Pet Friendly Destinations – Top 10 International Picks For a Vacation With Your Pet
Thinking of traveling with your pet internationally? Here are the TOP TEN international destinations to travel with your pet, and information that will make entering these countries easy and without quarantine.
We are also including information that will help you pass through immigration with ease if you are visiting another country. Keep in mind that this information is subject to change. You can always send an email to Pet Travel inquiring about the latest requirements for travel to an international destination with your pet.
The travel industry knows that pets mean profits. The airlines also want your business as many as 95% of the world’s airlines will now transport your pet. If your dog or cat is small enough you can even take it in the cabin with you on many airlines.
The grand cities of Europe are all very pet friendly. Here are four countries and cities that deserve to be on the top ten list.
Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy are four of the most pet friendly countries we have visited. Traveling with your pet in Europe is easy as there are no longer any borders, so you can travel freely. Distances are small between the cities and even between countries. Getting around is easy as almost all European trains, buses and ferries accept pets on board.
PARIS is easily the most pet friendly city we have visited in Europe. You can dine at any of the thousands of sidewalk cafes in Paris, and you will see pets sitting by their masters or under the tables in nearly all of them. What’s more, in this the city of lights well behaved pets can dine inside the restaurant with their owners.
On a Sunday morning you will see well-dressed men and women walking with their very well-groomed pets on a leash out for a Sunday stroll and headed for the nearby park.
Visit the Montmartre district where artists have set up their easels on the sidewalk. For a few francs an artist will create an original painting of your favorite pet.
Immigration into France: To take your pet into France from the United States, Canada, or Mexico, you need just three things. Your pet must be micro chipped with an ISO 15 digit microchip, be vaccinated for rabies, and have the EU form of a veterinary health certificate for France. The immigration officer will just pass you through.
LAKE LUCERNE in Switzerland is well known for its beauty and the quality of its skiing. Rent a chalet for you and your pet near the lifts and you will have a great ski vacation. Just down the street will be a sidewalk cafe with a pet under nearly every table. If your pet does not have a thick coat, you will want to purchase it a nice warm coat to wear.
While visiting Switzerland you will want to see the famous banking capital of Zurich. But Zurich is famous for more than banks it is the home to many of the famous watch makers and chocolatier’s.
Switzerland is one of those countries where pets are just a part of everyday life. Due to its location it is just a short drive in a rental car or by train to either France or Italy.
Immigration into Switzerland: To take your pet into Switzerland from the United States, Canada, or Mexico, you need just three things. Your pet must be micro chipped with an ISO 15 digit microchip, be vaccinated for rabies and have the EU form of a veterinary health certificate for Switzerland. The immigration officer will just pass you through.
BRUSSELS is also on our list of top ten destinations. Although your pet may not be welcome in the museums, it will be welcome almost everywhere else. This is a walking city, and if you stayed for a month you would never run out of different places to visit with your pet. There are magnificent parks everywhere, take a walk through the famous antique flea markets, or stroll into Belgium’s past at Cinquantenaire Park.
Have you ever ridden a Segway? They look like an oversized skate board with a handle and an electric motor. Brussels is famous for the availability of these little devices that will scoot you around the city at a speed suitable for your pet to run alongside.
Brussels is also known for its exotic night life but you will need to hire a pet sitter as pets are not allowed in the night clubs.
Immigration into Belgium: To take your pet into Belgium from Mexico you need just three things. Your pet must be micro chipped with an ISO 15 digit microchip, be vaccinated for rabies and have the EU form of a veterinary health certificate for Belgium. The immigration officer will just pass you through.
MADRID is one of Europe’s oldest cities and worthy of a ranking in our top ten pet friendly places to visit. This is a city of plazas with fountains and statues everywhere. Spaniards love their pets, and they will love yours too if it is well behaved and friendly.
Take your pet on a walk to the Plaza Mayor the so-called “aristocratic centre” of Madrid, home to the stunning Royal Palace, a 17th century monument that combines Baroque and Classical styles. Next to the palace you can find the Plaza de Oriente (square), the Opera House and the modern Almudena Cathedral, consecrated in 1993 by Pope John Paul II.
Another option while visiting Spain is the beautiful Costa del Sol with beautiful white sand beaches running as far as the eye can see. And yes, your pet will be welcome on most of the beaches in the area so if you have a water dog, they will have a chance to sample the warm waters of the Mediterranean.
Immigration into Spain: To take your pet into Spain from the United States, Canada, or Mexico, you need just three things. Your pet must be micro chipped with an ISO 15 digit microchip, be vaccinated for rabies and have the EU form of a veterinary health certificate for Spain. The immigration officer will just pass you through.
The hotels in Europe are much more likely to make your pet welcome as it is such a common practice to take ones pet along on holiday. Or, you can book a lovely home or apartment, which are readily available if you are staying for a week or longer.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN in Mexico is a great destination for the lover of brilliant blue waters and white sand.
My little Shih Tzu named Ruggles and I lived there for a while, and there was virtually no place he was not welcome. If you need exercise there is a small partially outdoor gym where Ruggles would lie in the shade and wait for me. Down at the beach were dozens of small patio restaurants where Ruggles and I would share lunch.
On at least one occasion, we took the deluxe inter-city bus from Playa Del Carmen to Cancun. Ruggles occupied the seat next to me. Not sure if it was legal but no one said a word about it either way.
Nearby by are the Mayan Temples of Chichen-Itza. I do not believe that pets are allowed inside the grounds.
Within two or three kilometers are several caves with underground pools of water. I saw several pets during my visit to these caves.
COSTA RICA is a popular destination for traveling pet owners. Going through customs with your pet is little more than a wave of the hand. If you are looking for exciting gambling and night life, then San Jose is the place for you. There are plenty of pet friendly hotels in the city.
Most people who visit Costa Rica head for the rural areas where tall trees, beautiful birds and magnificent waterfalls are around every corner. Of course, don’t forget the rain forest where the brilliant blue butterflies flitter about the lush vegetation. Accommodations in these areas are less elegant but you will find several who will welcome you and your pet.
To enter pet friendly Costa Rica you will need a certificate of good health indicating that your pet if free from disease and has been properly vaccinated. Dogs must be vaccinated for rabies, distemper, hepatitis, lestospirosis, and parovirus, and cats must be vaccinated for rabies.
Rounding out our top ten favorite pet friendly destinations, we travel to the United States. You can bring your pet into the US with only a health certificate stating that it is healthy and has been vaccinated for rabies.
KEY WEST is probably the most pet friendly city in the States. This small town can only be called “laid back” where life goes at slower place. Your pet will be welcome in virtually every hotel, bed and breakfast and motel in the city. Every restaurant has an outdoor dining area where your pet will be welcome and some restaurants even allow small well behaved pets inside.
I visited the city a few years ago and while Ruggles and I were out for a walk I stopped in front of a somewhat elegant restaurant. I was studying the menu and the maitre de came out to speak to me. I asked if Ruggles would be welcome and his response was: does he like beef or chicken?
THE BIG APPLE – NEW YORK deserves a place on our list. It seems that everyone living in this bustling city has a pet. There are so many that the pet walkers will each have six or eight at one time on leashes out for their morning stroll. Sunday in Central park is doggie heaven. Your pet will meet and greet a hundred other pets during your stroll. Then you can stop at one of the outdoor cafes for “coffee and a roll”.
This is also the city for the elegant hotel and nowhere is pets more welcome than in an elegant hotel. The higher the price of the room, the more welcome the pet. However, there is a wide range of places where your pet will be welcome. Pet Travel lists over a hundred hotels that welcome pets.
A few years ago Ruggles and I stayed at one of the nicer hotels on Central Park. Late in the afternoon I went down to the bar for a cocktail and took Ruggles along. We were sitting in the bar when the manager came in. He gave Ruggles a little pat and said “I would much rather have a well behaved pet in my hotel than a small child who is not well behaved. ” This hotel, like many others, sent a bellman up to my room each morning to take Ruggles for a walk.
Some of the hotels in New York even have room service menus for pets!
ASHEVILLE, North Carolina well deserves a place on the top ten list. More than 50% of the accommodations in Asheville accept pets attesting to its claim as one of America’s most pet friendly cities. For the traveling pet owner who loves golf this is a top choice.
During the summer Asheville features a number of outdoor concerts, street fairs, and festivals where your pet will be welcome.
SAN DIEGO is only a short distance from our border. This metropolitan city on the ocean has not one but two “doggie beaches”. There are hundreds of pet friendly accommodations in the city and in the surrounding areas. On a recent visit with my new pet also a Shih Tzu whose name is Bear; we stayed at the Sophia Hotel which could not have been more pet friendly. The young women who manned the front desk always stopped to talk with Bear and even offered to babysit him.
Each day we walked to one of the dozen or so outdoor cafes for lunch or dinner. Almost the first thing they would do was to bring Bear a bowl of water.
BEING A COURTEOUS TRAVELING PET OWNER
The range of accommodations and traveling options available to the traveling pet owner continues to expand because these businesses recognize the value of your business. However, you have a responsibility to be a courteous and caring pet owner. Don’t let your pet be a nuisance by letting it roam loose or by barking. And, rule number one, be sure to pick up after your pet.
Visiting these pet friendly cities will make for a vacation that you will never forget. Be sure and book your airline tickets early if you are traveling by air. Most of the airlines have a limit to the number of pets per flight. In addition, call or email the pet friendly hotel you are staying in to confirm their pet policies so there will be no surprises at check in.
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