21 Pet Travel Tips from onward travel proof, Pet Insurance, saving ATM fees, forwarding luggage and more.
How to Get Through TSA Security Check Point with Your Pet
Your pet must go through TSA Security. Some airports allow a private screening in a separate room so you can remove and replace your pet in a secure room. You can either have your pet on a leash and walk them into the screener or carry your pet through. Place your Bags, shoes first. Separate your pet food items and electronics in another bin. Keep your lease/harness on the outside of the carrier. When you put your bags on the conveyor belt, you don’t want to scramble to get your leash. TSA may ask you to remove their collar. Collars with metal such clasps or Rabies Tags will be detected, and you may be subject to additional pat-down or inspection. A Velcro-type harness works well instead of a collar with metal. Put the carrier on the x-ray conveyor belt first so, it is ready when you get through security, and you don’t have to wait to put your pet back in its carrier. Even for Cats that you intend to carry through, have a harness/leash on them. If you are picked for screening, often TSA Agents may not easily let you place your pet back in the carrier before your pat-down. Working Canines are regularly at Security Check Points. Keep a leash handy even if you intend to carry your pet through x-ray. Often, the presence of a working dog can scare or spook your pet.
I’ve been traveling full time for 3 years and sometimes with my Pets: Chihiro and Sophie. Here are my Tips for flying and travel with your Pet from my years of international travel with and without my pets.
1. How to Find the Best Airline Seat for a Pet In Cabin.
Seat Guru helps me find the best seats on nearly any aircraft, especially for Pets. Everyone knows first-class seats are larger than Economy, but did you know that not every seat in Economy has the same dimensions?
The larger the seat, the more room for your Pet’s carrier in cabin. On some aircraft the window seat has more room under the seat in front of you—sometimes it’s the aisle.
Use a seating app like Seat Guru to guarantee the perfect seat placement for you and your furry companion. Often, a couple extra inches of room under the seat in front of you makes a huge difference.
I travel full time and sometimes with my two cats: Chihiro and Sophie. I have researched a number of pet health insurance policies and very few covered my pets while traveling out of Colorado where I am from.
I finally found Eusoh. They not only cover both my cats, but the price is affordable and they are covered wherever we travel, including overseas! Here’s a link if you would like to check them out.
3. Best Affordable Travel Insurance for You
I travel full time (sometimes with my Pets and sometimes solo. I have traveled to Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Mexico and now am in Thailand.
I always need a Nomad insurance plan, sometimes for coverage and sometimes just to satisfy entry requirements for a new country. I always use Safety Wing and they have never let me down. Claims are easier than some I have tried such as AXA and the cost is affordable.
4. What if there is a Last minute change to your Pet’s flight?
Last minute cancellation? While everyone else is standing in line at the airport to rebook waiting for their turn with the reservationist, contact the airline directly on Facebook, they often respond faster.
If you’re waiting in line, search for alternative flights so you can get the route you want, not just the one the airline offers. Maybe you can get an overnight hotel stay instead of a red-eye flight the same day.
5. What is Proof of Onward Travel and Do I Need It?
What happens if you fly with a one-way ticket and the airline requires proof of onward travel?
What if the country I am flying to requires proof of onward travel but, I do not have a ticket or plans yet for my next destination?
Proof of Onward Travel required by most Countries and airlines is proof of a flight, bus or train out of the country when your tourist visa expires.
This is hard when you aren’t sure when you will leave or where you’re going next.
Sites such as BestOnwardTicket book the flight ticket for you, forward the proof of booking to you via email and they cancel 24-48 hours later—all for about $15usd.
You can always book the return or onward flight yourself, but these sites save you the wait time to get a refund or if you forget to cancel the ticket in 24 hours after you land because you’re busy getting settled into your new destination.
They do it for you for a small fee. I’ve used this many times with no issue and I always get the booking email confirmation within a couple of hours.
This way, you arrive for your flight, show the proof of onward travel and the booking site cancels the booking 24-48 hours later. This gives you flexibility plan your next destination.
6. Do Airline Booking Sites Have Flights for All Airlines?
NO! Many travelers think Booking Sites (Online Travel Agencies,OTAs) like Google Flights, Kayak, Hopper, Expedia, SkyScanner, Expedia have fares for every airline.
Many Airlines such as Southwest Do Not allow Booking Sites to advertise or sell their flights.
They don’t want to compete with Airline Booking Sites or don’t want to pay a commission. Some airlines allow a limited number of routes and planes to show on booking site searches.
You want to check for fares directly with the airlines you are familiar with or that you think will fly to your destination.
Often, these fares are cheaper. Flying with Pets requires you to be flexible and check all airlines, not just fares on Booking sites.
Many ATMs ask you to accept or decline 2 charges. We are used to just hitting “accept” the fee to get cash.
Many foreign ATMs, they ask you to accept or decline 2 fees. Many travelers do not notice the second is optional.
You should Accept the 1st request (bank’s fee for withdrawal) but, REJECT the 2nd request to accept the CONVERSION fee.
This 2nd request changes the rate to one even more favorable to the bank. Decline the Conversion and you still get your money but only pay the ATM fee.= you get more cash.
Next, bank fees at ATMs charge 1 of 2 ways, either a fee per transaction or a fee that is a percentage of the amount of cash your withdraw. If it is a fee per transaction, take out as much as you can–as much as you feel safe carrying because the fee is the same if you take out $50 or $200.
If the fee is a percentage, then look for the lowest rate atm and take out only what you need.
10. How Do I Avoid Paying International Fees on my Credit or Debit Card?
When traveling internationally and paying for something with your card, a waiter or retailer may ask if you want the payment charged in your currency.
Always choose to have the payment made in the local currency because you get a better exchange rate for your meal or purchase.
If you opt to pay in your home countries currency, you get a lower exchange rate and pay more!
11. How to Find the Best Pet Relief Areas at Airports?
Many airports have escorts who can take you and your pet to a relief area outside of security, which removes the need to go back through long lines at TSA.
If your airport doesn’t have a post-security relief area available or the ones before TSA are nicer, it may be worth it to ask about this service.
Often the best relief areas are located before security controls.
I use this handy website for road trips. Just tell WithHours where you are now, how far you want to drive, and it tells you interesting places, rest stops, restauants in driving distance of where you are.
14. Incognito Mode
Airline websites set cookies tracking your searches for flights. They remember what flights you last searched for. Use incognito mode so it looks like a first search, and you may get a better rate.
Don’t forget to download Google maps before you arrive for off-line use in your destination. Wifi in airports is spotty at best. For those inevitable times when wifi is weak or you haven’t gotten a local sim card yet.
You can download your city with directions to your hotel or directions for the taxi or bus so you can settle in your first day with less hassle.
A Charles Schwab account reimburses all international atm fees—all! I get reimbursement once a month for every fee I pay at ATMs.
I needed to open a brokerage account, transfer some funds to use for your travel, they send you a debit card and boom—no more dreaded ATM fees or searching for the cheapest ATM in the city.
17. Working in a foreign country?
You will likely need a Criminal Background Check from your home country. If you plan to work in your new country, take the time to get a criminal background check completed before you leave.
You may not need it but, when you do, often you must get it directly from you home country.
It’s easier (time and cost) while you’re in the new country than when long-distance. Particularly relevant for English Teachers abroad.
18. Why Traveling on the First Flight of the Day is Best.
When flight attendants travel on stand-by, they generally try to get on the first flight of the day, I do too.
It may be early, but these flights are usually cheaper because fewer people voluntarily pay to wake up and travel to an airport before 7 a.m.
These flights also have a higher “no-show” factor from other travelers, which accounts for passengers who overslept or decided the night before they weren’t taking their flight but, failed to cancel that reservation, so they just don’t show up.
This allows a higher likelihood for empty seats that could be given to those waiting on stand-by or gives me and my pet more space in flight.
Also, the first flight of the day is much more likely to be on time than those later in the day.
This is because often that aircraft remained overnight at the airport and is already in position for your morning flight.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you to take an early morning flight, when weather delays a flight, airlines are not required to pay for a hotel or meals.
Booking the first flight gives the whole day to work with when finding another flight.
19. Why You Should Book Your Pet Travel Directly with the Airline
If there is a problem with getting a reservation for your pet, those who book directly with the airline will likely be given preference for that spot over someone who booked through a third-party (Expedia, Agoda).
If there is a delay or change in your flight arrangements, you can go directly to the airline. If you booked through a consolidator, the airline may tell you to go to the company you booked with.
If you booked directly, you only have to go to the airline.
They favor their customers and while another person is contacting the third-party, you are in direct contact.