One of the many reasons that people are hesitant about taking the leap and living abroad are the ties they have. I’m not just talking about a home, a car, or items that people are tied to. I’m talking about pets. Many people feel they need to choose between travelling or their pets, but you’ll come to see, that this doesn’ t have to be the way. Here’s how travelling with pets can be completely possible, as shown by women who’ve done it.
Many who travel with their pets avoid air travel as much as possible. This may make the trips longer, but worth it for long journeys and when moving.
Elisa, from Croatia, would bring her dog, La Kaya with her on weekend trips and vacations. She most recently brought her along for her move to Barcelona, Spain. As La Kaya was too big for the cabin, Elisa decided to do the move by taking three trains and a ferry. Making the journey 40 hours in place of a 2-hour plane ride!
Masimbaashe, from the U.S., brings her dog Ralfie with her whilst camping. They stay in an Airstream and find them awesome for little pets.
Leah is a travel nurse from the U.S. who moves every 13 weeks, making her pup the most consistent thing in her life. Having her pup with her is great when she moves as it takes a couple weeks to make friends and she has a buddy with her when she goes out. Leah takes her Australian Cattle dog, Dakota, on all her adventures. He’s been kayaking, swimming in the ocean, and on ferries. When she goes on long trips abroad, Dakota stays with friends.
While I would suggest avoiding air travel if you can, it’s not always possible. It also shouldn’t stop you from bringing your pets with you. If you’re simply going on a short vacation, save the stress and let your animals stay with a friend or a pet sitter.
Don’t forget about travel insurance too (for you and your pet)! Many insurance companies will cover your pets. Check out the travel resources page for more great travel tips!
If you’re going for a long-term move. You have options. My father flew his animals, 3 dogs, on via Air Canada when between Nova Scotia and Ontario. While one was a little sick during the flight, they otherwise arrived well.
When Tierney, an American friend, moved to Korea, she brought her dog with her! To bring him into Korea she had to get a health check stamped by an animal government organization, almost like a notary, even though the vet had already signed off. It is an extra expense & needed to be within 10 days of departure. Coming back to the U.S., she just needed a vets note without the government endorsement. Her dog Grim is small enough to fit in the cabin with her. Though she can’t really take budget airlines, Grim’s ticket is usually around $100 (in addition to her own), and typically counts as carry-on luggage.
Information to consider when travelling with pets:
Make sure you call the specific airline you intend on travelling with; here are some examples to get you started.
- You can bring your cat or small dog in the cabin with you provided it is small enough to fit and stay comfortably in its carrier under the seat in front of you. Just remember that your pet in its carrier will count as one standard item toward your carry-on baggage allowance.
- Only one cat or small dog in the cabin is allowed per passenger.
- Your pet must:
- Be at least 12 weeks old and fully weaned.
- Remain at all times in a closed pet carrier stowed under your seat.
- You’ll need to arrive a full 30 minutes prior to the recommended check-in time for your flight as you must see an agent at check-in. Passengers travelling with pets cannot check in online or at airport self-service kiosks.
- Space for pets cannot be reserved online. To add your pet to your travel plans, please contact us at 1-888-937-8538 (1-888-WESTJET).
- A pet kennel fee applies for pets travelling in the cabin or as checked baggage.
- We strongly recommend requesting space for your pet as soon as you have completed your booking and a minimum of 48 hours before your scheduled departure. If you check-in without requesting space for your pet(s) 48 hours before departure, you may not be permitted to travel with your pet(s) as we limit the number of pets permitted on each flight.
- Pets travelling as carry-on must have room to stand, sit and move naturally in their kennel.
United has a PetSafe program that offers airport-to-airport travel for animals. Their program includes a dedicated 24-hour PetSafe desk, the ability to track your pets from origin to destination and much more. You can also earn 500 MileagePlus award miles for each PetSafe shipment within the U.S. and 1,000 miles for all other shipments.
Preparing for your flight when travelling with pets
- Your pet should be fed and watered within the four hour period before check-in. Only feed your pet a light meal prior to departure and provide a quick drink of water before check-in. Containers with food and water are prone to spilling during the course of kennel-handling and transportation.
- Exercise your pet before leaving for the airport. Some airports may require pets to remain in the kennel at all times.
- You should arrive at the boarding gate at least 40 minutes before flight departure.
- Always call and confirm all details when travelling with pets. Ensure you have all documents necessary to avoid any hassles at the airport.
Countries with pet travel restrictions
Many countries have strict regulations regarding international pet travel. To ensure your pet’s safe and smooth international travel experience, follow the steps below:
- Contact the consulate or embassy of the country you plan to travel to in order to determine pet travel regulations and requirements.
- Contact your veterinarian to ensure that your pet is in compliance with foreign pet health regulations.
- Obtain all necessary paperwork for your pet’s travel (health certificate, vaccination certificates, etc.). These documentation requirements vary by destination.
While travelling with pets can make the trip a bit longer, they also make it that much better. Pets are part of the family, and when you’re considering a big move, there’s no need to let them deter you from your journey, just take them along!
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