We travel everywhere with our dog, Leon. It’s kind of our thing… We’re a digital nomad couple who travel the world with our dog in tow and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It sounds kind of weird at first, but if you meet him at an airport or on the subway, trust me your day will be made! We’ve gotten a lot of questions along the way, so I thought I would share those questions and answers here!
How are you able to fly with your dog and where does he sit? Do you have to pay for him and isn’t that expensive!?
- The dog must be well-behaved, listen to the owner’s commands, not bark, and do well on flights.
- Sit on your lap or at your feet and not impede the space of other passengers. Basically, the size of the animal cannot exceed the “footprint” of the passenger’s seat (this means you probably wouldn’t have a bigger dog do this, plus, there is only so much space at your feet on airplanes). (Leon is 23 lbs)
- Of course, carry all the ESA paperwork with you and the additional paperwork the airline may require.
- The dog has to be small enough to fit in a carrier and go underneath the seat in front of you on the ground. Also, the dog cannot come out of the carrier at any point during the flight.
- If your dog is larger, you essentially check the dog as “luggage” in a crate and they go underneath the plane. Both of these options have fees (different for each airline) and can be quite pricey, plus, neither of them sound like great options… I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a crate underneath the plane wondering what the heck is going on.
When we fly, I bring a folder of all the necessary documents with us. My process goes like this:
- If going internationally, I first look up the country’s dog requirements and if it’s cool if he goes.
- When we book flights, I notify the airline we’ll be bringing an ESA through the booking process.
- I immediately look up what paperwork the airline requires and send it in.
- 3 days before departure, I call the airline just to make sure they have a record of the paperwork sent in and that Leon is going with us (this is just to double-check they got it)
PET TRAVEL TIP: Some airlines can only have a few dogs on board, so you’ll want to make sure you notify them when you book the flight.
How does he do on flights?
Leon is seriously the best flying buddy! HE’S BEEN ON 62 FLIGHTS (and counting!) and to 3 countries so far. He is also the most chill flyer ever. We’ve had people sitting in the same row as us not realize he was sitting on our lap. People always comment on how surprised they are to see how good he is on flights. He loves walking on the plane and greeting everyone as he walks down the aisle. It’s the cutest thing ever and I’m certain he puts everyone in a happier mood! You can just see people smiling and laughing as he jots down the aisle like he owns the place. We also have an airplane pad (foam padding with a pillowcase over it for him to sit more comfortably) on one of our laps. As soon as the plane begins to take off, he looks out the window and watches, lays down, and then sleeps the whole flight. He’ll get up every once in a while to change positions. Seriously, the best!
How does he go to the bathroom when you travel? What do you do about long flights?
Obviously, if we had a really long flight, he’d have to go to the bathroom at some point and he hasn’t yet mastered the airplane toilet (I wish!). So, we always limit flight time to 4 hours or less. If we’re going somewhere that the flight will take longer, we’ll just choose to have a layover with enough time to walk him around between flights.
You can find a list of airport pet relief areas HERE.
What do you do if you’re on a road trip and stop to go inside a store or restaurant?
And we just started an Instagram account for Leon because we can haha so check out that hilarity if you’d like. He’s @leongoesplaces
If you have any other questions, let me know! I’m happy to answer them.