Travelling With Your Pet? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 31 July, 2023

Taking a holiday with your pet in tow is no longer cause for judgey stares. Here’s what you need to know to have a happy holiday with your furkid.

Our pets are becoming increasingly important members of our households, with some – like those with double income, no kids, with a dog (DINKWADS) – even choosing furkids as replacements for human children.

It’s no wonder, then, that taking your pet with you on holiday is a growing trend; cruise operator Condor Ferries estimates that as many as 53% of pet owners take holiday with their pets, prompting a rise in pet-friendly accommodations.

If you’re mulling jumping on the (furry) bandwagon, you probably have questions about how it’s going to work out. We’ve got you covered!

Can I purchase travel insurance for my pet?

Unfortunately not – travel insurance is reserved for humans only. Your pet cannot be covered under your travel insurance policy, not even as a travelling companion.

If you have a pet insurance policy (or are thinking of getting one), you may be able to use that as a stand-in. Pet insurance policies typically cover accidental death of your pet, as well as vet costs due to injury or sickness.

Many also come with third-party liability cover, which provides a degree of protection against claims of damages or losses caused by your pet – useful if your pet gets overly excited and knocks over some poor old granny. Another common benefit is loss of your pet due to theft.

However, it is not a standard practice that your insurer extends coverage to geographical regions outside of Singapore. They may also only honour some claims (like accidental death) and not others (such as losing your dog due to theft overseas).

Hence, you should check with the insurer to be sure – see if you are able to purchase an overseas or travel add-on.

If your insurer flat out refuses to insure your pet outside of Singapore, know that you’ll be proceeding at your own risk.

Is my pet allowed to board the plane (or ship) with me?

Well, that depends.

Once again, there are no standard practices regarding this. Some operators are ok with pets coming on board, while others may not be.

If you’re travelling by air, it’s up to the airline you’re flying with. Airlines may allow pets to accompany you in the cabin if they do not exceed a certain size, are not classified as dangerous animals, and are allowed to enter the county you’re flying to.

Otherwise, pets that are authorised for travel, but oversized, will have to be placed in the plane’s cargo hold – properly contained in a crate, of course.

Be aware that this will be stressful for your pet, as it will be forced to spend a prolonged duration away from you, in an unfamiliar environment.

Changes in air pressure and temperature can also be a source of anxiety and discomfort, and may even lead to serious issues such as improper breathing, overheating and loss of life.

Apparently, pet deaths due to air travel are common enough for airlines to ban certain dog and cat breeds that are more prone to respiratory distress, such as pugs.

In contrast, cruises and land travel are safer and more comfortable for pet animals – provided the operator allows them on board, of course.

If you’re taking a road trip using a rental car, be sure to check if animals are allowed in the vehicle, or you may risk getting slapped with a cleaning fee or a fine.

Related to this topic: 5 Best Travel Insurance Plans for Cruise-to-Nowhere Holidays (2023)

Do I need to purchase a ticket for my pet?

In most cases, you would not need to purchase a separate ticket for your pet.

Airlines would, instead, treat your pet as extra luggage, and will charge a fee based on the weight and size of your animal. This would include the weight of the carrier or crate used to contain your pet during the flight.

Some airlines charge a flat fee for travelling pets; this might be a more budget-friendly option if your animal happens to be on the larger and heavier side.

As for cruise ships and trains, you’ll need to check with the operators. Some may ask you to purchase an additional ticket, or charge an extra fee for your pet.  Others may allow your pet to travel for free.

What else do I need to do to prepare my pet for the trip?

Your pet doesn't need a passport to travel, but there are other travel documents you will need to prepare. What’s required exactly will differ depending on your destination, so do check the customs requirements of your host country before you fly.

Some common documents include: pet import licence, recent health checkup, up-to-date vaccinations (including rabies), microchip and registration number. Also, find out if your pet is required to be quarantined, and make the relevant arrangements.

Consider printing out copies of receipts, doctor’s reports, vaccination certificates, declaration forms and all relevant documents for easy reference to help smoothen the process of getting your pet through customs.

Related to this topic: Guide To Vet Clinics In Singapore: How Much Does It Cost To Treat Your Sick Pets

Travelling with your pet can add up

Needless to say, bringing your pet on holiday will mean incurring extra costs. This can take a chunk out of your carefully saved up holiday budget.

To avoid any unexpected expenses, you should make all necessary preparations before embarking on your trip.

Try to pay off everything beforehand, that way you can better focus on your holiday once you finally get there.

Read these next:

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Your Travel Insurance Can Cover

Best Credit Cards For Pet Owners

4 Best Pet Insurance Plans To Protect Your Furkids 2023

Travel Insurance Add-ons: Which Ones are Worth Your Money?

Compare Pet Insurance (2023): AIA, CIMB, Aon, & Liberty

An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.


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