Animals are often classed as part of the family, so it's no surprise that more and more Brits are taking their pets on holiday. Here's our ultimate guide to help you make sure your animals are eligible to leave the country, have the correct travel documents at border control, have all necessary vaccinations to keep them safe and are fully insured for overseas travel.
Yes, pet passports are a thing (we promise). Unlike the human versions, they have a complete record of all of the vaccinations and other procedures that your pet has had, and are needed to prove they are fit to travel. They're 100% necessary if you plan to bring your pet to or from a European Union country, or to Non-EU countries listed on the official government website. Just bear in mind that your pet has to be at least 15 weeks old before it can go abroad, regardless of whether or not it has a pet passport.
Most vet surgeries can issue pet passports for you for a fee of up to £250. You’ll need to take your pet to the appointment, along with their health records. Every pet must be microchipped and have a rabies vaccination before a passport can be issued, and some animals may need to have had some treatments too.
You must get your dog, cat or ferret vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travelling abroad. However, you’ll need to double-check it has been microchipped either before the jab or at the same time as otherwise, it will need to be vaccinated again. Depending on the country you're travelling to or from, you may also need to get a blood test for them.
Your dog, cat or ferret must be fitted with a microchip before travel. The microchip number should match the one recorded in their pet passport or official third country veterinary certificate.
Each airline has special policies and fees for allowing passengers to travel with pets. For example, TUI, KLM and Lufthansa allow them to travel in the cabin, while British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Etihad and Flybe will only transport them in the hold. These airlines, as well as both Ryanair and easyJet, allow guide dogs to fly with their owners in the cabin.
Regardless of where your pet is situated during the commercial flight, they will need a suitable carrier to make sure they are secure and comfortable. However, on empty-leg flights on private jets, passengers can simply keep their pets on their knee.
Some cruise ships and multi-night ferries have pet-friendly accommodation options, whether it be in special cabins or onboard kennels.
Some pet insurance policies will include holiday cover as standard, but it's best to check just in case! If not, be sure to take out an additional policy that covers holiday cancellation, accidents, illnesses, injuries and other emergencies.
Have you ever taken your pet or pets on holiday abroad? Tweet @icelollyholiday to let us know and show us your pics!