating a personal connection to my pet with the airline personal. *The font must be at least 1 inch tall when printed.
I hope this has been helpful to anyone that has stumbled across this blog post. There is a multitude of websites online offering information if you are willing to do a bit of work. Below are just a few I found the most helpful:
- USDA – Preparation of Animals Traveling Internationally
- USDA – Regulations and Assessments
- Quarantine & Inspection – Bring a Dog or Cat to Korea
- Korean Rules for International Pet Travel
- ASPCA – Pet Travel Tips
- Pet Transport/Pet Shipping
- Airline Pet Policies