How To Travel With Pets Internationally
Don't Leave Fido At Home!
Dogs and cats accompany over 50% of their U.S. pet owners on their travels according to a study by AAA and Best Western International. Traveling with your pet internationally can be a very rewarding and memorable experience for you, your family and even your pets. Here at Travel Experts Vista, we love our pets! So in order to get the best tips for you, we consulted industry experts Sara Zargaran and Nima Sheikholeslami for their best tips from over 15 years of experience with traveling with pets.
Meet The Experts
Thirteen Countries and Counting
Sara and Nima
Meet Sara, Nima, Rocky, and Reeze. They started traveling with their dogs 15 years ago and haven’t looked back. We asked them a few questions about how they got started.
How did you start to travel with your two pets?
“We love them so much, we love traveling, and we love to stay in different places for long periods of time so that we can explore and get to know the locals. So we decided to take our pets with us to travel wherever we go, as long as we are planning to stay more than 1 week.
At first we tried going on road trips to Canada and Mexico with the dogs ( these are the easiest countries to take your dogs to if you are departing from the US ). Our longest road trips were from Miami to Mexico City and then Miami to Toronto, Canada.
Rocky and Reeze
Rocky is a male German Pinscher about 45 pounds and 5 years old. We rescued him in NJ after hurricane Sandy 2012.
Reeze is a female mixed terrier and jack russell, She is around 23 pounds ( she is a little over weight 😀 ). She was a street dog from Costa Rica. When we found her she was so sick. We took her to the vet and they kept her for a month ! and then we decided to adopt her . They’ve been in 13 countries so far 🙂
Where They’ve Traveled:
Domestically– All around the East Coast from Miami to Chicago and the Midwest .
Internationally: Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, USA (Reeze is from Costa Rica ), Luxembourg.
Flying with Internationally With Pets: Your Ultimate Guide
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Top Tips for Traveling Internationally With Your Pets
(Easily formatted so you can print it out)
Your Travel-With-Pets Checklist:
•Id Tags on carrier and pet (for your destination as well)
•Food and Water
•Familiar Toy or Blanket
•Collar and Leash
•Baby wipes and Seat covers
Pet Friendly Airlines
Our Pet Friendly Airline Picks for International Travel With Pets:
1.) American Airlines.
We love that their systems are so dog friendly and you know they will take good care of your dogs when travelling internationally with your pets.
Our second favorite is Delta, their system is a little bit outdated and everytime you go with your dog you need to go through the same process, but overall they still do an excellent job when travelling internationally with your pets.
3.) Consider a Pet Only Airline.
Pet Airways offers climate-controlled cabins outfitted with individual crates, and a flight attendant checks on the animals every 15 minutes. After landing, pets are given a bathroom break, and can be picked up by their owners at the airline’s Pet Lounge at participating airports.
Consider Flight Length
“Once we branched out and started experimenting with short, non-stop flights, we learned a lot of tips and tricks. Our longest flight was from NYC to Frankfurt which I was so nervous about, but everything went very well. Picking an airline is one of the crucial decisions you need to make when you are traveling with dogs. In my opinion 8 hours is the maximum you should travel internationally with non-stop flights. Consider that you have to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight, and when the plane lands it takes almost an hour to get your dog, so it can add up to 12 hours of them not be able to pee. If I chose to take them on a longer flight I’d plan a fun stopover for couple of days so it won’t be too stressful for them .” -SZ
Where To Travel With Pets (Or Not)
“The most important thing to consider when traveling with your pet are the regulations of the country of destination.”
Middle East and Asia: Not very dog friendly, and most of the countries have many laws which require you to put your dog through a quarantine period.
Central America and Canada: If your dog is from the US you can easily take your dog to Central America and Canada ( though some of the countries have different rules, so be sure to check ) If your dog is from a Rabies Free zone like the EU or Singapore, it’s easier for them to travel around.
Traveling With Pets: The Details
Traveling with pets is rewarding, but there are some associated costs. You often need to pay fees to the airline and you will need to invest in standard pet carriers for your pet. You also need a health certificate for each pet with their latest vaccination for each time you fly. You can get these from your veterinarian.
When traveling with a pet, finding accommodation that allows your dog or pet to stay with you is not as easy as it looks. Many hotels charge you per dog per night and most of them won’t accept two dogs for one room. [Contact us to book a pet friendly hotel for your next trip.]
Renting a car
You can definitely rent a car with your pets, but keep in mind that no rental car company ever wants you to have your pet in the car. Tip: We always carry special seat blankets for cars so there won’t be any mess, and before taking back the car we do a deep cleaning.
Eating out with your dog? Make sure they are well trained, then head to Europe, they’re very dog friendly! Be careful in Canada, it is not a dog friendly country because you cannot even sit with your dog in outside dining area!! Ridiculous. On the other hand, countries like Germany allow you to sit inside the restaurant with your dog, which I love. Germany is a very dog friendly country. -SZ
Things to keep in mind
“The benefit of taking your pets along with you is stress free travel – because you know your pet is safe with you and you don’t have to be worry about them back home.” -Sara Z
Regulations and fees change depending on the airline, and if your pet flies with you in the cabin or as checked baggage. Ask your travel agent or search online to find the history of your airline with pets. Incidents of pets being lost, hurt, or even passing away have gone up in the last few years. As of now, approximately 15 major carriers send monthly incident reports to the DOT, which list pet-related incidents available to the public. Check this database of animal import requirements to get more information.
Top 5 Tips : Traveling Internationally With Pets
1.) Train your dog: to behave calmly in public
2.) Check Regulations: Each country has different rules, so you need to be prepared. Ask us if you’re not sure.
3.) Choose your destination: Find a dog friendly destination( it makes everything more fun )
4.) Microchip your pet: Make sure they have International microchips so if something happens, they’ll be safely returned to you.
5.) Prepare the carrier: Let your pet spend some time in the carrier to get used to it. The USDA requires: Food and water dishes, “Live Animal” stickers, upright arrows and bedding.
Planning a trip with your Pup? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this free Trip Quote Request Form.
Want more? Check out our other interview with National Geographic photographer and instagram giant, Michael Christopher Brown, World Traveler Shazia Chiu, or Luxury Yachter Eric Goldring. Traveling in your golden years? Check out our updated travel tips for Seniors!
Thanks for Reading! Meet the Author-ess:
Alyne Tamir is a 27 year old person who went to University and also got a great SAT score in high school that 10 years later is still her life’s greatest accomplishment. She has been to over 50 countries, and especially loves Eastern Europe and the Balkans. She worked in Viral Video marketing, and has now semi-retired to work in Digital and Social Media. Currently based in Istanbul, she literally moved to Eastern Europe because she wanted to eat cheese pastries every day. She incidentally knows a lot about travel, and can be reached via the internet at:
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