International Safari Planning Timeline

One Year or More before you go

  • Book your International hunting safari and pay the required deposit.  Book earlier if you wish to go during the best or more popular times.  For exotic species requiring limited or difficult-to-get permits, book even earlier!

One Year before you go

  • Book your airfare.  Most flights go on sale 330 days in advance.  Book early, as flights fill up during the most popular hunting months.
  • Book any pre-hunt or post-hunt accommodation reservations.  Book any tours, vehicle rentals, or necessary accommodations if you are sightseeing before or after your hunt.
  • Start getting in shape.  At a minimum, walk 3 miles at least three times a week.

Six Months before you go

  • Ensure that your passport does not expire for at least 6 months after your departure date from the hunt.  Make sure that you will have a minimum of 2 blank pages available for each country that you will transit through in addition to 2 blank pages for your final destination.  If you are visiting multiple countries on your safari, you should either apply for a new passport at your local Post Office or apply for additional pages for your existing passport through the US Department of State’s website at:
  • Apply for your visa if required for entry to the country you will be visiting. A good source of information on obtaining visas is  available at:
  • Talk with your physician about any inoculations you may need for your trip.  You may want him to prescribe a couple of antibiotic prescriptions, anti-malarial medications, anti-diarrheal prescription and sleeping pills for your flight over.  (See tab on Medical Information))
  • Visit your local Travel Clinic or health clinic offering travel immunizations to get your required inoculations. Some of these inoculations require multiple injections over a period of months.
  • Practice shooting your firearms using varied shooting positions.
  • Study a shot placement guide if available.

Four Months before you go

  • Get a “Letter of Invitation” from your outfitter
  • Send your Hunter Information Sheet provided by your outfitter and flight information to your outfitter.
  • Make sure you have CBP Form 4457 proving ownership of your firearms.  
  • Verify that your outfitter has all documents necessary for procuring your hunting and firearms Import Permits, if he is getting them for you.  (Each country’s requirements are different)
  • Make sure your will is up to date.
  • Make sure the boots you will be wearing are properly broken in.  This is extremely important! Do not go on long or difficult with new or untested footwear!
  • If you are traveling to politically unstable countries, register your trip with the US Dept. of State at:
  • Get a PIN number issued for at least 1 of your credit cards.  You may need a PIN number to use your card in some circumstances.  Be aware that American Express is not accepted at many locations in Africa.  Try to have at least two cards that are either Visa or Mastercard.
  • Apply for any CITES Permits that may be required for your hunt.  These permits are obtained from US Fish and Wildlife Department.  If you have selected a Customs Broker, discuss with them the latest requirements.  You may want to pay them to handle the entire process for you. Do not apply for your CITIES permit too early, as they are issued with expiration dates!
  • Find out your outfitter’s forms and methods of payment requirements.
  • Continue walking 3 miles at least 4 times a week! If you are hunting in the mountains, continue walking hills, stairs, a step machine, or a treadmill on an incline.
  • Review this checklist!

Two Months before you go

  • Purchase a Medical Evacuation and Field Rescue Membership. We recommend Travel Guard.  Joe Demby is an agent and can be contacted at (804) 821-9416.
  • Order Trophy Tags from your taxidermist.  Include your information and your Customs Broker’s info if you are bringing your trophies back to the US for mounting.
  • If you are wiring funds to your outfitter, do so now.  Do this only if you are confident in your outfitter and have carefully checked his references.
  • Do some of your walkings while wearing the boots you will be hunting in! Continue walking slopes/stairs if hunting in the mountains.

One Month before you go

  • Review the Packing Checklist and verify that your Passport and any required Visas are in order.
  • Practice shooting
  • Order Foreign Currency or Traveler’s Checks
  • Order TSA locks for your gun case and suitcases

Three Days before you go

  • Verify Flight schedules
  • Begin Packing using the Equipment Checklist
  • Cancel mail and newspaper if no one will be home
  • Pay all necessary bills
  • Copy all important documents (Passport, Visa, Form 4457, Letter of Invitation, etc.) and leave 1 set at home with reliable contact and take 1 set with you.
  • Pick up money or Traveler’s Checks from the Bank
  • Arrange transportation to the airport
  • Make sure you have all the prescriptions that you will need!

One Day before you go

  • Check in for your flight
  • Review the Equipment Checklist
  • Finish Packing / Remembering medications!
  • Change the message on the answering machine if desired
  • Re-verify Airport Transportation

Departure Day

  • Leave on one of the world’s greatest adventures!