This guide is designed to walk you through steps you need to take to protect yourself, your golf clubs, and for golfers who love a companion, your dog. You might want to go on the course with your pet just like Daniel Berger, Lexi Thompson, Jason Dufner, and Tiger Woods.
Travel doesn’t have to be stressful, this guide will help you have a stress-free adventure to Asia.
Before you travel, make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after you plan on returning to your origin because many countries won’t let you in if there’s less time left. This ensures you are able to return to your home country in the event of an accident.
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Leave a record of your itinerary with friends and family. Individuals who don’t know when you are planning on returning may not even realize there is a problem too late. Travelers that leave a detailed itinerary with somebody they know well can get assistance faster.
Leave an itinerary copy with relatives or friends
Check current passport status
Locate the nearest embassy
Make a copy of passport
For individuals traveling from developed countries, certain shots are going to be required. Check with your national disease control center or use the US CDC Travel recommendations. More importantly, talk to your doctor before you travel to any foreign country and use the CDC as a vaccination reference to check with your doctor.
Depending on the length of your flight, your doctor may recommend you break up flights or wear certain clothes like compression socks. Compression socks help travelers avoid blood clots on long haul flights from sitting in a pressurized vessel.
Use this medical checklist to help get yourself prepared:
Fit to Fly Check
Food Allergies Check
Travelers with food allergies may need to review different restaurants and food types prior to heading off to a country that may not support your native language. In addition to checking on food allergies, makes sure you have any allergic reaction medicine. Make sure these medications are legal in your destination country.
Traveling with Golf Clubs
Most airlines will allow you to check a bag on your flight for free. Although airlines let you check a bag under the plane, there are a few steps you will want to take prior to putting your clubs on a long haul flight.
Considering long-haul international flights are mostly full and people have large luggage, the cargo hold is likely to be full. The full cargo hold is dangerous for your clubs. To make sure your clubs are safe, at a minimum, you will need to purchase a case for them. Soft cases will help keep your clubs and other items from spilling out all over the cargo hold but a hard case assures they won’t be damaged. Although they’re more expensive than soft cases, it is much less stressful than having to replace damaged clubs after a long international flight.
Photo from CJ Anderson
Another thing to consider is your connecting flights either in-country or shorter flights. Some areas in Asia do not have robust airline infrastructure and may not be able to fit into some of your clubs with a large heavy rigid case. In case you are planning on having a short transfer flight, consider renting a car and driving.
Travelers planning on driving while in another country need to review license requirements and get an international license if they plan to drive. The application is fairly straightforward and any travel agency can help get you set up, this link will help you get it started.
Make Sure Your Dog is Safe
If your dog is just another family member you may consider bringing it on your trip. If you plan to do this there are some very important items you will need to address prior to flying.
First, always check with your vet before going on any flight. As with your personal doctor visit your vet will need to clear your dog for travel. Unfortunately, on many long-haul flights, many will be crated in a special part of the plane.
Second, make sure your dog’s records are up to date. Many countries around the world including Asian countries are sensitive to the spread and introduction of rabies from foreign dogs. Assure your dog's records are up to par to avoid quarantine. Without documentation, some countries like Japan can require 180 days of quarantine. Dogs and cats entering Hong Kong from Group 3 countries are subject to a minimum four months of quarantine on entry.
Many other countries will have a quarantine period regardless of the validity of health documents. Prior to leaving, check the local country’s state department or travel and tourism department for quarantine requirements, they can range anywhere from 12 hours to three days.
A titer test checks for antibodies in your dog's bloodstream, in particular, rabies. This will help indicate if your dog needs a rabies booster. This may or may not be required but it is important to discuss with your vet.
Third, check if your destination is safe for dogs. Some parasites in Thailand can get into dog systems through their feet or food and having devastating effects. If it is unsafe at the destination for your dog and you would like a canine companion, consider adopting a dog once you arrive.
Photo from Guy Beauchamp
Most importantly, consider your dog’s safety and state before exposing them to the rigors of long travel hours. You know your dog better than anybody, even the vet. If your dog is naturally anxious or has separation anxiety, it may be best to board them instead.
Asia is a beautiful place to travel and golf. Most countries are very safe and your visit will be about making memories and positive experiences. Using this guide and taking necessary actions to assure documents are up to date, your golf clubs are safe and your canine friend is capable of making the journey. Most importantly, enjoy your golfing excursion in whichever Far East country you decide to visit!