Relocating to Hong Kong was quite an event. Short distance does not equate an easy process. The actual paperwork was no problem. A little bit more paperwork just means a little more legwork.
What made this move more difficult? I was still working. My husband had already relocated. My dog had to travel cargo. All three points meant more time but time was not as free. In the chaos I even forgot my dog’s annual boosters but as a result of the delay, my husband returned to celebrate Christmas and then we flew out together. It turned out to be a blessing.
The biggest differences about flying my dog as cargo (and not using a relocation agent)?
1) Checking in early. We had to check in at the cargo office much earlier. This made a four hour flight into one very long day.
2) It’s a lot more costly. It cost us under $300USD to fly her as excess baggage from NY to Singapore. Flying her cargo from Singapore to Hong Kong cost more than $2K SGD.
3) Once she was inspected by the AVA at the airport cargo area (not easy to find), her crate was secured by tamper-proof tape which could not be removed. This meant moving a 86 pound dog in an oversized crate (none in her size was available!) in and out of a van taxi, more than once. So I was lucky that my husband was flying out with us that day. I certainly could not have done it without him.
Our taxi uncle didn’t know where to go and drove around in circles for quite a while, looking for the AVA office. If the crate had been the right size, it might not have been as frustrating and awkward to maneouver it in and out of the taxi van, the AVA office, and finally the cargo bay. The crate was even too big to fit through normal doors and had to be taken around the back. Of course a relocation agent would have taken care of all that. It is funny now. Not so much then.
Once we landed in Hong Kong, the Discovery Bay taxi van my husband had arranged picked us up and we headed out to the cargo area to look for our dog. The Customs Officer was away. We had to wait until he came back but he made the inspection very quick.
Where was our dog? In her crate, all alone in this huge echoey warehouse. Our silent ruminations and worries were shattered by the sight of an approaching forklift. We couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculous overplay of her arrival. A crate that was being carried around by two men just hours earlier was now on a forklift, not even a trolley. We were more than thrilled to see her, to say the least, having wondered where she was and how she was all this time.
The upside? No quarantine. Just straight home.