8 Important Things To Check Before You Fly or Travel With Your Dog

In the age of digital nomads, remote work, modern retirement, longer vacations, and more flexible lives many of us are traveling the world for longer stretches of time. Months abroad in Europe are now not just for the ultra wealthy. We’re here to help you figure out the best way to bring along your pup for your adventure in the European Union (EU for those of us wanting to feel cool) and beyond.

  1. Destination/Location 
    Make sure that your dog can enter the country or location that you’re planning on traveling to. Not every country is as dog friendly as we’d like them to be. Many countries like Ireland, the UK and Australia have strict animal entrance laws and even quarantines. While we might not always understand the reasoning, we have to abide by their regulations. So before you book, check out the country to make sure your furry friend is able to enter. 
  2. Your Specific Dog
    Before traveling you’ll want to consider your dog’s temperament- are they patient enough for a longer plane ride & will they be able to be calm during the flight. Other important and mandatory things to consider are:
    • General health of your dog – your dog has to be well enough to be able to travel 
    • Size or weight of your dog – smaller dogs can fly in cabin while others must fly in cargo hold unless flying a private flight or a pet focussed airline
    • How you want your dog to travel- Are you ok with your dog traveling in cargo or do they need to be in cabin 
    • Breed of dog- can that breed fly on that airline or enter that country or location
    • Age of your dog- most airline require dogs to be at least 6 weeks old while others can require your pup be at least 6 months old
    • Check out our comprehensive page on airline requirements to fly with your dog
  3. What Airline You’re Planning on Flying
    Every country and airline will have specific requirements for your furry friend to join you.  Generally American-based airlines will have the most flexibility in size, breeds, and location availability.
    European-based airlines generally only allow for smaller in-cabin dogs while many middle-eastern based airlines only allow dogs to be transported in cargo.
    Many Asian-based and Australian-based airlines also require dogs to fly in the cargo area but have air-conditioned and pressurized areas for animals. For a list of airline policies, check out our list HERE
  4. Length of Trip & Travel Time
    One of the best things about dogs is their general willingness to go anywhere and be up for anything. Simply put, dogs are excellent companions. While your furry friend might always want to join you on your adventure, we suggest that you make sure you balance how long the trip will be with the length of travel time. For example, a 12 hour travel time might not make sense for only a 5 day trip but would make sense for a 4 week or 6 week trip.
  5. Cost
    Bringing your dog on your travels is not cost-free, especially with the end of emotional support animals on planes. Here’s the things you’ll spend money on to bring your dog
    • Your dog will need a ticket booked each way since they are not sold as a round trip ticket. These can average $99-$175 each way
    • Health certificate and all the accompanying shots & International chip. Health certificates from the USDA & your vet can vary but average from $150-$250 depending. International chips can be inserted during your office visits and generally cost an additional $60. Here’s more info on Health certificates and all the info you need for your international pet identification chip
    • Pet carriers can range from around $40 to a few hundred or even thousands for luxury brands.  Here’s a list of approved bags that pet owners love but we’ll discuss it more below
  6. Travel Bags, Kennels & More
    Size of your dog and the airline you’re flying determine a lot of which carry case or kennel that you’ll need. For larger dogs you’ll need a hard case kennel and for smaller dogs you’ll find our list of recommended bags helpful. 

    Some owners also want to have a kennel for their crate trained dogs once they reach their destination. Obviously traditional hard crates don’t work for travel but there are plenty of collapsible options that give your pet comfort and security without adding too much bulk to your luggage. Here’s some we recommend. 

    We also suggest having a travel blanket for your pup as a comfort item. Our favorite travel blanket (LINK) is soft, folds up tightly, and stays soft wash after wash. 
  7. Food and Treats
    Packing large amounts of dog food for your dog is heavy and honestly pretty smelly. Since you don’t want your suitcase or clothes to smell like dog food, grab some local dog food at the nearby store or pet store. Use google translate to make sure that you know the key words for the food your dog likes or needs to avoid for allergies or sensitivities.

    We also recommend grabbing some food pouches before you go to help your dog make the transition. Add a little bit of wet food from the pouches to the newer dry food to make it feel more familiar. We also recommend these small packing, collapsible bowls that will also save space. 

    When it comes to treats, pack their favorite treats and chews and make sure you’re packing enough to keep up their normal treat schedule.
  8. Pet Friendly Hotels & Vacation Rentals
    Many large hotel chains are pet-friendly worldwide which makes it pretty easy to find a place for you to stay on your travels. Marriott Bonvoy has several types of hotels that accept dogs and cats at different price points for different budgets. We always recommend checking each hotel location to make sure that that specific property will have availability for pet-friendly rooms. If you’re booking online, make sure to check the pet box to help narrow your search. 

    When you book any hotel, check to see if it’s part of a rewards program to gain points and other perks like free internet, future stays and more. 

    One of the most important tips for booking a room with a pet is to check what the pet fees are. Most hotels and vacation rentals will have an extra pet fee that can be a set amount per stay but is usually an additional per-night charge. Many times the fees will be small and nominal- around $15-$25 a night but some hotels can have a $50+ night fee which can greatly change the cost of your hotel. Booking sites don’t easily list the fee so make sure you know what it is before you make your reservation.

    Vacation Rentals can be pet friendly but can be a little harder to find, especially last minute or in more remote areas. Both VRBO and AirBNB now have a little box you can check when searching for pet-friendly properties. Unlike hotels, vacation rentals usually include pet fees in the total and are listed clearly on the site.