Western Europe is the most popular international destination for American travelers so it makes sense that it’s also the number one destination for pets traveling abroad as well. The European Union (EU) requirements for the import of pets are fairly straightforward with some slight variation between EU nations. We can help you prepare by giving you the basics on international pet travel to the EU. www.travelrows.com
Map Your Route
In addition to your final European destination, you’ll need to note all of the layover stops along the way. The airline will want to know this information as will the customs officer at your final destination. Generally this won’t add any additional requirements to your veterinary paperwork but call each embassy or check out their website to be sure. Also, don’t make any travel plans less than 10 business days in advance and ideally give yourself 30 days to prepare.
The EU generally requires 3 things for the successful acceptance of your pet. You’ll need a valid visa unless you’re a US citizen or from another country part of the visa waiver program. You’ll also need to microchip your cat or dog and have the chip number handy with you when arriving at your final destination in Europe. Once you’ve got the microchip implanted and the information on you, go to the embassy website of the final destination country. Download their ‘pet passport’ which is easily found on EU nation embassy websites. Fill out the form which mainly consists of pet description, microchip information, rabies certificate, and a letter from the vet stating overall good health. After all of the necessary paperwork is filled out, you’ll need to send it to your home state’s agriculture department to have it stamped for approval. This process usually takes about 2 weeks and costs around $150. Before sending out any of the original paperwork, be sure to make copies in case anything gets lost along the way.
You’ll need to consider in the following costs prior to international traveling with your pets from the US to Europe. First the added airfare of traveling with your pets is usually around $200-300 per pet one way. This is a fee that you’ll pay upon check-in and not when you book so be sure to set aside that money for when you arrive at the airport. Getting the required veterinary checkups and paperwork will cost another $50-300 depending on what shots may need updating and it will cost an additional $75-100 to get those forms stamps by your state government.
Attention! Estimated costs are valid on the day of publishing this article. Please check current prices in official sources.
One top of that you’ll need to factor in postage costs as well as tracking numbers and miscellaneous fees (i.e. chew toys) that will no doubt pop up. Crates aren’t cheap either – a carrier is less but a large crate can cost upwards of $400 and you may end up having to replace your current one if it doesn’t meet the airline specs. There is a lot of work involved but if you start early and save up it should be much easier, especially the second time around.
The Most Pet Friendly Cities
At the end of any air travel with your pets is a destination and where you go can make or break your entire trip experience. There are many pet friendly cities around the world and these are some of the best. We define pet friendly cities as those with great hotels that cater to all sizes and manner of dog and cat, a large number of restaurants that allow dogs, and those with large green parks for walking. Many of these pet friendly international cities also have wonderful off-leash parks and have local communities that are very inviting to pets outdoors and in stores and shops as well.
Pets, especially small dogs, are welcome most everywhere in Rome. You can even bring your pet along free of charge on the city’s public transportation system. Larger dogs will need a ticket but the option is there. You’ll see many people walking around with their little dogs peeking out of backpacks and carriers all around town.
The city of Paris is famous for its dogs, especially the poodle, and a large number of Parisians are pet owners. The restaurants, stores, and plenty of hotel booking Paris all cater to this clientele and you can bring your dog to malls and even the bank! The only requirement is that your dog be well behaved and you clean up after them – a rule not strongly enforced however.
The wide sideways and disciplined dogs of Germany have many this city and the entire country very dog friendly. Most of the hotels allow you to bring pets with you as well as restaurants and malls as well. Just don’t think about bringing your dog to church or inside any of the museums but otherwise you’ve got a great selection.
This Dutch city, one of the top vacation spots in Europe, has some of the most liberal pet policies in the world making it very easy to travel with your furry friend. So long as you’ve got your dog on a leash, there aren’t too many places you can go without your pooch. On top of that you’ll find clean up bags at many parks and dog treats at many of the cafes along Amsterdam’s famous canals.
As more and more people travel with their pets, the realm of pet friendly cities is expanding all over the world to include more of South America, Australia, and parts of Central America (i.e. Costa Rica) as well. If you are in the US and not interesting in flying far, you can consider traveling with your pet to Canada. The most pet friendly cities in Canada are:
Another Canadian city to add to the list, it’s surrounded by some of the most beautiful hiking terrain and parks around. The city is a great place to visit if you and your dog are the active type. After a few days out enjoying the wilderness you can head back into town and stay at some of the most pet accommodating hotels in the world.
A great pet friendly city, Toronto offers free emergency pet and veterinary services and has several large off leash dog parks. There are also a number of restaurants and hotels in the heart of downtown that will let you and your dog enjoy together.
Tell us about your pet traveling experience in comments, they will help our readers to make the right choice. Thank you!