Give your four-legged pal a five-star break: A four-step plan for taking your pet on holiday abroad
- Pets need passports like everyone else when travelling abroad
- Insurance isn’t compulsory but important if you want to avoid high vets’ fees
- High street and online pet shops have an array of carry-on bags for airline travel
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at an important holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week, he comes up with a four-step plan for taking your pet on holiday abroad.
There’s good news for the nation’s pets – a record number of owners say they plan to take their animals away with them this summer.
If you want to follow suit, here’s how to give your four-legged friend a holiday to remember…
Channel hopping: A dog and owners prepare to head to France via the Eurotunnel
Pets need passports like everyone else when travelling abroad. Search ‘pet passports’ at gov.uk for official advice on how dogs, cats – and even ferrets – can get them. Dogs, for example, need to be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and treated against tapeworm to get their paws on the document.
Insurance isn’t compulsory but it’s important if you want to avoid high vets’ fees abroad – and to cover the costs of returning your pet’s body home if the worst happens overseas. If you have pet insurance at home, check if it covers you abroad (most policies don’t). With insurers such as Saga, you can get annual travel cover for an extra £11.84 per pet.
Gone are the days when pets travelled in cardboard boxes on the back seat of the car. Today, high street and online pet shops have an array of carry-on bags, crates and more. Website petspyjamas.com sells a £44.99 ‘weekender backpack’ with collapsible bowls, pockets for treats and up to five cups of dog food, while travellingwithpets.co.uk has a £174.95 ramp to help older animals get in and out of the boot.
British Airways allows pets to travel in the hold on some flights, while specialists such as airpets.com can help if you’re travelling long distance
Pets rarely earn air miles as few airlines allow them in the cabin. Portugal’s Tap is an exception – find out more at flytap.com. British Airways allows pets to travel in the hold on some flights (and Emirates actually allows falcons in the cabin on some routes), while specialists such as airpets.com can help if you’re travelling long distance with more mainstream animals.
Eurostar won’t take pets but you can take them on Eurotunnel as long as they remain in your vehicle. Ferry companies are more pet-friendly. P&O lets drivers take pets to France and back for £22 each way (you can’t take pets as a foot passenger). On longer routes, such as Newcastle to Amsterdam with DFDS, you can book a pet-friendly cabin (it’s got vinyl floors rather than carpets, just in case of accidents).
A pet at the Trigony House Hotel where every dog gets a free sausage at breakfast
Wherever you go on holiday, you’ll find hotels are increasingly pet-friendly. The boutique travel club mrandmrssmith.com lets you filter searches for pet-friendly hotels across Europe. A French favourite is the art-filled Domaine de Fontenille, an 18-room chateau in Provence where well-behaved dogs can stay for £18 a day and receive a dog bowl, cushion and the run of the hotel’s extensive grounds.
Scotland gives an equally warm welcome to four-legged guests. Check in to the Trigony House Hotel near Dumfries, and for £9.50 a night extra, dogs are given a box of gourmet treats, a dog bed, bowl and towel. There are outdoor showers if it’s muddy and dog reiki is available so they won’t miss out while you’re in the spa. Better still, every dog gets a free sausage at breakfast (trigonyhotel.co.uk).