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Pet Travel Insurance

A guide to taking your pet on holiday

Article author's profile picture
Written by  Lauren Chong
10 min read
Updated: 12 Feb 2024

Instead of taking your pet to the kennels while you’re off for a stay in the sun, there are ways you can bring them along with you. Our guide breaks down what you need to know about pet travel insurance, so you can enjoy an unforgettable adventure with your faithful friend.

Traveling can be an enriching experience, and for pet owners, the opportunity to bring their furry companions along can add an extra layer of adventure to their holidays. However, jet-setting with pets isn't as simple as buying a ticket and hopping on a plane. It requires meticulous planning and consideration of various factors to ensure the comfort and safety of your animal friends. This guide will delve into the essentials of pet travel and insurance, providing you with the know-how to make your next trip with your pet smooth and stress-free, whether you're venturing within the EU or exploring further afield.

Before embarking on your journey

Before you start packing your pet's suitcase, it's crucial to assess whether the trip is suitable for them. Travel can induce stress in animals, and not all pets are cut out for the hustle and bustle of transit. Consider your pet's temperament, age, and health. Can they handle new environments? Is the climate at your destination conducive to their well-being? Pets may struggle with intense heat or high humidity, and others might not be suited to colder climates. Answering these questions will help you determine if your pet is ready for the journey ahead.

Couple walking with suitcase and dog

Navigating the risks of pet travel

The world of travel can be overwhelming for our four-legged companions. The cacophony of loud noises, the confinement of carriers, and the sea of unfamiliar faces can all contribute to a stressful experience. This is particularly true for older pets, those without prior travel experience, or pets that are naturally anxious. To mitigate these challenges:

  • Plan for the entire duration of the journey, ensuring there are ample breaks for your pet to stretch, hydrate, and receive reassurance.

  • Prepare for potential delays and consider their impact on your pet's routine.

  • Scout out areas around airports that are suitable for walks and toilet breaks.

  • Always check with transport operators regarding their pet travel policies before booking your tickets.

Post-brexit pet passport changes

As of 2021, following the UK’s exit from the European Union, pet passports that were issued in Great Britain are no longer valid for travel to an EU country or Northern Ireland. Instead, pet owners will need to obtain an animal health certificate (AHC) for their furry travellers. The AHC must be issued within ten days of the date you are set to travel. However, if your pet passport was issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland, it remains valid for travel.

Journeying to Europe with pets in the post-brexit era

Traveling to Europe with pets now comes with a new set of requirements. To ensure a smooth trip, you'll need:

  • An animal health certificate, replacing the old pet passport.

  • Proof of a valid rabies vaccination.

  • A microchip for identification purposes.

  • Tapeworm treatment for dogs if you're traveling to certain countries.

High-flying pets: Taking to the skies

When it comes to flying, airline policies for pet travel can vary significantly. Some airlines allow smaller pets to travel in the cabin, while others may require larger pets to travel in the hold. These decisions often hinge on the size and weight of the animal. To avoid any surprises at the airport, confirm your airline's pet policy well in advance.

Crossing the channel with pets

Traveling to Europe with your pet isn't limited to air travel. While Eurostar only permits guide and assistance dogs on board, pets can cross the channel via the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, provided they have the necessary documentation. Ferry companies also offer pet travel options, but their policies and associated costs can differ. It's best to research and contact the ferry company directly to understand their requirements.

Road tripping

If you're hitting the road with your pet, safety and comfort are paramount. Here are some tips to ensure a pleasant car journey:

  • Secure your pet with a harness, crate, or carrier to prevent injury during sudden stops.

  • Keep the car well-ventilated and provide plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

  • Plan regular breaks for toilet needs and exercise.

  • Bring along familiar items like toys or blankets to offer a sense of security.

  • Avoid feeding your pet right before travel to prevent motion sickness.

  • Avoid direct air conditioning on your pet and never allow them to travel with their head out of the window.

Remember, it's never safe to leave pets in a hot car, even for a short period.

Hotel hounds: Accommodations for your pet

The hospitality industry's approach to pets can range from welcoming with open arms to not allowing them at all. When booking accommodations, ensure the hotel's definition of 'pet-friendly' aligns with your needs. Some may impose extra charges or have restrictions based on the size of the pet. Always verify the hotel's pet policy by checking their website or making a direct inquiry.

Special considerations for guide dogs and assistance animals

Guide dogs and other assistance animals often benefit from more lenient travel policies, typically being allowed to stay in the cabin with their owners. However, emotional support animals may not enjoy the same privileges, particularly in the UK, where they are not legally recognised as assistance animals and thus not permitted in the cabin.

Ensuring your pet is covered: Insurance matters

When traveling with pets, it's essential to consider their health and well-being. Some pet insurance policies include holiday cover, which can provide peace of mind in the event of an accident, illness, or emergency. Check if holiday cancellation is included in your pet insurance policy, what the limits are, and the associated excesses. Make sure accidents, illnesses, injuries, and other emergencies are covered. You can compare pet insurance policies ahead of your trip with MoneySuperMarket. While you’re there, why not compare travel insurance policies for yourself too?

Traveling with pets can be a joyous and fulfilling experience, but it comes with its own set of challenges and considerations. By doing your homework and preparing thoroughly, you can ensure that both you and your pet enjoy a safe and stress-free journey. Whether you're exploring new cities or retreating to the countryside, the memories you'll create with your pet by your side are sure to be unforgettable.

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