Expat Discussion: How to Retire Abroad With Pets
Recently we came across this helpful article about how to prepare for a post-retirement move abroad. More and more people are choosing to relocate to another country after they've stopped working, and doing so requires quite a bit of planning and money-saving.
The BBC points out that it's important to research housing and medical costs in the new location and to allow plenty of time to map out all the details. They also say to “consider your family,”—important advice for sure—but we think they left out something pretty big. To the list they've made, we would add pets, who are family members, too.
Pets are becoming a bigger and bigger part of people's lives worldwide, and people in their 50s, 60s and beyond are some of the most dedicated pet owners out there. When children have moved out and when free time becomes more available, it just makes sense that people turn to pet companionship in their lives and in their travels.
So what should a pet owner do if they decide to retire abroad? We have a few tips.
Start planning early
We say this a lot, but it's always a good idea. Some countries (such as Australia) have quarantine requirements for pets, and no matter where you go you'll need to make sure paperwork is in order, vaccines are updated and flight reservations are made. You may not know what you don't know, so give yourself plenty of time.
Keep pets in mind as you consider the major (and minor) details
We're not saying “let your pet rule your life,” but just remember that each detail will affect them, too. The city to which you move (are pet amenities available there?), what house or apartment you choose (are pets allowed?), what the weather is like (will your furry friend be comfortable there?)—these are all a part of the big picture. If you're bringing a pet along, think carefully as you make arrangements so that they will be able to find reasonable happiness, too.
Calculate the costs
The BBC article reminds potential expats that moving abroad can be more expensive than you might initially suspect, and this is especially true when you add the cost of pet travel. More expensive than just an airline ticket, relocating a pet requires vet visits, paperwork, customs fees and maybe quarantine costs and pet agent fees, as well. Also, once you're there you could face marked up prices on your favorite pet food, medical care, etc. Figure out how much you'll need to save beforehand to make your move realistic.
The common theme to all of this is 'do your research before you make a move.' Obviously it's a big deal to move to a new country, and if you've chosen to make a pet an important part of your life (as so many of us have), their needs must be a factor in the ultimate decision.
And on a lighter note, we can tell you from experience that pets are often pretty great at settling into completely new places. As long as you're there with them, they have the most important thing they need.