How to: Prepare for Long-Term Travel with your Pet

When we thought about traveling the world, we thought it could only be a dream because we have an adorable little Shih-Poo, named Pepper. We see a ton of travel couples, but the ones with a pet usually travel by van and camp out and we’re definitely not the camping type. [Imagine how much money we could save if we didn’t love luxury travel!] 

We’re trying to do as much research as possible to get this done right but I’m sure we’ll deal with some thing or another. When we do, we’ll be sure to update our blog to provide you with all the necessary information on traveling successfully with your fur babies! 

If you have any questions on how to travel with your pets, feel free to leave a comment or email us at info@lifeofnomads.com 

Shitzu Poodle at the park with owner

Before Travel:
  1. Do your research! Before you commit to a destination, look up the requirements for flying with pets from your origin to that country. Each country has their own rules and regulations for bringing pets in and taking them out of the country. 
  2. We made him an ESA [Emotional Support Animal] cause who are we kidding? I can’t sleep without the fur ball on my head. So we got an official letter from a therapist and this letter has helped us save SO much money. Flights usually charge anywhere between $50-$200 in pet fees just to let them travel in the cabin with you. If the pet is an ESA, they can’t charge you for this! So now we get to travel with him for free!
  3. Unfortunately, there were a ton of other fees associated with traveling with your pup. One big one is the international health certificate that most airlines require. See below for a list of airline links to pet travel. You’ll have to obtain this document from your local USDA-Accredited Vet and take it to the USDA to get it verified. Most Vets charge anywhere between $80-$150 for this and you’ll need a new health certificate every 10 days before a flight and it is valid for 30 days from your travel day. So for us, we’ll need a bunch of health certificates from multiple countries. I better get started on researching for a USDA-Accredited vet in Mexico! 
    • A Health Certificate usually includes the following information:
      • Name and address of the dog’s owner
      • Identifying information for the dog, including breed, sex, age, color and markings
      • Date of vaccination and the name of the vaccine used
      • Date when the vaccination expires. If no expiration date is stated, the vaccination must have been completed within 12 months before arrival in the U.S.
    • Also, make sure to do your own proper research for the flight you booked and follow their requirements for pet travel. Remember, a lot of airlines don’t allow pets to certain countries so do your research before you book! 
Day of Travel
  1. Pet Carriers have qualifications they have to meet and they count as 1 carry on bag, so plan accordingly. The maximum dimensions for hard-sided kennels are 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm). The recommended maximum dimensions for soft-sided kennels are 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm).
    • It’s important to get your pets comfortable with these carriers well in advance! If you can, I’d highly recommend putting your pet in these carriers and going for short drives and gradually increase to longer drives. Something that we found helpful is adding a blanket that Pepper LOVES in the carrier with him to remind him of home. 
  2. Feed your pet and get them to go potty to empty out their little bladders if your flight is over 6 hours. Remember, a pet can go 12 hours without food. Trust me, you’d rather have food ready for them when you get to your destination than have to smell something immensely unpleasant during a flight. It’s also just better etiquette for your neighbors.
  3. Then make sure they get a good work out. Run around the block for a couple miles to drain their energy. This will help them fall asleep quicker on a flight and be less anxious, and hey, it’ll probably help you fall asleep faster too! 
Some Airline Requirements:

Airlines sometimes have stricter guidelines than the country, when it comes to pet travel. Here are some helpful links to help with your research:

Shitzu Poodle after Grooming

Other Modes of Transportation

Traveling by air is by far the most complicated way to travel with your pet. When we get to Barcelona in April 2019, we plan on traveling by train through Europe to make it easier for Pepper. 

We did some research on a few different trains and some allow pets, others don’t. Some have a maximum weight limit as well. Luckily, Pepper is only 11lbs and most weight limits are about 20-25lbs. For example, only service dogs are allowed on Eurostar. Some trains allow you to travel with dogs over the limit but require a muzzle. [I hate those!] 

Again, some trains have more requirements than others and some countries still require a health certificate 5-30 days beforehand. Please do your own research or comment below and I will try my best to help out! 

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