In just two weeks, we'll fly to Philadelphia on the first leg of our journey to Venice and beyond.
We've done the microchip thing. Xingxing didn't bat an eye. An organization called Home Again is marketing an "international" microchip that has 15 digits and can be read overseas. So that's the one we got. I'm assured it will be fine. Fingers firmly crossed!
If you're planning an overseas trip, you must
make sure your dog has a 15-digit microchip, because the older, 9-digit and 10-digit microchips can't be read abroad. You can either "double-chip" your dog (which is recommended) or you can buy a microchip reader (much more expensive) and take it along with you when you travel.
Xingxing also got another rabies shot, AFTER the microchip was implanted. This is apparently important, and a requirement of all EU countries. However, it's also a bit puzzling. How do the authorities know when your dog got his microchip? The microchip readers read the number, but not -- as far as I know -- the date that the microchip was implanted. I've posed this question to several people, and none of them seem to know the answer.
So to be on the safe side, I'm going to get a letter (or something) from our veterinarian stating that the microchip was implanted on such and such a date, and the rabies shot was administered on such and such a date.
The other thing we've got is a Global Entry Card. I am now what is called a Trusted Traveler. This means I can use an automated kiosk instead of having to stand in a line for Customs when we return to the United States. I think it's worth the time and effort, because standing in line with Xingxing can be challenging, especially in an airport situation where people are cranky and tired and don't expect a little dog to be underfoot. Being a Trusted Traveler also means you don't have to take off your shoes and unpack your computer when you go through airport security.
Anybody can apply for the Global Entry Card. If it sounds like something you think you'd like to have, you'll find more information on the website at www.goes.gov There's a small fee, they ask you a lot of questions about your past, and you have to go for an interview. But it's not all that difficult, and probably well worth it.