We made it through our night flight to Budapest. Our entire journey took about 16 hours from door to door – and I have to admit, it was a bit rough. Our flight went from Toronto to Amsterdam to Budapest. We’ve never traveled with so much luggage AND a dog. We were sweaty, tired, a wee bit cranky but pretty happy upon arrival. Lucy (our dog) was amazing. Not an accident or single complaint at all!
Our 5 checked bags. We had two more for carry on along with our laptop bags and the dog.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve had a successful take-off on this first Nightflight to “Budapest”
Our flying time will be 16 hours. We’ll be travelling at a speed of 2183 miles per second.” – with apologies to Boney M
Our car picked us up at the airport and we arrived at our lovely, spacious, but FREEZING apartment. We successfully restarted the gas boiler and then hit the streets in search of a hot beverage while we waited for our apartment to heat up. We found a lovely tented area just down the block to have a mulled wine and a beer. Perfect.
The view from our balcony on Raday Street in Budapest’s 9th District
After our drinks, we came back to the apartment where we started to unpack our bags and then proceeded to promptly fall asleep until about midnight. Of course, we then spent a few hours up in the middle of the night – hungry – as our bodies aren’t used to the six hour time difference yet. Since we are typically morning people, we were astonished to wake up the next morning around 11:30am.
The next day
We got dressed, headed off to the nearby dog park and then walked a few blocks east to the Danube for a coffee (coffee is so very good in Budapest). We went to do small grocery shop at Tesco, dropped the dog back off at the apartment and went in search of some freshly made goulash soup. We tried at first to go to the “For Sale Pub” – a quirky touristy spot with autographed papers everywhere – but it was packed full. Instead, we ate at the cosy “Paris Texas” on Raday Street. The soup came from the restaurant next door and it was delicious!
A very jet-lagged Aniko and Andrew by the Danube
Two very tasty goulash soups on a rainy first evening in Budapest
Once our bellies were full and warm, we headed back “home” for more unpacking, did a little bit of work online and then collapsed into our bed… only to wake up again in the middle of the night. *sigh*
As we get closer to the “big move”, we find ourselves making our final visits to doctors and dentists. Moving with a pet from Canada to Europe is not difficult – but paperwork, bureaucracy and patience is required. Our 8 year old dog, Lucy, is no exception. In fact, for Lucy, this final vet visit is an essential part of her travel and immigration requirements for her new life in Budapest, Hungary.
Lucy hanging out at a local park in Toronto.
Lucy needs to visit her veterinarian and get a “Veterinary Certificate” (clean bill of health) within 10 days of travel. We then take that certificate the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and get it endorsed by a CFIA vet before we fly.
Top 5 Tips for Moving with a Pet:
- Make sure your vet has the correct form for European travel and has done it before. You need to complete this for your port of entry into Europe (in our case, The Netherlands) NOT for the final destination (in our case, Hungary). This is especially relevant as we almost messed up on this thanks to bad information we received.
- Note that you must personally accompany your dog while moving – at least within 5 days. Dogs can travel in-cabin or as cargo. Lucy is small enough to come in-cabin with us.
- If your dog comes in-cabin, it will count as your carry-on luggage – VERY FRUSTRATING. Not only do you miss out on being able to take a bag, but you have to pay $125 (may vary) for the privilege of having your pet on board. This is standard for Economy or Economy Premium classes – I’m not sure about the fancy folks in higher classes.
- Identification is mandatory for the European Union. Your pet needs to be identified with a microchip (or in some cases a clearly readable tattoo is acceptable). Be prepared for them to scan your dog to ensure your paperwork and pet match up.
- And finally, know that a rabies vaccination is required for entry of pet animals to ALL EU countries. This needs to been done AFTER your pet receives their microchip. An essential part for any pet’s relocation.
Bonus Tip: Make sure you fully understand your airlines regulations. In our case, we booked our tickets FIRST with KLM and then waited about 5 days to find out if there was room for our dog to accompany us on the plane. Airlines have limits to how many pets can be aboard any given flight. This may effect moving with your pet, so make sure to check before you arrive at the airport to board your flight!
“Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures we place with curators in museums; others we take for walks.” -Roger A. Caras
Click this link for detailed information and CFIA paperwork for entry of pets to the European Union (EU).
Furthermore, we use a carrier like this one. We use it successfully on WestJet, Air Canada and KLM for international travel – no problems at all. However, please check with your airline for specific recommendations.