Planning Pet Transport During the Holidays
Many people plan to relocate internationally with their pets in November, December and early January, and each year we like to post a few tips to help ease the stress of traveling during this hectic time.
Your own schedule may make this seem like a convenient time to plan a move, but be aware that office closures, weather, and abbreviated cargo hours may make smooth travel tricky to pull off.
Here are a few potential challenges that go along with holiday pet travel:
Office Closures and Backlogs
If you're flying internationally and need USDA endorsements for your pet's paperwork, take into account that holiday closures for government offices may make it harder for you to stick to your ideal schedule. You may be on the ball when it comes to planning, but if the USDA takes longer than normal to return your pet's health documents to you, your whole timeline could be thrown off.
Weather and Traffic Delays
The days and weeks surrounding Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's are a popular time to travel, and this is also a stretch known for snow, ice, and general bad weather. These factors increase the chance of hiccups, and particular days (such as the day before Thanksgiving) are known for widespread flight delays. Pets flying in cargo are often the first to be rerouted or kept behind because their safety is such a priority, so again, even if you've done everything right, conditions beyond your control could make for a longer and more frustrating journey if you take the risk of traveling during this time.
The above mentioned delays aren't just annoying, they are also costly. Extra nights of boarding, hiring drivers to make yet another airport trip after a flight is canceled, or having to re-do any paperwork all mean you'll be spending more money than you initially planned.
So how do you avoid these potential problems?
First, we suggest flying well before or after the holidays in order to avoid the rush. If you can, minimize your risks of complications from the very first step.
If you must go during this time, though, you might want to choose to hire professional assistance for your pet's move. Experts can't magically avoid every possible snafu, but experienced Specialists are better able to navigate the tricky world of holiday pet travel.
Be flexible. This is advice we give to all pet travelers, as you never know what unforeseen events may arise when moving a long distance with a pet.
Above all, if you're planning to move a pet in November, December or January, the most important thing to do is start the process early so that you can build a realistic timeline based on import rules and document requirements.