When pets are part of the holiday, here’s how to keep them safe

Co-author: Dhayana Sena 

For many Kiwis, pets are very much a part of the family, and leaving them at home while the rest of the clan enjoys an escape just isn’t an option. If you do intend on whisking your furry friend away with you, a good deal of preparation and planning is a must to avoid any obstacles.  

Here, Canstar provides you with all the dos and don’ts when travelling with your pet. 

Before you travel

Organise documentation

Taking your pet away with you on holiday can involve a lot of paperwork. Before your trip, plan ahead by organising all the important documentation you need, such as, import and export documents, transit health certificates, permits, and quarantine provisions. 

Choose the right time

Like people, pets can suffer from travel anxiety. So, choosing the right time to travel and providing some pre-travel training can put anxious pets at ease. 

If you’re travelling in summer, avoid flights during the middle of the day, when your pets are likely to be the most active. If you’re travelling in the winter, avoid early or late-night flights to help keep your pets away from the cold. 

Get the vet’s approval

Older pets and those that are pregnant must be accompanied by a vet’s certificate, approving your pet’s fitness for travel. It’s incredibly important to have the vet make sure that your furry friend isn’t likely to get too sick, or to give birth while travelling on a plane.


There are some strict rules when it comes to travelling with pets, particularly when travelling by air. Different airlines will have their own set of guidelines and rules for pet travel so, be sure to do your homework prior to making your holiday booking. 

Pet Insurance

A must-do before leaving home is to make sure you have some good pet insurance in place – and check your policy carefully to make sure your pet is covered at all stages of the trip. Air travel in particular is something that could be mentioned in the policy conditions, and not all providers will cover it. An unfamiliar environment, with so much to explore, could also mean animals are more prone to accidents or illness.

Just like any other type of insurance, pet insurance benefits and exclusions can vary, so make sure to read the small print thoroughly and check for any restrictions, as well as, circumstances in which your pet may not be covered for. Some examples of restrictions include:

  • You may not be covered for emergency repatriation costs to return your pet home if they are sick or injured overseas.

  • You cannot go on long trips: most policies will restrict the length of time you can take your pet out of the country for – usually no more than 60 days.

  • You may not be able to claim for an incident that happened when your pet was not under direct care. If you go overseas without your pet, you should nominate an authorised person to look after your pet who can also speak to your insurer in case anything was to happen.

    Compare pet insurers with Canstar

During or after your holiday

Travel insurance

While pet insurance can be a big help in keeping your furry friend protected from unexpected accidents, illnesses or circumstances, having travel insurance can also come in handy.

There are a few travel insurance providers in New Zealand that may offer cover for your pets in certain situations. For example, if you choose not to travel with your pet, leave them at a kennel or cattery while you’re away, and then find that your trip home has been delayed significantly. 

In these situations, your travel insurance may cover you for additional kennel and cattery fees. 

Depending on your travel insurance policy, you’re typically covered for:

  • A set amount for kennel or cattery fees if you are delayed overseas beyond your original return date.

  • Any treatment your pet needs if they suffer an injury while you’re away. At the time of injury, your pet must be in the direct care of a relative, friend or cattery/kennel.

On the other hand, you wouldn’t be covered for:

  • Kennel or cattery fees outside of New Zealand.
  • Any animal other than a cat or dog.

Be sure to read your travel insurance policy carefully to find out what kinds of protection your policy offers. 

If you haven’t already purchased travel insurance, take a look at Canstar’s comparison tool and find the right type of travel insurance for you.

Compare travel insurance with Canstar


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