For travelers with pets, considerations must be made when making travel plans. For many, pets are a part of the family, and traveling decisions are made around the pet’s needs. Can the pet be taken on the trip? Will they have to board the pet? How long can they make a trip? How will the pet travel? These and many more concerns need to be well thought out. Here are a few thoughts for travelers with pets.
Traveling with a pet.
Traveling with a pet locally is not as cost prohibitive as traveling with a pet internationally. Most small pets can travel with the owner in an approved pet carrier when traveling domestically for a small fee. For larger breeds, travel must be in the cargo area and will require a specially designated approved pet crate. Some pets can also fly at no charge if they are fully trained service animals. When traveling internationally, your pet needs to have a health certificate to prove that they are in good health and free from parasites or any contagious diseases. In addition, based on the country’s destination, other paperwork, including a picture of your pet, microchip information, as well as health and vaccination records, are required.
Pet owners should ensure their pets have a sturdy leash and collar with current identification. In addition to having a recent picture of your pet and copies of your pet’s health and vaccination records. It is prudent to have your pet microchipped and access to that information with you when you travel. It is not uncommon for pets to become alarmed and run off when in unfamiliar surroundings.
The average cost of boarding a pet in the US averages $30 to $50 per night. Rates can vary based on the size of your pet, the length of stay, or boarding accommodations. Depending on your dog’s age, other special considerations and needs will have to be addressed, and if you want your pet to socialize daily, this may also add to the boarding costs. In addition, the pet must be current on vaccinations as they will be exposed to other dogs.
Not all hotels have pet accommodations, so travelers must ensure that their hotel will allow them to have their pets on the premises. Like when traveling with babies or toddlers, pet owners should ensure the hotel is free from any hazards that could harm the pet. In addition, consideration must be made on whether the pet can stay in the room without supervision or if it needs to be always with the owner to prevent costly damages to the room.
Travelers need to take many other travel considerations, including your pets’ food and water, potty breaks, exercise, and even travel sickness. In addition, any delay or cancellation of your travel plans will also affect any accommodations you have made or will have to make for your pet. If you plan to travel with your pet, I hope you think it through as much as you do for yourself and your family. For me, pets are like family too.
COVID has created many changes in traveling, and I’m happy that many countries have started to open their borders to travelers. As I’ve mentioned before, now more than ever, traveling takes planning. As of November 1, 2021, Thailand has reopened to travelers with a no-quarantine option. Here are a few tips if you plan to travel to Thailand.
No quarantine entry does not genuinely mean quarantine-free. Thailand is happy to accept fully vaccinated travelers under three programs. Test and go, Sandbox, and Alternative quarantine. In any program, travelers must complete at least a one-day quarantine. With the Test and Go program, travelers must stay at least one night in an approved hotel and wait for their pre-paid COVID test results to return as negative. Only a negative result will allow the traveler to move around inside Thailand. With the Sandbox program, travelers must stay in a sandbox destination within Thailand for seven days before moving through other parts of Thailand after a negative COVID test result. With the Alternative program, travelers must stay for 7 to 10 days in an approved hotel and test negative before being free to leave the hotel.
The Thailand pass is required for all travelers to Thailand, both citizens, and foreigners. It ensures that travelers meet all the entry requirements before arrival in Thailand. It is free to apply for the Thailand Pass, but the system is rather cumbersome and rigorous. Some service providers can complete the process for travelers for a fee, and I highly recommend it for those who do not want the stress. The response time is from 3 to 7 days to get a response, so I highly recommend preparing well in advance.
Thailand Pass requirements.
The requirements for the Thailand pass include
Proof of a WHO-approved vaccination
Proof of at least $50,000 U.S. of COVID insurance
Payment confirmation of one night’s stay at an approved hotel
Copy of flight booking
Copy of visa, if required
To be able to travel to Thailand, travelers will also need,
A negative PCR test to be taken at least 72 hours before departure
Payment confirmation of the PCR test you will take after arriving in Thailand
Thailand’s MorChana App to record the results of your rapid test
Cannot have visited any of the countries not on the approved list within the past 21 days.
In short, travel to Thailand is not as easy as it once was. The new Thailand Pass online registration system is not very easy to navigate. I found that some credentials had to be formatted correctly for the system to accept them. For example, some documents could be PDF, but others needed to be in Jpeg format. Even though I am an experienced traveler, it took me three tries before I could complete the process, in addition to two phone calls with over an hour of holding time.
Post-COVID travel has proven to be a bit daunting. Has it stopped you from traveling? I’d like to know.
I finally got released from my seven-day SHN. Because I was so prepared to stay in a hotel, but not knowing which hotel, 2 star or five stars. I had a lot of anxiety about my arrival in Singapore. It was a pleasant surprise to spend my SHN at home. However, not leaving the apartment was limiting, and I’m happy to say I am now officially released from my SHN.
Swab testing appointment
The first step in the process of being released from SHN is a swab test. I was given an appointment and told to show up. As I don’t have personal transportation in Singapore, I had to arrange with a designated taxi company for travel to the testing site.
The location of my testing was an old school building. When I first went there, more workers were present than people needing to be swab tested, which soon changed as the lines queue.
The process was the same for everyone. We were all given a sticker designating us as SHN. We then had to verify our name with identification. Answer health questions. Get our temperature taken, then once again queue for the swab test. The process seemed to move relatively smoothly. Once inside, there was another checking of ID, medical questions, and then I was escorted to the swab testing station, where I again had to verify my particulars. Once my swab test was completed, I was free to return home.
My final release from the SHN came the following day. I had to wait for a text notification of my negative test results. Once I received that text, I could then cut my tracking bracelet off and throw it away. Officials picked up the gateway portion that came with the bracelet.
Now I am free to leave my house, but not go everywhere I would like to. I must install an app that allows the government to track my every movement in Singapore. In addition, although I have my vaccination cards from the US. I will need to take a serology blood test to get a vaccination designation on my tracer app. Unvaccinated people have limited accessibility. I’ll tell you a bit more about that in my next blog post.
I highly encourage traveling, but I also strongly suggest that travelers do some research before traveling to any destination. Even though I lived in Singapore for several years and was familiar with many of the rules and regulations, Covid had created many changes. Even on a dependent pass (my husband lives and works in Singapore), getting into Singapore was not an easy process.
Traveling to Singapore
Singapore provides a checklist for inbound travelers. While this is a great tool, entry requirements and health controls are different for each passenger based on each passenger’s travel history and profile. Singapore provides an online tool that helps to determine a travelers entry requirement.
Although not being fully vaccinated does not prohibit entry into Singapore, I highly suggest it. In addition, vaccinations must be more than two weeks old to be considered fully immunized in Singapore. Singapore follows the WHO EUL vaccine protocol, so be sure to verify your vaccine meets the requirements.
While many countries require a negative Covid test at least 72 hours before departure, Singapore requires the test to be at least 48 hours. Since the Covid outbreak, travelers must present proof of a negative Covid test at airport check-in for all international travel. It never fails that a fellow traveler will try to use documentation from a phone, and I have noticed where some places say a QR code is acceptable. This was not the case for my flight, and I highly suggest printing out a paper copy of your results before heading to the airport.
Even though a negative Covid test is a requirement for Singapore, all travelers are still required to take another test upon arrival at the travelers’ expense. The test can be paid before arrival to shorten the process, and the traveler gets the results within hours.
Upon arrival, travelers are directed to specific travel lanes based on their application for entry. I made preparations to spend 14 days in a designated hotel. However, my entry coincided with a recent change for US travelers, and I was allowed to quarantine at home. Airport personnel gave me a tracking bracelet and gateway, which I had to install and wear upon arrival home. My stay home notice (SHN) is for seven days. I have received a video call to verify that my bracelet is worn and that the gateway is activated. An appointment for yet another Covid test at the end of my SHN has already been arranged.
After being away from my husband and dog for over a year, the effort it took to get to Singapore was genuinely worth it. I have yet to find out if the required prepayment for a quarantined hotel will be refunded. If Singapore is in your travel plans, research and preparation are an absolute must for a smooth travel experience.
I’ll update you on Wednesday’s blog about my release from SHN and the next steps I must complete to resume life here in Singapore. If there’s anything you’d like to know more about, comment below.