Long flights and layovers can be a challenging experience for anyone. Throw some EXTREMELY loud bengal cats into the mix (or rather under the seat in front of you) and it really takes things to the next level. This quick list of Pet Travel Essentials and Airplane Tips will help you minimize the stress of moving abroad with pets.
- Preparation is everything when it comes to pet travel! Take a look at what pet import requirements exist for your final destination 4-6 months before you intend to travel. Do your research early and figure out if there are breed restrictions or quarantines needed. Research pet policies on airlines that serve your flight pattern. Every airline has different requirements and only allow a certain number of pets in the cabin (if any). So be sure to book your flight early to be safe.
- Calendar out all appointments you will need from vet visits, embassy appointments, USDA health endorsement appointments and more. You don’t want to be running around at the last minute getting paperwork stamped. It adds much more stress to an already difficult move.
- Get an airline approved pet carrier. Make sure the measurements and materials are allowed by your chosen airline. Our particular airline allowed soft carriers only for instance and this Sherpa Travel Delta Air Lines Approved Carrier worked perfectly! Leave the carrier out in your home for a few weeks before departure so your pet gets used to it. A little crate training goes a long way.
- Spray some liquid calm. A few hours before leaving for your flight, spray your carrier with Feliway Natural Spray, which contains calming hormones for cats!
- Be vest dressed. If your cat is easily spooked or very active I recommend getting them used to wearing a Kitty Holster Harness for the trip. It is a comfortable design for cats to wear and it allows you to have a safe grip on them as you navigate through the airport while their carrier is in the scanner. No one wants a loose pet lost in the terminal!
- Carry on lots of love! You will want to feed your pet during the travel experience. And of course you have to deal with any accidents along the way. I filled my carry on with lots of cat goodies for the long journey from LAX–>Moscow–>Prague.
- Wet food (mind the 3.4oz limit)
- Dry food in a small ziplock bag
- Collapsible Silicone Pet Dishes (for water and wet food)
- Extra sedatives (prescription from your vet)
- Natural Pet Stain and Odor Miracle transferred into a Travel Size Silicon Container
- Allergy medicine and ear plugs for humans around you
- Don’t rely on sedatives. A lot of people think that sedatives will knock pets right out. It depends on your pet! It’s a highly stressful environment for animals to be crammed in a carrier surrounded by lots of energy. The sedatives did not have an immense effect on our bengals.
- Have sanitizer on hand. Get ready to spend some SERIOUS time in a germy airplane bathroom if you have a loud, stressed out pet mid-flight. Most (if not all) airlines require your pet to stay in a carrier under the seat in front of you. Our smallest bengal cat Kali was shrieking her head off in the cabin (think bloody-murder level audibility for hours). Finally, she calmed down in the bathroom as I could take her out of her carrier for a few minutes at a time.
- Roll with the punches! Pets can get sick at inconvenient times and they may not be ready to fly when you intend to depart. Get insurance on your flight so you can be flexible and understanding if something goes wrong. Our cat Ace had a major health scare about 10 days prior to our departure. We weren’t sure if he would make it to our next destination, or even survive . If you find yourself stressed like we were, you’ve got to keep faith that it will all work itself out. Somehow it always does. Ace’s health improved very rapidly and he was good to fly!
After a whirlwind 20 hours of travel, our bengal cats Ace and Kali were so happy to be in their new home!
Above all, air travel with pets can be hectic. I hope this quick list of Pet Travel Essentials and Airplane Tips helps you minimize the stress of moving abroad with pets!
Share the above tips with a pet lover if you found them useful! If you want to see more of Ace and Kali you can find them here on Instagram.
Interested in more travel tips? Check out the Ultimate Gift Guide for Travelers!
Have you traveled overseas with a pet in the cabin with you? How did it go? Let me know below in the comments!