Meet Brodie, our furry love that loves the beach, his squeaky toy, & his parents that take him on long vacations 😉
My boyfriend rescued Brodie in San Antonio, TX two years ago. Now Brodie is our three year old furry baby that travels with us everywhere we go!
No child left behind!
When we decided to pack up in Texas to start working online and traveling through the world, we knew that Brodie had to come with us.
So far, Brodie has been to Mexico and the Dominican Republic. In a few weeks, he’s coming with us to Colombia as we continue to travel through South America en route to the very tip of Argentina.
How do we do it? What is the trick to traveling with your pet?
Knowledge, patience, and love!!
This guide is specific to medium-large dogs, too large to travel as carry-on pet. This is for pets that travel as a checked pet, in a climate controlled section of the plane. Please note: This guide does not apply to service animals or pets shipped as cargo.
This is Brodie!
Age: 3 years
Weight: 40 lbs.
Breed: Australian Sheppard/Corgi mix
Kennel Size: X-Large
The Ultimate Guide To Traveling With Your Pet
1. Understand the airline requirements.
Each airline is different, but since American Airlines is one we’ve all heard of nationwide and we recently flew with them, these are AA’s requirements as of January 2019:
– A health certificate must be issued by a vet within 10 days of travel and 60 days of your return if booking a round-trip ticket.
– You cannot travel with a pet if the current or forecasted temperature is above 85F or below 45F at any location on the itinerary. (Unless you have documentation from your vet to request an exception)
– $200 per kennel for flights within and between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
– You cannot travel with your pet on flights longer than 12 hours.
– Other country-specific requirements apply, certain countries do not accept pet import.
– For European Union, your pet must have a tattoo or implanted microchip that matches the identification number on their vaccination card.
– If you’re traveling on a connecting flight, checked pets will only be able to connect through certain cities. Check the website for the list of cities.
– The kennel has to be large enough for your pet to stand, turn, sit and lie down in a natural position (without touching any side or the top of the container), secured at the top and bottom with bolts or screws, have ventilation on at least 3 sides for domestic U.S. travel and 4 sides for international travel, have a small bag of food for a 24-hour period attached to the top, and be rigid and made of wood, metal, plastic or similar materials.
– Certain dog breeds are not fit for travel. These typically include brachycephalic or stout-nosed dogs such as bulldogs and Boston terriers.
– Dogs must be at least 8 weeks old when traveling within the U.S. and at least 16 weeks old when traveling into the U.S.
Airlines are quite strict about their pet travel policy. We had to reschedule our red eye flight out of SAT in December to an afternoon one because the temperature was below 45F in both San Antonio and Miami.
The pet kennel requirement is also a deal breaker. During our very first time traveling with Brodie, Gogi had to run to Petco to get a new last minute cage for Brodie that was airline approved and more rigid than the one we had. Shop Amazon for the exact cage we are using to travel with Brodie now.
Don’t skip over the fine print. Also, we found American Airlines to have a very strict policy compared to other airlines. The requirements vary by airline so take that into consideration when booking your flight.
2. Book flights that make sense for both yourself and your pet.
We opt for direct flights if at all possible, to minimize Brodie’s travel time. If a connection is necessary, choose connections with the least amount of layover time. Based on our experience with 1-3h connections, airlines don’t give you the option to pick up your pet so you won’t be able to see him in between flights.
3. Research country specific requirements.
For example, Mexico has an additional government requirement for parasite prevention that the airlines did not require. Research throughly. This was nowhere to be found in English on the internet. If you’re traveling internationally, chances are that the official government documentation for pet travel requirements are only in their native language and NOT in English. Contact me or another bilingual travel professional to research throughly for you so the following story doesn’t happen to you:
MEXICO: Upon landing in Mexico City for our connection to Cancun, we had to pick up Brodie and take him to the Oficinas de Inspección de Sanidad Agropecuaria (OISA) to get him checked and have the green light to check him in to the second flight. Although the airline had approved all of the paperwork, at the inspection office at the Mexico City airport, they informed us that his paperwork was not complete.
They called a veterinarian to bring Brodie the parasite prevention, and while the vet made its way to the airport, we missed our connecting flight. The airline kindly rebooked us for the next flight out the next day. Not the ideal scenario but thankfully we enjoyed our unexpected night in Mexico City and saw old friends.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Health certificates require original ink signatures from the issuing USDA Accredited Veterinarian and the endorsing APHIS Veterinary Medical Officer with the application of the APHIS embossed seal. If flying from San Antonio, the application has to be sent to the Austin APHIS office to be sealed no earlier than 10 days before the departure. In our case, we were running short on time so a trip to the APHIS office in Austin took care of this requirement. In addition to the airline fee, we had to pay a $10 USD import fee at the airport upon arrival.
COLOMBIA: We have a clear understanding that all countries require a health certificate issued no earlier than 10 days before the travel day, the rabies vaccines, and in the case of Colombia an $15 USD import fee. Brodie’s annual rabies shot was due in December. We had to wait 30 days to allow the vaccine to take effect before traveling outside the country.
4. Confirm with your local host that they are pet friendly.
When we travel with Brodie we stay in centric and fully furnished homes using Airbnb. There is a search feature that allows you to determine which homes are pet-friendly. These are the two filters we always use to ensure that Brodie has enough space to run around, and that he is welcome in the home.
It doesn’t hurt to message the host prior to booking just to be 100% sure that there is not problem with you traveling with your pet. We’ve already had two hosts offer us complimentary airport pick up so that we wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle of finding a taxi/uberXL that fits Brodie’s cage. Yay for dog lovers!
5. Prepare your pet for travel.
It is not recommended and we do NOT sedate Brodie prior to flying. Instead, we leave his travel cage in our room at least 1 week before the flight so that he can enter/exit as much as he wants and so that he becomes comfortable to the space. If possible, we take him to the park to run so that he gets tired and will sleep more during the flight.
6. Keep all the paperwork organized.
Have you had a mini heart attack when you think you lost your ID or your passport at the airport? Yeah, me too. Imagine the same feeling but knowing that if you don’t have the documentation, your pet can’t make it to the flight. We have a travel folder specifically for Brodie. This has all the vaccination records, health certificate, etc. I highly suggest you organize these separately for safekeeping!
7. Arrive early to the airport.
Airlines suggest arriving to the airport at least 3 hours before the flight to make sure there is enough time to check Brodie’s paperwork and take him to the inspection office to run a physical check on him. Don’t run late or you might miss the flight.
We’ve needed this extra hour for different reasons – to run to Petco, to reschedule our flight due to weather conditions, and because the airport employee that runs the physical check was running late and there was no-one else that could do it. By arriving early, we make sure we’re covered.
8. Carry cash with you for unexpected fees.
We needed cash to pay the vet for the parasite prevention in Mexico City. We had to pay a taxi driver a little extra to allow us bring Brodie in the car in Playa del Carmen. These are a few examples where we absolutely needed cash, so don’t cut yourself short of time by needing to find an ATM and just take some cash with you for the unexpected surprises.
9. Invest in travel-friendly pet gadgets to make things easier for you.
The wheels are really the answer when you are traveling with your furry friend because some airports did not allow us to take Brodie out of his cage until we were outside of the airport. Being able to pull his cage along with all of our luggage really makes a difference when traveling.
Nothing fancy, but these collapsible water and food bowls save us some space in Brodie’s travel bag! We use these not only at airports but also at parks or when we’re out with him all day. The clip on belt make them easy to carry with you if you don’t have a bag for him.
Strong dog leash, but the bone shaped plastic bag dispenser is the best part. No more embarrassing moments! The potty bags are 100% necessary to respect the area and pick up after your pet on the road.
We chose pedigree because it is a brand we have been able to find in every country, and it gives Brodie consistency in his food. The 3.5lb bags are really easy to pack/replace in our carry on.
10. Not all vacation activities are pet friendly, learn about Rover & Cuida A Mi Mascota.
We’ve used 2 separate apps throughout our time traveling for the times that we’ve needed a pet sitter. The apps include pet sitter reviews and home photos to know exactly where your pet is staying. You can also search by location so that the pick up/drop off is close to your accommodation.
Sign up for Rover here for $20 credit. (USA)
Sign up for Cuida Mi Mascota here. (Mexico & Argentina only)
Checkout my Instagram “Brodie” highlight to see more pictures and videos of Brodie 🙂 Contact me if you have any questions on traveling with your pet. I’m happy to help you, recommend places we’ve stayed at, and share with you pet friendly restaurants and cafes we have found in various cities throughout our travels!
We use Rover when we need a trusted pet sitter, we read reviews and they always send us pictures of Brodie when we are away, Rover is in hundreds of US cities – here is $20 off for your first time using the app!
Signed before taking Brodie on a beach run 🙂
Salma Travel Guru
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