Traveling with pets can be tricky. How to move your pet abroad

I love animals and have grown up with lots of pets my whole life. When I moved abroad to Thailand I was nervous to not have a pet. As it happened, a few months after moving away, I accidentally adopted a cat and five months later we ended up adopting a dog. (It’s hard to resist animals in need and there are soo many who need homes in Thailand.) One lazy evening as we were swinging in our hammock making travel plans and we realized “How do you travel with pets?” Traveling with pets seems really hard.  Luckily, we found PetRelocation. They are extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there wondering how to travel with pets. Learn how to get  Rocky and Spot safe and sound to their new home, because we know traveling with pets is tricky.

Traveling with Pets
Watching TV. She’s almost human.

How would you suggest making traveling with pets easier?

In general, for the average traveler, it is always helpful to have a checklist of items to prepare the pet for travel whether traveling by car, rail or plane. Otherwise, for pets, the absolute best thing anyone can do to make traveling with pets easier is to allow them time for kennel acclimation. The kennel is the only piece of the trip that remains a constant and with the proper training can minimize move day stress to a great degree.

What are the easiest countries to travel to with pets?

Believe it or not, the United States is actually one of the easiest countries to import pets. The vaccine requirements are minimal and the documentation to enter has no one standard making almost any type of health certificate ok to travel. If you are already in the US and looking to travel elsewhere, some of the easiest countries are:
• Canada
• The European Union
• South Korea

Explain how your pet relocation services work. What is the process like and what is a general cost?

Our services work by partnering with other industry professionals all over the world. We hire other trusted professionals in the origin and destination countries to handle the pets and provide delivery services. We have accounts with various airlines which allows us to book the pet plane tickets and provide tracking updates throughout the move. When clients come to us they work with one of our Consultants who will typically arrange a full door-to-door move based on the unique needs of the customer and their pet.

Traveling with Pets
Trying to be sneaky but she fell off the couch.

Once signed on with us each client will receive a Relocation Coordinator who will then work to execute the move
plan and partner with our client providing their expertise all along the way. Since each move is customized, the price can vary greatly. A typical domestic move within the US averages $1200 USD while an international move is closer to an average of $4500 USD.

What are some of your recommended airlines? How do you book a trip with a pet?

Some of our recommended airlines are:
• United
• Lufthansa
• British Airways
• KLM
• Air Canada
• Alaska Air

In order to book a trip with a pet as cargo, a pet owner would need to call the airline’s live animal booking line and answer all the necessary information. This must be done in advance of the pet owner’s flight and can be a time-consuming process if the pet owner is not well versed with requirements and industry jargon.

 Do you have a funny traveling with pets story you’d like to share? It can be your own story or one that you’ve heard.

We were hired to ship a chicken named Nugget from Europe to the US. It happens that chickens aren’t really considered “pets” when it comes to airline travel and instead are considered poultry. This creates more of a challenge preparing the chicken for travel as it must undergo its own unique set of requirements to ensure she did not carry the more common poultry diseases and viruses. After much research and communication back and forth with the proper authorities and the client, we advised accordingly.

Nugget, of course, didn’t know any difference between the anxiety and stress of her family or the changes in travel plans to accommodate these requirements. None of us were quite sure exactly how a pet chicken would take to being kenneled and away from the comforts only a family home could provide. Upon landing in California, we received word from our partner agent who commented we got two for the price of one! Confused we looked to clarify and received a picture of Nugget who had proudly laid an egg in her kennel during flight. This was a great sign for us because we knew only a happy, comfortable chicken could lay an egg during transit. And yes, two for the price of one indeed!

traveling with pets
Nugget the international rooster!

What should you always bring when traveling with pets?

No matter the season or location, always bring water when traveling with pets. Hydration is a key element to their comfort and happiness.

Can you explain the behind the scenes of pet travel? What happens after you leave your pet
at the airport?

Behind the scenes of pet travel are very different depending on if you checked your pet in at a passenger desk (like for those skis you bring to Colorado every winter) vs checking your pet in at a cargo counter.

Excess Baggage:
Most people are only familiar with passenger desks, where excess baggage is our least recommended way of travel. This is because we can’t really say we know what happens after you leave your pet with a various member of staff who most likely is not trained in animal handling. The pet more or less follows the same route system as baggage, but it is not clear where the pets stay or for how long before being moved again.

Manifest Cargo:
This method is what we prefer and recommend for 99% of traveling pets. This is because we can say what happens. Once checked-in the pets are cared for by animal trained staff. They are placed in a climate controlled environment, given water, and watched until it is their time to load the plane. Usually, they board about 30 minutes prior to departure.

Traveling with Pets
Princess and the Pea

Are there any myths about pet travel that you’d like to rebuke?

Just the most common, that cargo isn’t safe. This is not the case at all when done properly and the pet’s unique needs are understood. Cargo is climate controlled, pressurized and dimly lit. It has the same environment as the passengers are experiencing above. In addition, the right pet safe airlines have the best precautions, protocols, and procedures in place all to enhance the safety of that pet.

What are your go-to best kept secret resources for finding information for traveling with
pets?

Our website of course! 😊 However, there are many primary resources available for the pet owner who wants to do it themselves. Just keep in mind there are always 3 main parties who require compliance for pet travel, specifically:
• The country of export
• The country of import
• The airline
The best resource for people who are traveling within or from the United States to another country should go to the USDA’s APHIS pet travel website. This site is absolutely fantastic for explaining requirements and even providing country-specific health certificates. Otherwise, for airline requirements, each airline will have regulations for pet travel listed on the pet travel page of their cargo websites.

Traveling with Pets
Hiking with pets =)

Let me know if I missed anything. Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?

Traveling with pets is all about preparing the pet ahead of time. This includes making sure you understand booking windows for airlines, the timing of vaccines, and ensuring documents are properly completed. The consequences of traveling with pets and not being prepared can lead to very serious situations for the pet like prolonged quarantine, being sent back to the origin country or even euthanasia. Why risk it!

Conlcusion:

Thanks for the great interview PetRelocation! I learned a lot and your tips about kenneling are really useful as I prep to begin traveling with pets. Let us know your thoughts. Did you find this interview useful? Have you moved with your pet before? Let know any extra questions, comments, or stories below  in the comment box! Also, feel free to email hailey@mentortravel.org for any questions regarding traveling with pets.

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