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What Time of Year is Best for Moving My Pet to Another Country?

Published on: October 31, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel


The decision to move overseas doesn’t always come with a choice of timing. If your employer says you are being transferred, you have to go when they say. On the other hand, families sometimes choose on their own to move to another country. They want to experience a new culture or learn a new language. Whatever the reason, moving house involves pet travel if you have four-legged family members. 

So if you do have a choice, what time of year is the best for moving your pet to another country? That depends – on where you live now and also where you’re headed. It might even depend on points in between if your pet’s trip will include a stopover or multiple airplane flights. Why? One word: weather.

Weather Limitations

Extreme weather can become an issue when it comes to booking cats and dogs for an airplane journey. The airlines are responsible for your furry family member’s safety and comfort, just as you want them to be. The plane’s cargo hold where animals travel is temperature-controlled and pressurized, like the main cabin. But animals can be exposed to the elements as they are transported in their kennels to and from the plane. Occasionally, they have to wait for a few minutes on the tarmac. Here is an article that details which airlines that will let your pet travel with you

This is not acceptable when conditions are very hot or very cold. So airlines typically refuse to transport animals if it’s above 85 degrees or below 40 degrees. This becomes a problem for pet travel because you cannot predict the weather precisely. If your cat or dog is booked on a flight and the weather forecast is too high or too low that day, they won’t be able to travel after all. This applies to the origin, destination, and connecting flights. You’ll have to monitor this on a day-by-day basis.

This is one of many reasons why working with an international pet transport company is so valuable. They deal with these issues all the time. They can help you choose the pet itinerary least likely to be affected by the weather and care for your pet if their plans are interrupted. 

Note that these issues do not apply to pets traveling with you in the airplane’s main cabin. So if your cat or small dog is allowed to fly in-cabin with you, and you expect to travel during iffy weather, you might want to forego cargo transport. But consider all the pros and cons before you decide. A move overseas is likely to involve lengthy flights, long waits, and even longer hikes from gate to gate or baggage claim. The farther you have to carry your pet, the heavier they will feel.

In addition, in-cabin pets are considered to be your carry-on. So you won’t be able to take items you might normally pack to keep with you during your flight. You will have to pack a portable water dish, some food, a leash, and perhaps a toy. And you’ll need to do some advanced reconnaissance to learn where the “pet relief” area is at any airport along your journey. After all, your pup or kitty will need a potty at some point.

Holiday Chaos

Key holidays are traditionally the heaviest travel periods, no matter where you are. More people, more luggage, and more chaos. During these times, chances are greater you may not be able to get a reservation for your pet. Although every airline has different rules, they all limit the number of pets that can travel on any given flight. They limit the number in cargo, and they limit the number in-cabin as well. We listed the pet policies for some major airlines here

If you make your pet’s in-cabin reservation early enough, you should not have a problem. (Be sure to re-confirm as your pet's travel date gets closer.) However, pets traveling in the cargo hold can sometimes get bumped if there isn’t enough room for them. This is something you cannot predict or control, and it could happen at any point on your pet’s itinerary.

This is one reason you’ll be happy to have a professional animal shipper in your corner. They’ll have your back if something goes askew with your pet’s journey. You’ll have peace of mind and you can focus on keeping your own travel plans on track.
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