[UPDATED JUNE 2023]
With pets being a beloved part of so many of our households, it’s only natural that we’d want to take them with us on holiday, from time to time!
It’s not always totally clear how to travel with cats and how to travel with dogs, for the perfect vacation experience. Fortunately, just a little extra planning and prep can go a long way to ensure that your pet-friendly holiday goes off without a hitch.
Here’s our YuMOVE guide on how to travel with pets.
Follow our preparation guide and look forward to endless summer evenings on holiday with your furry friends
How to travel with your pet
Practically speaking, there are a few things to consider before your pet joins you on holiday. Where can you go? How will you get there? Will your preferred accommodation welcome pets? And, just as importantly, will a pet-friendly holiday be just as fun for you as for your fluffy pal?
Let’s take a look at these considerations one by one:
Where to go?
Travelling with pets within the UK is far easier than it used to be. With more and more pet-friendly holiday cottages, campsites and even hotels on offer, a UK staycation is a great option if you don’t want to wave goodbye to your furry family member. PetsPyjamas, for example, is a great resource for identifying pet-friendly hotels, spa resorts, pubs, and more around the UK!
Unfortunately, following Brexit, pet passports issued in Great Britain can no longer be used to get your pet into EU countries, unless the individual country in question accepts pet passports from Great Britain.
How will you get there?
The best way to get your dog or cat to your dream destination is usually by driving, with your pet riding in style in a high-quality dog crate or cat carrier, though taking the train can also be an option.
Is it possible to travel with a dog or cat on public transport?
Yes. But you'll need to be committed and organised, and your pet will need to be relaxed and confident. According to National Rail:
“You’re welcome to bring up to 2 animals with you, at no extra charge. If you want to travel with more animals than that, there may be an additional fee.”
Dogs also need to be kept on leads for the duration of the journey, and cats will need to be kept in cat carriers. No animals are allowed on the seats.
What about traveling to an EU country, or Northern Ireland?
Unfortunately, taking a pet on holiday to Europe is more complicated post-Brexit than it used to be. As per GOV.UK:
“When travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland, your pet needs:
- a microchip
- a valid rabies vaccination
- an animal health certificate, or a valid pet passport that’s accepted in the country you’re travelling to
- tapeworm treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta
These requirements also apply to assistance dogs.
Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.”
The process of taking your pet to visit an EU country may be quite involved, therefore it’s likely to only be worthwhile for extended breaks, as opposed to shorter getaways.
If you would like to take your pet to an EU country, however, be sure to research that country’s specific requirements for pet travel from the UK before booking your tickets.
The extra preparation it takes to travel with your pet is worth it for the memories.
Pets on planes
Both dogs and cats can travel on planes, though different airlines have different rules about how and where in the plane your pet will be travelling. Generally, pets will need to be transported in the plane’s hold, which may not be the kindest or most feasible option, particularly if they’re older or have a nervous disposition.
Various airlines, such as EasyJet, don’t accept animals on their planes except in the case of registered assistance dogs.
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) overseas
BSL varies from country to country, so if you’re planning to take your pet abroad, be sure to check the rules before you book your holiday. Restrictions on certain pet breeds vary from country to country, and sadly often include popular breeds like Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and English Bull Terriers. However, your dog may still be able to join you on hols – they just might have to stay on-lead and wear a muzzle. The best place to find more details is your destination country’s government website or embassy.
Where to stay – pet-friendly accommodation
There are more pet-friendly accommodation options out there than ever before. Look out for the ‘pet-friendly’ filter on accommodation search sites, or go with the tried and tested self-catering option from pet-friendly specialists like Dogs Trust Holidays.
Canopy and Stars offers some brilliant pet-friendly stays, and – as mentioned earlier – the brilliantly named PetsPyjamas offers plenty of great pet-friendly holiday options. We’d also recommend checking out Pitch Up’s dog friendly campsites if you’d like to spend some time together in the great outdoors.
Having fun travelling with dogs and cats
Perhaps the most important thing to consider before including your pet in your holiday plans is – will you all have fun? This depends on what you – and your pet – enjoy doing. If you’re an outdoorsy sort with an outgoing dog, it’ll be happy holidays all round.
Equally, if you’ve got a confident cat who enjoys exploring new places, the pleasure of being with you will likely outweigh the potential stress. However, if your ideal holiday is a bustling city break and your dog is nervous in traffic, they may be happier staying home.
With the right preparation, holidaying with your furry friend can be double the fun.
Holiday happiness in 4 steps
- Check your pet insurance – make sure your plan is up-to-date and covers your destination.
- Be health-aware – research local vets near your destination, be up to date on vaccinations, and take a copy of their medical history and vaccination record in case of emergencies.
- Bring home comforts – a bed, blanket or favourite toy that smells of ‘home’, plus a spare collar and lead just case.
- Don’t forget dinner – dogs and cats don’t adapt to dietary changes as well as humans, so to avoid tummy troubles, bring food from home.
Regardless of your destination or itinerary, it’s always worth planning ahead to ensure you’re as prepared as possible to holiday with your pet.
Though we live in an increasingly pet-friendly world, there’s no downside to being overprepared. It’s advisable to keep food and water handy wherever you are, and to pack a pet first aid kit which can be kept within easy reach.
An adventurous cat will love exploring a new environment with you.
Keep calm and travel on!
New locations can be exhilarating for our pets, but they can also be stressful – particularly for pets who have a bit of a nervous disposition. Giving your pet YuMOVE Calming Care can help to support calm behaviour, reduce stress, and ease anxiety – meaning you and your pet can both keep focused on enjoying your adventures together.
Travelling with your pet can be a wonderful experience, but it’s always a good idea to take some extra precautions. In addition to YuMOVE Calming Care, consider giving your pet YuMOVE Digestive Care to help support their digestive health in unfamiliar environments.