4 Legged travelers

I guess its the first time we write ACTUAL travel tips and not our own adventures, it was time to starts and no better way to do so than in memory of our best Co-Pilot and true travel companion, Bali.

As many already know, Bali passed away 2 months and a half ago, leaving us with a huge hole in our hearts and lives. Of course there are dogs out there who have seen the world, much more than Bali, but that doesn’t take credit of her travels around Central, South and North America!

We’v got overwhelming feed back about traveling with our canine companions, from if its safe for them, if its a hustle for us and how complicated it actually is, for some, we are weirdos, for others we are just like them.

For a start I wouldn’t imagine going on a trip with out Bali, now Alaska and in the future with what ever animal is our lives, they bring us that joy that some humans can’t give us. Sometimes when we were feeling down, we would hug Bali and know that everything was fine.  This is her travel story, starting when she was 28 days old in Nicaragua.

When I found her she was a baby, I was staying in a Hostel in Granada, Nicaragua, and the first problem I thought about was ‘they are going to kick me out of the hostel and I won’t have were to go!’ (This was prior we started traveling in a van) well, I got to the hostel and everybody greeted me with huge smiles and wanting to play with the fresh born pup! so the first problem was solved, puppies are cute, end of story, everybody loves them and you will get more out of a puppy than by your self! 2nd problem a head, in 2 days I was crossing to Costa Rica, and legally, pets cannot travel until they have the 1st rabies vaccination (%99 of the countries will at least ask for this) so how in the world I was going to cros with a 29 day old pup when they get the first shot when they are 4 months?! Well, I made some space in the top part of my back pack, hoped on a bus and when I was reaching the border I put her in there and preyed to a god that I don’t believe in, for her to go a sleep and don’t cry in that 5 minute that the crossing takes. Cleared that, she came out of the back pack in Costa Rica and she was safe and sound!

We stayed in CR for several months, traveling on a car, busses, staying in friends houses and hostels, we never had a problem! When my Central American trip ended, it was her time to go back home, not hers, but mine, down south in Argentina! This was our first encounter with flying dogs .I bought my ticket thinking on her, so the fastest and less overlays direct flights back there and always checking on the airline policy on pets.

I had to ger het a create, a vets medical authorization and have all her vaccines up to date, all that cost us little more than U$100 total, her ticket from CR to Argentina was U$120. So putting in perspective, it wasn’t expensive to fly her home.

When we traveled in south America she was clear in Argentina so we had to do some paper work for Chile and Uruguay, nothing out of this world, in fact same things, get a vet to give us a heath certificate and have all vaccines up to date, we were traveling on cars and our van there, so no tickets involved or what so ever. Although we had to stay in some hotels, some of them were pet friendly and she was able to go in the room with us, some of them weren’t so we would sneak her in (yes, its not the best thing, but…….)

I guess our biggest hustle was to fly her from Argentina to the States, and not because the States is strict or what so ever (thing that I had nightmares about) it was because a shitty Argentine policy about pet exports were you have to go through an export oficial, and they overcharged the hell out of us. That was an expensive ticket for her.

So if you are planing to fly your pet out of Argentina I would suggest you to choose to fly out from chile or Uruguay better. From the standard U$120 the airline charges you for the airfare of the pet and the vets medical letter (in argentina that was CHEAP!) they added a ‘safety create’ (U$500) the export guys who did ‘all the paperwork’ charges us U$1200 so her trip ended up costing us something like U$2000. if we would have know that beforehand we would have taken of from Uruguay and al this bullshit would have cost us not more than U$200. It is your dog, so no matter what, we wanted her with us, in the safest and fastest posible way.

Once we were in the States we crossed to Canada, we had all her papers in order with the vets letter and the vaccines and all but they never cared less about Bali, this was their reaction ‘ohhh you have a dog in the van!’ CAS: ‘yes!’ CO: ’that cute! Whats her name?’ Bla bla bla they never asked a paper from her. Same thing when we re entered into USA and same thing when we crossed to Mexico!

When we came from Mexico back to the States, Bali was gone… but we had Alaska, and she was under aged for traveling. We forced some papers just because the States asks you to have the rabies vaccine for at least 1 month, so on her paperwork we listed that she was 1 month older and had the vaccine 1 month ago, she really had it 2 days ago… well, again, they didn’t even notice there was a puppy in the van, we told them, and they still didn’t care.

So, bottom line about crossing borders with dogs, its easy, inexpensive and normally people are friendly about it! Unless you are flying out from Argentina OR going into Australia or New Zealand!

Australia and New Zealand policy about pet imports are very strict, were there are breeds and ‘lookalike’ pets that are forbidden to import, on top of that, the paper work you have to show is a lot of medical examinations, blood tests and things that can take over a month prior your trip to get and once you land there, your pet MUST go on a 30 day quarantine facility. that the basic reason Bali didn’t join us on our 3 month trip to Australia and why Alaska is not coming with us neither, but staying with a lovely family who have 2 dogs who play with her and love her.

All the rest is pure pleasure, been able to experience our travels with Bali was priceless! of course it might hold you back from one thing or another, but its even easier than traveling with kids honestly!

Thing to have in mind when you travel with your pets

  • If you are staying in hotels, look for for pet friendly hotels, you will find more than one option!
  • It would be harder to travel on a car, since its a compact place, but a van well ventilated is OK for them to stay in up to a couple of hours. Just make sure to leave it in the shade if its warm weather and leave them with food and water.
  • If you are flying into AU or NZ its very difficult to have all the paperwork done, and its expensive.
  • If you are flying our from Argentina, its expensive, consider flying out from Uruguay or chile, will save you several thousand dollars
  • Average price for a dog to fly U$120 internationally (can be little more on if the dog is heavy or less if its a small dog) Vets cost for medical letter is not expensive, changes on the country but its docent add to the total.
  • What helps a lot if you are thinking on taking your pet on a trip, make the kennel their bed, that way they are used to the kennel before hand the trip.
  • In NP in the States, pets are not allowed on trails, so your trails are going to be a little shorter than usual.
  • Small dogs can even fly in cabin with you
  • And always check the airline policy and the country were you are fling before buying the ticket! Its a google question away



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