Every dog owner will know the guilt they feel for leaving their precious pooch behind. Even when they’re in the company of good hands you miss them! And upon your return you know you’ve done wrong when they give you a protest 💩 on the carpet, like “that’s for holidaying without me!”
We’re fortunate enough to have a small and quiet(ish) dog who is able to fit in my bag and sneak into places were not supposed to be in, but going abroad is a bit more difficult, especially living in the UK.
The first time we took Mash away was when he was 6 months to Paris. It was such a great experience (even though it rained an awful lot), we wanted to do it again before Brexit made it even harder to travel with a pet.
So, here we are, just before the Brexit deal, going to Spain for the first time with our dog. We thought with Mash being a city boy Barcelona would be a great destination to go sight seeing with him. There are lots of parks and it’s very outdoorsy so we shouldn’t have too much trouble with him going places.
It takes a while to prep for a trip abroad with your dog. There are a lot of rules and checks before you can even think about bringing them across the channel so here is a break down:
What you need?
In order to get you across to Europe, first you’ll need the following:
- Pet passport
- Rabies jabs (21 days before travel)
- Up to date booster jabs
- For your return to the UK you need to visit a vet for tapeworm tablet. It is vital to do this 24-120hrs before you travel back to the UK. Making sure the vet signs and stamps your pet passport recording the time and date the tapeworm was given. Avoiding this can mean you dog gets denied entry to UK and be put into quarantine.
- Travel bag big enough for your pet to turn in, but also check if the size is suitable to with the airlines you choose to fly with. We bought this.
How to travel?
Flying direct from London:
Now, life would be a lot easier if we could fly too and from the UK with our dogs but unfortunately, unlike Europe, they’re not allowed in the airports or aircraft, unless they are a licensed service dog. You can fly them as cargo on certain airlines direct from UK but u fortunately they’re not allowed There are restrictions and although not impossible to do, it does mean your dog will have to travel as cargo in most cases or in the hold. You can find companies who can fly your pet via cargo.
I mean how easy would it be if Eurostar actually allowed pets on their trains too? But sorry to say, thats not possible either. (Silly really, seen as dogs can travel on trains in both UK and France). Anyways NEXT!
Eurotunnel /Channel tunnel:
The best and hassle free way of traveling between the UK and Europe, is in fact the Euro Tunnel. We’ve done it twice now and it really is simples and your furry friend gets to ride by your side the whole way. I talk more about it in our Paris trip.
Flying from France
Once you’re in France, flying with a small dog (below 8kg) is a lot easier. Many airlines allow you to travel with your dog in cabin, by your feet! Woo! Finally!
16 Dog friendly airlines:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada
- Air France
- Air India
- Air Portugal (TAP)
- American Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Lufthansa Airlines
- Norwegian Airlines
- Swiss International Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
Step by step guide on how to travel from London to Barcelona:
Our guide below is for people who own a car. It is possible to catch a train to Folkstone and use a pet taxi service to get you through the Eurotunnel but this would be a lot more costly. I have provided links to websites we booked our tickets though. I hope this helps.
Step 1: Drive from London to Folkstone Eurotunnel
Step 2: Take the short ride through the Eurotunnel/ shuttle journey from Folkstone to Calais (approx: 35mins). At this point, you wont need to present the Pet Passport, this is more for the return.
Step 3: Drive from Calais to Ibis Style Hotel Lille (approx: 1hr30) where we prepaid for parking. They provide a free shuttle service from the hotel to Lille Airport.
Step 4: Once at Lille Airport, check in to your flight at the airline desk. We flew with Vueling airlines and arrived a couple of hours before departure, the process was very easy and smooth. Vueling seemed quite strict with luggage and kilos, we presented them with our passports including pet passport and they weighed Mash in his bag, he came to 7kg in total with the travel bag (they allow up to 8kg).
Note: Make sure you take your dog out for a pee break before going through security, it’s impossible to leave once you’re in and the next opportunity for your pet to toilet will be after you’ve landed at your destination. (allow extra time for this)
Step 5: Security, this was a pretty easy process too, standard like in London, you que for a bit, they scan your ticket and you’re not allowed liquids over 100ml. You place your personal items through x-ray, including dog lead and collar, so you will have to carry your pet through the metal detector.
Step 6: Passport control. We walked with Mash through the airport and only until we had to board the plane we placed him in his bag. Whether we were supposed to have him in his bag at all times, I’m not sure, but nobody said anything. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
Step 7: Boarding, this was the harder part. Mash was pretty emotional about being in his bag and not touching me, but he soon calmed down after 10mins and fell asleep for the rest of the flight.
Step 8: The flight went well and quite quick (1hr50)
After landing it was a long walk through Barcelona airport to the exit. There was no passport control which helped speed up our exit but my God that airport is HUGE!
Step 9: Final step is to take taxi from the airport to our hotel which is when the holiday really begun…
Step by step guide on how to travel back from Barcelona to London:
Two days prior to our return we made sure a registered vet gave Mash his tapeworm treatment and signed his passport. This cost (€3.50) and is necessary before entering the UK. You can be refused entry if your pet has not been treated so its important to get this done 24-120hrs before you return.
Step 1: Catch a Taxi to Barcelona airport.
Step 2: Let your dog have a pee break before checking in. We checked in with Vueling for our return again. It was a lot easier from Spain, they were more relaxed and didn’t bother weighing our bags or Mash this time, I’m not even sure if they checked Mash’s passport.
Step 3: Security check. Again, this was very easy. Bags x-rayed, collar and lead included, and then we carried Mash through detectors with us.
Step 4: Boarding. We had to place Mash in his bag at this point, we had him between our legs during the flight again but this time we left the travel bag open at the top and he didn’t cry once, he just barked at the weird noses the plane made and feel asleep for the whole flight. Poor guy is pooched at this point.
Step 5: Landing in Lille Airport, and this time you will need to go through passport control, but nobody looked at Mash’s passport.
Step 6: We then rang Ibis Style Hotel Lille who sent out their shuttle and bought us back to collect our car.
Step 7: From Ibis Style Hotel Lille we drove back to Calais to get the Eurotunnel (this was about 1hr30 drive and we paid a €9.10 toll this time round)
Step 8: Once we got close to the Eurotunnel we followed the signs to pet reception to check Mash in first.
They checked his pet passport and microchip and because all his documents were correct and he had the tapeworm the process was very quick and easy. They presented us with a ticket we had to display on the dashboard of our car and we went on our way. (Don’t forget to have a pee break).
Step 9: Finally got on the EuroTunnel from Calais to Folkstone and then drove all the way home 😍
It was a pretty lengthy process but keep organised and plan your tickets and timings in advance and it’ll be a smooth travel. Remember to leave plenty of time in between for any errors and stubborn dogs who won’t pee. Honestly, it’s worth it, you will have such a great adventure with your best friend. We wish you lots of fun and safe travels for your next furry trip.
We’ve written more about our holiday in Barcelona here. If you wanted to have a read. We loved our vaycay and hope you will enjoy reading about it. 😍
B and Mash ❤️