Alternatives to moving your pet by air

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated: March 8, 2023 / Published: December 28, 2020

Many pet owners regard the thought of their four-legged friends traveling in the cargo of a plane as pretty scary. The U.S. Department of Transportation published in 2019 that 404,556 animals were transported by airlines. 11 of these pets died, and eight got insured. While these low numbers show that air travel is pretty safe for pets, you still might feel uncomfortable imagining your pet in the sky and its stress on the plane. Some of our furry friends have preconditions, are a bit older or snub-nosed – these are all factors, which put your pet into a category of higher risk for a safe flight. Talk to your vet before making this decision, and take your time to make the best decision for your animal. But if you don’t want your animal to fly, what alternatives exist out there in the pet shipping world? We will give you an overview.

Take the train

It might be a possibility for you to carry your  pet by train. For example, with the railway company Amtrak, you can take your pet for just $26. This offer covers pets up to 20 pounds, which includes the weight of the carrier. The pet ticket is available on almost all routes, up to 7 hours. The company only allows a limited number of pets on every train. So book in time! 

Traveling by train is usually very comfortable for pets. They usually can be placed directly on your side so that you can calm them down in case they get stressed out by the unusual situation. Some train travel services take breaks for pet travel in the summer if they can’t regulate the heat in their trains well. Best to call ahead when you are booking to see if this is an option on the route you choose. 

Pet Shipping with CitizenShipper

If you are taking the train, inform yourself about the specific requirements for your pet and your equipment. For example, Amtrak allows hard and soft-sided carriers with a maximum size of 19″ long x 14″ wide x 10.5″ high, which must be leak-proof, well ventilated, and big enough so your pet can lie, stand and sit in it without touching the sides. Your pet has to be at least eight weeks old, and you must be able to certify its health and all necessary vaccinations. If you are traveling internationally, you should look at the specific guidelines for each country and region: For example, in Europe, it’s usually easy to take pets on the train; no carrier required. In Canada, most of the pets have to travel with baggage. 

Travel on the water

If you want to travel overseas, you could consider going by water; however there are only a few cruise lines that accept pets on board except for assistance dogs and other comfort animals

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, which travels between New York and South Hampton, England, allows pets with prices ranging between 800 and 1000 USD. Perfect, if you plan to relocate to Europe and are happy to spend some money on your puppy’s well being. A kennel master onboard takes care of all of your pets’ needs on the journey. The ticket includes a gift pack with gadgets like a QM2-logoed coat and a frisbee, as well as a complimentary portrait, a crossing certificate, and a personalized cruise card.

For shorter travels, several ferries are open for pet transport, for example, the North Carolina Ferry System, the Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket ferries, and the San Francisco Bay Ferry. Depending on the cruise line and way of traveling (i.e. by car), some ferries request your pet to stay in the vehicle.

If you are considering traveling with a cruise line, contact them in advance to find out their policies and about their kennel facilities. 

Go by car

Traveling by car is probably the cheapest option and gives you the highest flexibility if you don’t have to travel overseas and is suitable for all kinds of pets of all different sizes. Stick to these simple rules for a fail-safe journey. 

First of all, no matter the kind of pet you have or what size it is, it will be the safest in a travel crate that is secured well to the back seat. Some carriers have specifically designed fixings for this job, but you can also simply use ropes or bungee cords. Having well-fixed carriers will also help your pet against motion-sickness. Make sure that you take breaks regularly on your road trip. Your pet will need it!

If you don’t have the time to move your pet yourself, there is the possibility of hiring a professional pet shipper to relocate your pet. Many professionals off pet transportation, and through their experience and knowledge, they know how to keep your furry friend safe and happy. 

Shipping marketplace CitizenShipper, allows you to find a qualified driver in your area.  You can discuss the details of your pets’ travel directly with the driver. While it can be hard to give your puppy to a stranger, the platform allows you direct contact with our pet shipper so you can get updates on the pet on its way!

We wish your pet a safe trip!