Taking off

What happens before to take off? I was really anxious about all the steps to follow once arrived at Fiumicino airport…

At the Alitalia desk

they check the pet passport only.

Please be aware that once you have passed the security check, you won’t be able to let your dog left off. It’s important to schedule a timeline so that it can have a “toilet stop” before the flight, at the very last moment before passing the security check.

Airport security

I have been asked to get Argo out of its kennel. We have passed through the metal detector together, and the kennel has been scanned.

At the gate

While I was waiting for my flight, Argo was outside the kennel. I understand all restrictions for pets inside public places, but it seems that everyone understood my special situation, and no one complaint. On the contrary, many people came to ask me which requirements have to be filled in order to travel with a pet.

Taking place

On board, I discovered that my place was not the dedicated one for passengers with pet. Hence, the space below my seat was far too small for Argo’s kennel. I have kindly asked to the steward and he simply replaced me to a place where I had 2 seats for me: Argo, at my feet, occupying the place in front of the seat at my side, me having a lot of extra space.





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Pet in cabin, first steps

Every airline has its own regulations for pets depending on weight and size. If you wish to take your pet along with you on board, the first step is to see which restrictions apply.

In order to travel to Rio de Janeiro, I have checked AirFrance, Lufthansa and Alitalia. Pets weighing less than 6 kg are allowed to flight with AirFrance (container included). Lufthansa has a 8 kg weight limited. Alitalia allows pets weighing less than 10 kg.

My Argo is only 5.5 kg but, at the time of the flight, he was not an adult yet. I didn’t really wanted to have a bad surprise few days before flying or force him on diet.
So I decided Alitalia from Rome to Rio de Janeiro.

To take a pets along with you on an Alitalia flight, you should provide a passport issued by a vet, certifying the list of vaccinations and the state of health of the animal and a clearly legible tattoo or an electronic identification system (transponder) (from Alitalia website).

Second crucial step is to observe import and export by-laws of the respective countries. Hence, I have called Brazilian Consulate in Milan. In order to travel to Brazil with a pet, these documents are mandatory:

  • Original International Health Certificate issued by the Official Veterinarian Service in the country of origin. The Health certificate must mention that the animal has been examined within 10 days before travelling to Brazil and did not show signs of clinical disease. The International Health Certificate must have been issued no longer than 10 days before arrival to Brazil. If the Health Certificate does not present the Portuguese version, an official translation may be ordered. Animals arriving at Brazil without the Health Certificate or with an inaccurate or incomplete International Health Certificate will be sent back to the country of origin, at the expense of the importer.
  • Certificate for Rabies vaccination: For animals older than three months, rabies vaccination is mandatory.
  • In case of first immunization against rabies, the owner of the animal must wait at least 30 days before travelling to Brazil.
  • Information mandatory in the Certificate for Rabies vaccination: owner identification and address; animal identification: breed, sex, date of birth, coating color and size.

If all mentioned requirements are accordingly filled. there is no mandatory quarantine period.

A special attention must be paid to the International Health Certificate. In Italy it will be issued by Servizi Veterinari. I found a vet pretty uncomfortable with it stating that it was not needed as Argo had a Pet Passport. I insisted and finally he signed this:


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Holidays in Corfu, Greece

Finally we arrived in Corfu. We had booked a room in Pelekas for a couple of days, in Pension Martini. They are not officially pet friendly but they accept dogs and they have one as well. They have a garden but it is open and the street right in front of the entrance is not safe.

Pelekas is not on the seaside and you’ll need to take a minibus to reach Glyfada or Kontogyalos beaches. No one ever really bother about my dog on the bus.

In Kontogyalos beach dogs are not allowed. Nevertheless, this rule is not strictly respected and you will always cross some dogs playing on the sand and having a refreshing bath. No one ever pick up these dogs waste. I think there is no need to remind all of you the importance of picking up when our dogs left off especially on the seaside.

From Pelekas to Corfu you can take a bus. There as well, no one seems to be ennoyed by Argo. Corfu Town is pretty nice and worth a visit. Just pay attention to abandoned dogs.

We spent our last days in Corfu at Tonia’s House. They don’t have a website and we found them simply asking around. Their house is simply charming, it’s on the route between Pelekas and Kontogyalos. It is pink and has a unique view. Pets are allowed. They have a cat, pretty spoiled indeed eating very often some fresh fish! It is only at 10 minutes walk from the beach and we could finally adopt some more “pet-friendly” ( and “skin-friendly”) behaviours: we could enjoy some early sun (the bus from Pelekas Village to Kontogyalos starts serving from 11 am) with Argo having a bath and enjoying a long walk, back home, and then back again to enjoy the sunset.

Restaurants were not unfriendly, on the contrary. Cats and dogs are welcome and restaurants owners will invite you to leave them without any lace.

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A Ferry to Greece

Greece is the place to go during holidays: seaside, culture and excellent food. Why don’t share this pleasure with our “pets friends”?

If your pet is microchipped (or has a tatoo) and has its pet passport, then it fill all requirements to enter the Country.

Flights (at least, from Italy) are not that cheap. But ferries can be a nice alternative. I had travelled twice with Minoan Lines from Italy to Greece as a foot passenger: great experiences. So I have checked on the company’s website to see if pets were allowed on board:

PETSPets travel free of charge in specially designated kennels on the ship’s deck. Pets are not allowed in indoor public areas or cabins. Pet owners are responsible for feeding and pet hygiene. Pet owners are required to have their pet’s valid health papers with them.
 (from http://www.minoanlines.it/en/condiz.htm)

I have called the company and they added pets have a dedicated area, “The Dog’s Village”. Fine then.

But, as soon on board, I have realized that the Dog’s Village was occupied by deck passengers and hence dogs could stay exclusively inside their kennels. Furthermore, kennels available were not enough for all dogs on board and they were globally dirty.

On the other hand, tolerance on board was quite high. Even though pets were not allowed to enter inside the ship, many pet owners took their pets in indoor areas and no one ever asked them to respect the rules.

Deck passengers could sleep in indoor areas even with their pets and I have heard many dogs barking from cabins.

Kennels and Dog’s Village were already enough to think that traveling by Minoan Lines with a pet was not a good idea, but the real problem for Argo was.. the toilet. I assume that the Dog’s Village was the area dogs could use as “restroom” but it was completely “out of service”.

The rest of the ship was windy, noisy, crowded. Argo finally did what he needed to but others passengers looked at him (and at me) as we were totally impolite. I wish I could explain them that there was no other solution but I was so ashamed I just wanted to hide myself.

In order to calm down Argo during this 26 hours travel, I have used Bach Flowers Drops. This natural remedy makes that pets are less exited than usual but not sedate. I think now that combination of Bach Flowers, stress and the fact he could not urinate as he needed eventually has some hallucinatory effects: when he was running on the deck he started to bark insistently to a couple, then to everyone, and he seemed to be pretty aggressive. Then he stopped, and returned to be the dog I know.

by Charles Rassaert. All rights reserved.

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Have you ever…

Let’s share experiences! Australia and New Zealand seem pets paradises: a lot of space, sun and seaside.
Do you know if traveling with pets in those Countries is really pleasant or not? Is it expensive? Which are documents needed to travel inside Australia and New Zealand?
Your experience can be useful for other pet owners!

Have you ever travelled with your pet in Australia/New Zealand?

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Traveling with pets in France and in Italy by train

Pets are globally allowed to travel by train in France and in Italy.

In France a small fee is applied wheater in Italy it’s not needed. SNCF and FS will issue a ticket for your pet.

Pet passport is required but nobody ever checked it. It’s basically needed in case of a passenger would like to make sure your pet is vaccinated and hence not dangerous.

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Ireland, the place you can’t leave behind

Leaving Ireland with a pet is a nightmare.

Or, better, leaving Ireland with a pet and without a car is almost impossible.

We first called Brittany Ferries because we thought it was pretty obvious to travel by ferry back to France with our dog. I have spoken with someone in the Cork office and the answer has been something like: “Foot passengers can’t bring a dog on board, if you don’t know what to do, well, swim or stray it!”… and she hanged down the phone. Enough to be upset.

I tried with Air Lingus, the only company besides Ryan Air (not pet-friendly by policy) traveling at that time between Ireland and France, but they told that airplanes available to serve that trip were too small to accept pets on board. No way then.

Checked with almost all ferry companies from Ireland to France and it was impossible as foot passenger. Checked with all “rent a car” companies to see if I could rent one in Cork and drop it off in France and it was impossible as well.

We first thought to travel to Belfast, pick up a car in Cork, dropping it off in Belfast, take a ferry to Liverpool as UK ferries allows foot passengers to travel with pets and rent a third car to Dover where someone from my boyfriend’s family would have come to pick us up.

Finally we discover that Stella Lines ferries, serving from Rosslare to Fishguard in Wales, allowed foot passengers with pets.

We rent then a car in Cork, travel with a friend to Rosslare (so that pick up and drop off have been both in Cork), take a Stella Line ferry to Fishguard, rent a car there and take advantage of this forced trip to visit Wales. A stop in Cardiff sleeping at The Big Sleep Hotel, pet friendly, and than driving to Eastbourne (another big sleep in The Big Sleep Hotel) to be ready to drop off the car and take the ferry the day after.

My boyfriend’s family has been equally asked to drive from Paris to Calais, take a ferry to Dover, pick us up and then re-take the ferry back to France.

An odyssey but quite inconsistent in the end. Calling local authorities and ferry companies I discovered that if my Argo was not vaccinated against rabies but we were traveling by car and not planning to return in Ireland or in the UK, then he could have traveled outside the country without that much troubles.

Our trip has been quite nice in the end, but we keep a bad taste in our mouth because of those insistent comments about straying our dog … 

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Ireland, everybody loves dog. But NIMBY!

Dingle Peninsula. Charles Rassaert All rights reserved

Argo was born in Cork, Ireland, in August 2010. He was a present: a Jack Russel breeder wanted to thank us for our help in taking care of another Jack Russel, lost, until her owners came to pick her up.

So, even though we wished to have a dog one day, Argo arrived like a surprise, a Christmas present. A great responsibility and a great fun as well. No way we could really separate our nomad life and our life with Argo.

First short travel: from Cork to Dublin. Irish Rail allows small pets to travel in their own cage. Globally extremely friendly, none asked to see Argo’s passport. We didn’t have to pay anything for his “place” in the train.

by Charles Rassaert. All rights reserved.

It has been harder to find a place to stay for one night in Dublin. We called almost all low cost hotels in Dublin until we found “The AbbotLodge“. They don’t have a real pet-friendly policy but they do accept small dogs if required. No extra fee needed.

Second long travel: Ireland West Coast. Irish buses and trains don’t serve the whole island so renting a car seemed to be the only way to have a nice holiday in Ireland.

by Charles Rassaert. All rights reserved

First stop in Killarney: we found a very nice accommodation at Glenn Fia Country House. They are pet friendly so it was no need to bag them. Great location, not really central but beautiful, Argo could run happily in the big park that surrounds the B&B.

We continued traveling to Dingle Peninsula where we booked a lovely B&B at Inch. Inch Beach Guesthouse is not pet-friendly. BUT they are friendly in general! So, after had explained that Argo was a small home trained Jack Russel, they allowed us to spend a night in their beautiful b&b. We had also a very lovely surprise. We discovered that the mother-in-law of the owner loved Jack Russels and was an owner as well. But, becoming older, she decided not to own anymore yet she was still extremely curious about these lively dogs! Hence, we spend some time with her, making her happy with our common love, Argo! Inch peninsula is also a great place to see your dog enjoying. The long white sand beach, in front of the ocean, is the ideal place where your dog can run and meet friends. Just you, your dog and the ocean. What else?

Next stop: Galway. That has been a nightmare! I have called all b&b, hotels and hostels I found indicated in the French guide “Le Guide du Routard” but everybody was hanging the phone when they heard “I have a pet”. Really awful experience: friendly people becoming extremely unfriendly when hearing about a dog! My very last attempt was fine: a guesthouse at only 5 minutes walk from Galway city centre and 2 minutes from a small park where pets are allowed. Unfortunately, they don’t have any website. As soon as I will found their address I will post here. Wonderful people, they has a small Yorkshire. Argo could play wherever he wanted without restrictions.

by Charles Rassaert. All rights reserved.

Last stop: The Aran Islands. Argo was allowed to travel in the small ferry connecting Ireland island to Inis More Island. He was allowed in the only one hostel existing on the island as well, the Kilronan Hostel. Cheap dorms and cheap service. Luckily I had my dog sleeping with me to get some warm comfort. It was March and heating was off! BTW, we enjoyed with Argo beautiful Aran Cliffs. But be careful, pets are allowed but no protection is in place. We kept Argo in our arms all the time: the wind was so strong that he could fall from the cliff.

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Why Traveling with Pets?

Argo by Charles Rassaert. All rights reserved.

Why Traveling with Pets?

First of all, because we love pets. I am the proud owner of a lively Jack Russel named Argo and I love to travel. Despite all difficulties, I continue thinking that I can’t make it without his unconditioned love. Of course, it’s a great responsibility.

Then, I am traveling with Argo since last year and, until now, we have already seen together Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Every time we planned a trip we needed to adjust it because of restrictions about pets. Exceptions, non-sense laws, unfriendly pet-friendly hosts… It worths to have a place where we all can share tips and experiences. If our pet likes to travel, then why have we to choose between leave it to parents/friends or to a pet-pension?

So, feel free to comment and add useful tips about your travels with your pets!

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