I've helped a lot of people with phone calls and emails about traveling to Thailand for IPSC Shotgun World Shoot and want to give you all a little checklist.
You should have your permit info submitted and maybe your permit available in the Fast Track system. Check for it and look for the blue page download link to download your permit. It will look like the image below when you log into Fast Track.
Once you have your permit, translate it via Google Chrome (or google translate). You want to make sure your name matches your passport, and that your serial number(s) and passport number are correct. If you have multiple firearms, you will see multiple pages of permit. If not, message Sweety to get this corrected ASAP.
How to translate your permit, in Google Chrome....
Download the permit via IPSC competitor portal. & open in Google Chrome.
Right click in pdf and select: "search images with Google".
Select the area you want to translate.
In pop-up window on right, click "translate" button.
PASSPORT #: zoom in to about 250% on the pdf of permit before you select your passport # at bottom left of document. If you don't zoom, it translates as gibberish.
Make sure that you are printing documents and info as you get it to save time in Nov. Print your flight receipt and itinerary so you can reference it.
* MAKE SURE YOU CALL EVERY AIRLINE YOU WILL USE TO MAKE SURE THEY KNOW YOU ARE TRAVELLING WIHT FIREARMS. You will need permission from each airline (eg. Delta connecting to Korean Air means you need to call two airlines.
Get to your local US Customs and Border Patrol office to get your 4457/Customs form filled out well before your trip. CALL AHEAD and make sure they are open and tell them you are coming. Take your firearm and an ID. Make sure there isn't an expiration date on the form and if there is, that it doesn't expire while you are on your trip.
Make GOOD color photocopies of this form for your travel documents.
Rental Car, Rooms/ Hotel
You should be arranging these items too. We used driver last trip, but plan to drive this time.
Start Compiling a Travel Book and Documents
We need a certain number of copies of the match invite, permit, 4457, and our passport. Start making a stack of these where you can find them and get some clear sleeves to put them in. I separate the stacks by:
Stack of originals I personally carry in carry on.
Stack for each airline (departure and return and any connecting flight.) - that's 4 usually.
Stack for customs in Thailand.
Stack for travel partner to carry.
Stack for each checked bag. If you transit a country, having these documents in with the firearm can help them understand that you have permission. If you had to get a permit to transit a county, eg., Netherlands, include that in the sleeve of documents.
Add a post it note or something bright to catch people inspecting checked bags. (see photo below).
Stack of all this info and everything about where I am staying at home with my family too, so they can access all my travel info. A folder on your computer is helpful, in case they need to send you anything. And a GoogleDrive folder for yourself is another option.
It is much easier and less likely that you lose originals, if you have a stack of documents at each connecting flight. For eg., connecting in Taiwan, we just handed them a stack of everything at connection gate and that was it. I never hand them originals - just one of the nice color photocopies.
Print receipt for match ammo, if you ordered it. And have that with you for match check in.
In a notebook, write your:
firearm serial numbers.
Fast Track Pin once you've created it for match check in
flight # s and any info needed for that (customer service)
passport # and expiration date
the round count for ammo you shipped / purchasing
Get Travel Insurance
It's not super costly, but can really help if flights are delayed. I wrote about it in earlier posts. You'll need a tally of your trip costs. Just know that you don't HAVE to include every cost. I insured my flights, rental car, and room costs. But my match fees and ammo costs were not insured. This brought the cost of the insurance down.
Review IPSC Shotgun Rules
Give a look at the rules, the divisions and ensuring your gear and belt set-up meet the requirements. Without any IPSC shotgun events in the USA to give you a gear check experience, you want to make sure your belt is legal.
Research your Flight Route
Go online and look for travel blogs for your route / flights/ connecting airports. For Taiwan, we were able to find video showing us where to walk and how to change terminals. But didn't need it because they had people directing you as you deplaned. But if your flight is late, best to know where you are going. You can also research the airport for when you land and where rental car counters are. If you hired a driver, they should have a sign and once you exit customs, walk straight out of the customs / secure area and to the right. But ask your driver WHERE they will be ahead of time.
Buy any Travel Gear
Get a travel wallet or fanny pack for your flight and walking around Thailand. If you wear fanny pack on flight, they will count it as a bag while boarding. So either flip it behind your body or put a jacket on so it's not visible. I prefer this method to having things in pockets or off-body bag. It's too easy to forget you have your passport in a pocket and slip your phone in and then lose your passport taking phone out. If not, dedicate a single pocket to your passport - one that closes or zips. A jacket for your flight with a zipper inner chest pocket that fits passport is another good option.