Planning International Pet Travel: Tips for Traveling With Pets Over The Holidays

At first, it sounds like a great idea: take advantage of a long holiday break and get your relocation out of the way. Christmas and New Year's Day are often a time for travelers and people getting ready to move to enjoy the extra time off from work and school.

Families often choose holiday breaks to schedule a long-distance relocation, but unfortunately, doing so with pets in tow can cause extra complications.

Hoping to move your pet internationally during the holidays? Here are some ways to ensure your move goes smoothly:


1. Be aware of the tight pre-export timeline.

Many international pet moves require that you go to the vet within ten days of departure (or sometimes sooner), secure health documents, and have those documents endorsed by the USDA.

Typically, the USDA needs about 48 hours to return the pet paperwork. These offices will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, have limited hours on Dec. 24 and 31, and will probably be experiencing backlogs and generally running slower than normal during the entire week of Christmas, so the window of opportunity to get everything in order becomes uncomfortably tight.

Even the most organized travelers can find their plans suspended if their documents aren't returned in time. Your best bet is to arrange your pet’s flights so that the USDA endorsements can be issued well before or well after the holiday rush.


2. Expect the unexpected.

While not all relocations will face holiday-related logistical roadblocks (for example, moves within the United States, US imports, and US exports to Mexico and Canada do not require USDA endorsements), it's worth remembering that things tend to be more chaotic during the holidays.

Packed planes and weather delays are not uncommon at this time of year and animals flying below the passenger area of the plane are often the first to be rerouted or rescheduled to keep them safe. The best attitude toward traveling with pets during the holidays is to expect the unexpected, or arrange your pet’s relocation well in advance of Christmas week.


3. PREPARE FOR COVID-Related Delays. 

On top of regular holiday delays and flight issues, we are still experiencing decreased flight booking options due to the pandemic. While holiday travel can be a challenge every year, COVID is making things especially difficult. You can read about COVID-related pet travel delays and what we're doing to overcome these roadblocks here

Looking for advice on how and when to relocate your pet(s) in the New Year? Check out our pricing information and how we move pets to determine whether hiring PetRelocation is right for you. Happy Howl-idays! 


**This blog post was last updated on November 29th, 2021


PetRelocation Team




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