Before I was a pet parent and a parent of children, the idea of travel with pets and kids would have horrified me. But now I am owned by several cats, and the parent of two children, it’s not such a scary thought. Or at least in principal, the concept of taking both animals and children away on a trip or on holiday, doesn’t seem so far fetched. If you are going away for an extended period of time, and don’t want to leave your pets with pet sitters or can’t afford the costs, then taking them with you, if possible, can be done.
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We haven’t done it yet, and may not attempt it, but if we did, these are some of the things we would consider. When our beloved old lady Layla was very unwell and couldn’t be left, we did consider a UK holiday where we would have taken her with us, but we decided it wouldn’t have worked for her.
Travel within your own country:
This is probably relatively easy, because you won’t be dealing with international laws on pet passports, vaccines, quarantine rules etc. However, if you are taking your pet with you, and are planning to stay somewhere, you do need to think about if that will be allowed where you are staying. Many places now are pet friendly and will happily accommodate your pet, within reason, but don’t just turn up and expect them to be happy to see your pooch, your parrot or your hamster in tow…
If you are taking your pet with you, you need to make sure you are thoroughly familier with the rules of the country or countries you are intending to visit and make sure you are complying. You may think your cat is adorable but border patrol officers faced with a pet that doesn’t have the correct travel documentation may not be so adoring.
You need to check
- What vaccines are required
- If your pet needs a rabies vaccine or proof of vaccine
- If they need a medical certificate or fitness to travel document from your vet
- If there are quarantine rules where you are going or returning to
- Pet passport rules
- Travel rules around where your pet will travel. If they are staying in a vehicle with you, that’s easy, but if you are flying or on a train or across the sea, you need to make sure that you are prepared for that
- If your pet insurance will cover medical treatment, emergency care, or repatriation home
- If where you are staying welcomes pets and what their rules are
General travel with your pet whether you are staying within your own country or travelling abroad:
- Where will you access veterinary care for them?
- Does your pet insurance cover the cost of travel expenses or care not given by your usual vet. Travelling without pet insurance is risky, whether you are at home or abroad
- Do you have the right travel containers and equipment for them. Where will they toilet*, sleep, rest and how will they travel safely? Do you need to take items with you to make this easier.
- Cost – travel with your pet can come with some planned and also unexpected costs so you need to be aware of those before you embark and have a back up plan.
- Food for your pet? If you are travelling locally or within your own country, you will be able to source food for them, but if you are travelling abroad then you need to plan for what you will feed them, will you take that with you (bearing in mind some countries have very strict rules around food that can be brought in, and this may include pet food) or will you have to source it whilst you travel?
Will your pet be happy to travel?
Some pets will be more comfortable than others with travel and will just be happy to be with you and explore new spaces and places, but not all animals will be and you need to know your pet best and if taking them with you on holiday is the best choice. Have a frank conversation with your vet about the pros and cons and how it will work, particularly if you are flying or going abroad. Will travel be more stress for your pet and ultimately you, than the effort is worth?
Travel with pets can be done, but like traveling with your children, you need to plan carefully, make sure you have everything you need, and have emergencies covered before you go.