Pet Relocation – Getting Your Furry Friend Overseas Safely

Kate  @goodmigrations

It’s not just us, the travelers and expats, who get excited about moving abroad… our pets do too! A stroll around the Louvre, balcony views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or a game of catch around Central Park, we just want to give our furry friends the best. That’s why getting them to their new home safe and comfortable requires some careful planning and attention to detail.

It goes without saying that your pet’s well-being should always be the main concern when transporting them overseas. Traveling can be a stressful experience for any person and that only multiplies for an animal whose flight seat is in a travel carrier. And as you may expect, all airlines have different regulations when it comes to bringing pets on board so it might pay off to contact a few different companies before booking your ticket.

Before you decide to bring your animal friend overseas with you, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions first.

Pre-Travel Checklist
1. Is my pet healthy enough to fly in a plane?
Some important things to consider before traveling with your pet on a flight are: the age of the animal, if any existing health conditions could worsen because of travel, and whether their personality can withhold the stress of the flight. Many times, a health record from your home vet is needed prior to boarding.
2. Can my pet legally be brought into the Country?
Some countries are more pet-friendlier than others. Do your research to see what paperwork is required upon arrival and whether other requirements such as an IOS pet microchip or quarantine will need to be arranged. You can find a detailed list of countries and their requirements on
3. Do I need to check my pet as cargo or can he/she come on board with me as a carry-on?
This decision will affect both the cost of the pet transport and the experience of the transfer. See below for some more information.
4. How much am I willing to spend?
Carry-on can go as low as $30 on some airlines, whereas cargo carriers can soar up to $1,100 for a one-way flight!

Carry-On vs. Cargo
Carry-On Kennels

As a flight attendant, I get to see many animals board the cabin as carry-on luggage. From the cute and fluffy to the growling and whiny, it’s safe to say I’ve seen it all.

Recently I operated a flight from Lima, Peru to Toronto, Canada (an eight+ hour flight) where we had the sweetest, softest, green-eyed mixed mutt puppy on board that I have ever seen. Lucy, the passenger and proud new fur mama, had gone to Lima with no intention of coming back to Canada +1. Let me tell you a bit about Lucy’s experience to give you an idea on how the process worked for her (keeping in mind Lucy only had two days to plan the Peruvian pups flight).

The nameless green-eyed pup caught Lucy’s attention after visiting a volunteer animal rescue in Lima, Peru. She immediately contacted the airline she was flying home with to ask about their requirements and after finding out she could bring the pup on board with her, she set out to buy a carrier that fits the required sized allotments (10.5 x 15.5 x 21.5 for a soft case). The very next day she brought her new animal friend to a registered veterinary clinic to have his rabies shots (a requirement to enter Canada from Peru) and left with a hardcopy of the paperwork.Voila! In less than two days, a new cozy home was just a plane ride away for this pup that otherwise might have ended up on the streets of Lima.

Carry-On Pets: The General Rules

  • the carry-on carrier must be an approved design from the airline
  • the kennel must be placed underneath the seat in front of you for runway taxi, take off, turbulence and landing
  • at any other point in the flight, the carrier can be placed on your lap
  • all zippers must remain closed and your fur friend needs to remain in the carrier for the duration of the flight
Cargo Kennels
I won’t lie; the thought of having animals in the cargo hold of an airplane had made me feel a little unsettled in the past.An important clarification that certainly changed my views is to note that cargo animals are not crammed in a big, dark hole in the belly of the plane. Instead, they are placed into a temperature controlled and pressurized compartment which is completely separate from all the checked baggage. And contrary to both you and I who are often sitting in our plane seats well before take off, all animals traveling in cargo are the last to go on and the first to come off and are handled with extreme care by baggage professionals.

Before the flight, it’s helpful to get your pet well acquainted with the carrier it’ll be traveling in. It is imperative there’s enough room in the cargo crate for your pet to get up, move around and lay down comfortably. I talked with Rachel from who said her #1 tip was to make sure to leave items with your scent in the carrier for the flight: socks, a t-shirt, or a blanket work wonders. Give him/her a few toys to play with during the flight, too.

Keep in mind airlines transport animals safely worldwide thousands of times a year. Don’t be shy to ask the gate agent or flight attendant to advise you when your pet has been loaded in the designated animal cargo area.

For more information, I really liked this article by National Geographic on the quirky rules to traveling with pets overseas.

So whether you’ve stumbled upon this article because your story is similar to Lucy’s or maybe you’re moving overseas indefinitely and cannot bear the thought of leaving your best fur friend behind, we’re here to tell you it’s absolutely possible to travel with animals around the globe. But don’t just take it from us…

What are some of your tips and tricks when it comes to transiting pets overseas?

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Adrenaline Pumping Activities For Expats And Travelers

Kate  @goodmigrations

Need not fret (frugal) adrenaline expats and travelers abroad, because we’ve done the work and here are nine epic activities you can experience around the globe that will have you leave saying, “whoa”. Whether traveling for fun or living overseas, these will get your heart beating.

Extreme Airplane Aerobatics AustraliaAustralia
Extreme Airplane Aerobatics
Airlie Beach, Queensland

Flip, twist, swirl and whirl all over the ocean in an open-cockpit two-seater airplane. The aerobatic flights range from Mild, Wild to Extreme.
(100USD / 145AUD)

L2 Double Loop Waterslide AustriaAustria
L2 Double Loop Waterslide
Worgl, Austria

Whether you go head or feet first, you’ll be whipping through the first, most extreme, and certainly the most intense double loop waterslide in the world. This ride is not for the faint at heart.
(30USD / 26EUR)
Read more…

Activities Travel

Foreign Currency Exchange: 6 Tips For Expats

Kate  @goodmigrations

Cash. Credit. Debit. Cheques. There have been lots of discussions on different expat forums about foreign currency exchange and the right way to go about exchanging your hard earned money.

Here’s what some people are saying:
Jeff, a business traveler says: “I use the bank to order my foreign currency.”

Dave, a frequent leisure traveler says:  “I mostly use my debit card at an ATM to take out foreign cash.”

Micheline, my mother says: “Use travelers cheques Kate, in case your wallet gets stolen.”

Everyone has his or her own exchange style, and in the end it’s best to go with the method you feel most comfortable with. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, we’ve put together the best options to help you decide where to exchange your money.

Foreign Currency Exchange- GoodMigrationsPhoto Cred

#1. Foreign Exchange Services (Forex)

Advantage: Better rates than a bank transfer; often with no fees
Disadvantage: Not available on weekends

Similar to transferring money from your home bank to a foreign one, Forex makes it easy to wire money abroad for use in a different currency. Typically available 24 hours a day Monday-Friday, forex providers offer the most competitive exchange rate with little to no barriers for entry and no minimum transaction size. For example, in a quick sampling of transferring $1,000 USD to AUD, with a major bank you would probably get $1,315 AUD but with a forex provider you get $1,358. There are plenty of companies offering this service so a little research needs to be done to get the best rates. TorFx is one such forex company to be considered. Read more…

Expat Life Money Travel

Airplane Hacks for Expats: 8 Tips from an Expert

Kate  @goodmigrations

Expats typically travel a lot. There is, of course, the “Big Move” when you relocate to your destination country. Unless you’re driving, chances are your next trip or move will include flying. After all the planning is done, it’s nice to know that once you step foot on the airplane an adventure shortly waits.

We want you to make the most of your airplane experience. Take it from me, a flight attendant who knows the inside scoop of having a First Class travel experience, regardless of where you’re seated.

1. APP up the Airline

Before heading to the airport, check to see if the airline you’re traveling with has an app for your smartphone device. Often times you can use the app to book flights, check-in for your flight, watch arrival/departure times, find out information on the aircraft you’re taking, and see how full the plane is. Some airlines have even gone as far as putting FREE in-flight entertainment on their app, so you’ll be well amused on board.

Airplane and Travel Tips

Photo Cred:

2. Pick Your Seat Wisely

The seat you sit in for that two, five or ten hour flight could be your best friend…or worst enemy. There are, of course, things you can’t control (i.e. the inevitable crying baby on board, Mr. Recliner in front of you), but there are seats that will definitely benefit your flight experience and you’ll want to snatch them up fast. This is when sites such as SeatGuru and SeatExpert come in handy. You’ll be able to scout out seats with flaws (the window-less window seats, the seats with limited recline, the lavatory neighbor seats), as well as the seats with bonus points (some rows have more leg room than others).

TIP: If you’re a nervous or nauseous flyer, choose a seat closest to the wings or as close to the front of the plane as you can. Turbulence is felt most at the back of the airplane. Read more…


Expert Expat Spotlight: Laura And Peter Down Under

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Making the decision to move overseas can be a tough one at times. However, we don’t think that was the case for Laura and Peter of Laura and Peter Down Under. Their opportunity to leave Minnesota in the U.S to live and discover the fabulous city of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia was an easy one. With so much to see, do and eat there are endless opportunities for newness and exploration.
Laura and Peter Down Under

Lets hear more from Laura…

What initiated your move to Australia?
We moved to Melbourne in July 2014 because my husband took a job working with a local University. We had always planned to travel, so once the opportunity became available with my husband’s company we knew right away it was something we wanted to do! Read more…

EEP Expat Life Travel

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