Travelling with pets in Europe
Part of the attraction of travelling is escaping from our responsibilities for just a little while - but there are some we’d prefer not to escape. Paws-ing your duties as a pet owner by leaving them at home is a nice break sometimes, but for trips when you want to take Fido with you, it’s easier than ever.
Not only does it complete the family holiday, but for those dropping pets into a kennel, it can save a small fortune in daily fees. Plus, there’s no worrying about their health and happiness: you can see to that every minute of every day. It does take a little extra organisation, so here’s the Flexicover team's quick checklist of what to consider.
To travel around the EU, your pet needs a microchip, a rabies vaccination (make sure your pet is microchipped first or it won’t count), and dogs will need tapeworm treatment too. Your pet must be over 12 weeks old when travelling, and you’ll have to wait 21 days from the date of the rabies vaccination before heading away. Once the mandatory checklist is done, ask your vet about any other precautions you should take – your pet might need protection against mosquitoes, sand flies or ticks.
Passport and insurance
Every member of the family needs ID to travel, and pets are no different. Their pet passport won’t contain a mugshot though. It’s mainly there to list the treatments your pet has had and keep down the spread of problems like tapeworm and rabies in the EU. To get one, you’ll need to take your pet, its identity records from the microchip, veterinary test results and treatment records to a vet that offers this service. If it all checks out, they’ll be allowed to travel around the EU and other countries signed up to the scheme, like Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. It also helps to have pet insurance so if you don’t have it already, look into it and make sure the cover is right for your types of holidays.
Finding a pet-friendly hotel isn’t the trauma it once was (thanks to the internet). It’s now possible to tick an extra checkbox and only see places that cater to our four-legged friends, and there are whole websites and villa groups that specialise in pet-friendly accommodation. Some go so far as to create the right conditions for pets such as offering a large garden and providing details of the nearest vets. Some of these establishments only take one type of animal, most often dogs. But if you have your heart set on a place with such restrictions, you might find a conversation with the owners detailing your pet’s fluffy cuteness may see them bend the rules.
Now comes the fun part. How are you going to get there? If you’re going to fly, you’ll need to opt for an approved airline. The
gov.uk website lists the airlines that carry pets in the hold, as well as the charter services that let pets stay in the carriage of the plane (few for the likes of most of us). Most holidaymakers prefer staying with their pets and taking the ferry or train, and there’s a separate list for that. Check your operator’s terms carefully as rules vary: some will ask that you bring your car for the pet to stay in, others are happy with pets towing along with foot passengers.
Finally: are you sure?
Like all decisions concerning pets, it’s a big responsibility. Your foremost duty is to the pet’s welfare, so it’s important they’re not made to join the holiday for your benefit rather than theirs. The mixed effect of unfamiliar travel, a new place, a change in routine, climate and less attentive owners can be a lot to take on, especially for nervous pets. At the very least, make sure you look after them well by thinking through the details of their journey, what they’ll eat and do once you’ve arrived at your destination. Once these details are organised, we’re sure all holidaymakers and their furry friends will be ‘feline’ good!
So wherever you plan to head to on your travels, whether that’s with or without your pet, it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.