International Pet Shipping: Going the Extra 1,399 Miles

In her over seven years with PetRelocation, senior sales consultant Evelyn Pearl, has seen just about everything. She knows that sometimes she can put together the most complicated move, and have it executed perfectly. However, there are times when even the most standard move plan can be interrupted by factors out of our control. 

Recently, Evelyn was asked to share her expertise in preparing for a pet's relocation in Worldwide ERC's February edition of Mobility Magazine. Read on to learn how to be prepared for the unexpected in the constantly changing world of pet travel! 

When you’re moving with pets, even a seemingly easy move can quickly become complicated. When we received an inquiry from a longtime Peace Corps volunteer who planned to move her two cats to Armenia, the relocation plan appeared straightforward: We were using a familiar route with an established airline, and the volunteer enlisted the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan to assist with customs clearance. But this move—along with many others we have encountered over the years—is a great example of some key lessons learned in the field of pet relocation.

DEVELOP A PLAN—AND A FEW BACKUPS

Before any relocation plan begins to derail, it is ideal to have backup plans B and C. Without warning, our established airline issued an embargo for Armenia and could not offer an estimate on when the restriction would be lifted. Move plans can often change due to airline embargoes, and a backup plan will need to be implemented. 

BE FLEXIBLE

Sometimes it is necessary to reevaluate relocation expectations on all sides and look at the relocation from a new perspective. In this case, both backup plans quickly went out the window, as all other flights to Armenia required multiple layovers or switching between airlines—resulting in a greater chance of pets getting stuck in a layover country without specialized care. An unsafe flight routing or backup plan, even if possible, is never an option. We realized that we would need to let go of our expectations and our “standard” routing plan—the U.S. to a transit country, the transit country to the destination. While the ultimate destination continued to be Armenia, we knew we needed to be more flexible and consider alternate—and still safe—routes that required travel through nontypical countries.

“The lesson here is that relocations can always change at the last minute, no matter how straightforward the original plan may seem. With a combination of flexibility, collaboration, communication, and a little bit of imagination, a rewarding relocation can result out of an otherwise impossible situation.”

USE YOUR IMAGINATION

We live in a world where almost all countries allow some form of access for pet travel. When we agreed that thinking more creatively was paramount in the success of this relocation, we began to see more opportunities. We investigated importing into neighboring countries such as Azerbaijan, Georgia, or Russia, with either added ground transportation or a third flight. These countries would typically never be considered for this type of relocation, even while we were familiar with the pet import regulations and entry requirements. 

COMMUNICATE CONTINUOUSLY

The most important tool when facing a challenge is maintaining constant and transparent communication with all parties involved. As collaborators, our client and the U.S. Embassy were able to offer additional insight that proved beneficial to the relocation. When we initially looked at Georgia as a possibility, our client and the U.S. Embassy advised that there was increased civil unrest in that region. When all plans led us to Russia, the U.S Embassy was the first to say that if we could make it work, so could they.

The lesson here is that relocations can always change at the last minute, no matter how straightforward the original plan may seem. With a combination of flexibility, collaboration, communication, and a little bit of imagination, a rewarding relocation can result out of an otherwise impossible situation.

Thinking ahead, creativity and communication are key when planning any international move. Thanks for your amazing advice, Evelyn! 
If you're ready to plan your international move, but don't know where to get started, let us know! We'd love to hear about your upcoming move and see how we can help! 

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PetRelocation Team

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