Traveling with pets - How to do it
We all know it, traveling with pets most of times can be a real pain in the neck. Let's see why. Our poor pets don't get to have an easy check-in at the airports and most of times not even upon arrival. As a pet owner, aside from the problems you may encounter with the airline company you take and its rules you are required to follow, very often you will have a hard time finding a proper hotel, a proper route (keep in mind that sometimes pets can't even get on the bus nor taxi), hell even a proper destination country! (goodluck if you decide to travel with your pet to Hawaii).
But now let's get a bit more into details. First off, if your pet is not a dog or a cat, you can pretty much forget about traveling with it. Chances are that wherever you go, especially if you take flight and travel in some other country or continent, you won't make it.A lot of things can go wrong when a pet goes on a commercial flight. Unless a pet is small enough to carry on board the plane, air travel is risky. Always. The basic problem is that to an airline, your pet is just an especially bothersome piece of baggage. And as everyone knows, baggage slip-ups are inevitable. Imagine your pet ending up lost somewhere in some other international airport, it could lead to dramatic consequences.Special rules are applied to assistance dogs only and they are allowed to stay in the cabin.
When the pet is a medium-to-big sized dog, there is no way to bring it with you in the cabin, so the dog must travel either as checked baggage or alone as cargo. The last option is a very poor one and it should be avoided for a series of reasons. Flying as checked baggage is a better option but still a risky one for the aforementioned reasons. It will cost roughly around $250 no matter what the destination.
If you are up to bringing your dog as checked baggage, please consider the following:
Make sure the dog is on the plane every time you take off. Ask a flight attendant for confirmation from the baggage handlers that the dog is on board.
If you can, book a nonstop flight, even if it means choosing a less convenient schedule or airport. Most problems occur in airports, not during flights.
Missed connections are a prime source of complications when you're shipping a dog; if you can't get a nonstop, make sure there is enough time between flights to get all the baggage loaded on the connecting flight.
During hot weather, avoid flights in the hottest part of the day. During cold weather, try to schedule a stopover in a southern city instead of a cold northern one.
Be sure to get a well-made kennel. Don’t use kennels that use wing nuts to attach the top and bottom; they can come off because of the vibration of the plane.
Don't feed your animal for six hours before the flight, but make sure the dog will have access to water.
Your dog should be wearing an identification tag—with your home address and your destination, including a phone number where you can be reached.
Be prepared before take-off and always get as much information as you can before booking any flight, hotel, public transportation. Traveling with a pet requires you to be responsible for it and it may require some efforts but eventually exploring around with your best friend on four paws will make it up for all.
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