International Travel with Pets..?

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Cherie @Technomadia

Feb 16, 2011, 8:21:54 AM2/16/11
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For the past nearly 5 years, we've traveled full time domestically -
mostly via RV, and now an extended stay in the US Virgin Islands.
One of our reasons has been to keep our cat, Kiki, with us. Other
reasons, like needing to be more accessible for some of my stateside
clients will soon be shifting as projects enter new phases - giving me
much more flexibility to be out of touch.

So, we're contemplating more international adventures and would love
to do more extended stays (1-4 months at a time, renting a small
apartment or such) in places across the world.

I've been checking into import rules for animals, and it seems there
are a few countries (India, Thailand, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Canada,
much of Europe, etc) that seem to have fairly easy import rules that
just require a current health certificate on the animal and maybe a
pre-application. But I've not found much written about actual
experience of folks trying to do something like this.

And of course, aside from the legal side of it.. there's the issue of,
how easy is it to find short term rentals that would allow a pet?

Is it even possible to contemplate something like this? Or is there a
reason that most RTW travelers find new homes for their pets before
taking off? I know some countries like Australia & New Zealand will
present way too many challenges with their quarantine rules.

- Cherie

That Poet

Feb 16, 2011, 9:06:50 AM2/16/11

It was bureaucratically hellish to get our cat out of the USA, then into France on our recent move. And expensive. No quarantine, but the French want to make sure that your cat has had up-to-date vaccinations (rabies and ticks included), and has a checkup within five days of flying.

So, that's the vet's visit. That'll be a couple of hundred bucks, with shots, etc., thank you.

The vet also has to fill out the complicated EU paperwork (think of it as your cat's visa application). My vet filled it out wrong three different times.

You then have to take the paperwork personally (no faxes allowed, all signatures must be original) to the nearest office of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which assures the government has put its stamp of approval on the process. (I needed three return trips because my vet did the paperwork wrong, as mentioned.) USDA charges you $35, and the L.A.-area office was only open from 7 until 11 a.m..

Then you must buy a small hard-sided kennel ($80 at our local pet supply store) in which to safely ship the cat. Nothing soft-sided, and he must bea able to stand and turn around in it. Our cat could not ride in the cabin on an intrnational flight. Check with each airline, all rules are different.

Then you must pay the airline some money (our fee was $360) to ship him as cargo, and get to the airport (the cargo and warehouse section, not passenger loading) four hours early, instead of the usual three.

Then you must pay a customs fee (80 euros, here in France) to let him into the country. Again, you must hunt all over the airport (the cargo section) in order to find the cat, and go to three different drafty warehouse offices (in 20-degree F weather, in our case) while people stamp paperwork. That meant a 110-euro cab ride while the cabbie waited outside each of these arcane locations, instead of the usual 40 euros from CDG to Paris.

So, just getting Marley into one country was somewhere close to $950.

He's not leaving Paris, and neither are we. He loves it here, too.

--Richard, a Parisian for 3 1/2 weeks now.

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Cherie @Technomadia

Feb 16, 2011, 11:48:12 AM2/16/11
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Thanks Richard.. that's exactly the sort of real world experience I
was looking for!

At first, $950 seems mighty expensive.. then again, I suppose folks
traveling with kids pay that much to bring them along too. And Kiki
is our kid :) Getting her here to the USVI was about $200 in
expenses between vet inspection, carrier and plane ticket.

Good to know what to anticipate for costs and frustrations when
considering this. Thanks so much for sharing!

- Cherie


Feb 16, 2011, 2:45:40 PM2/16/11
to the technomads
We've been literally around the world on this trip and decided to
leave our dog at home. We did this because we have family who was
more than happy to look after her and it just wasn't going to be
possible to travel lightly with an animal.

Some countries we've visited are flat out unfriendly to pets. For
example, in Australia national parks don't even allow dogs to enter at
all. Beyond that there are poison bait traps all over the place (to
control fox populations) and dogs regularly die from eating the poison
in the traps. Then there is the heat, the snakes, etc etc... Not
sure how well cats do here but I think you get the idea that not
everywhere is cat and dog friendly like North America so keep that in

I hope you can bring your cat though. We miss our dog VERY much!

Good luck.

On Feb 17, 3:48 am, "Cherie @Technomadia" <>
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