Any trip by airline or out of the country for a hunt takes some preplanning. The days of taking a firearm with you and not drawing attention disappeared with the 9-11 tragedy. If you're looking to make a big trip as painless as a vaccination (there's always a bit of pain involved), then browse through these tips. It could help you avoid a tricky situation either at home or abroad.
If you're going overseas, visit the Department of State U.S. website and look up your destination. You can see if there are any worrisome travel advisories, helpful travel information and most importantly, suggested vaccinations. Heed the vaccination warnings. It could save you future hospital visits during or after your trip.
Now visit the Transportation Security Administration and look for form 4457. This form has to be signed at a TSA or customs office, but it documents personal property taken abroad. It's a good idea to list your firearms, hunting gear, cameras, laptops and any other expensive, personal equipment you'll be toting out of the country.
Check your passport well in advance of travel. If you don't have one, get one immediately. It can take weeks to renew or receive passports, so don't leave it until the last minute That information is also available at the U.S. Department of State website. And after you have your passport, keep it close to you at all times. If you lose it you might be in for a delayed trip back home.
Study and understand all regulations regarding transportation of firearms and ammunition. Firearms and ammunition can't be packaged together, and you must declare both at the airport. Use approved TSA locks on all your bags to avoid having your locks cut and not replaced prior to the trip.
Prepare for foreign expenses. Can you use American dollars or do you need to exchange currency? You should also notify your credit card company that you'll be traveling abroad. Some companies automatically put a lock on your card if odd charges at unusual locations begin to appear on your account.
Finally, study up on your destination. Know the rules of the road, cultural etiquette, hunting laws, licensing laws and just general geographic information. Check ahead on regulations for getting trophies and meat back home, and have a plan.
Traveling for a hunt is never easy, but by being prepared you can make it a bit less painful. Keep watching for posts on my latest international adventure.