To many of us pets are family members. So it is good to know that travelling with them can be easy by train.
Train travel offers good options for those looking to include their furry, winged or other pet friends, such as rabbits, on the journey.
There are some important items to check off before boarding the train with pets. You’ll want to make sure your pet complies with the rules of the PET travel scheme. This includes your pet:
- being fitted with a microchip
- having a pet passport
- being up-to-date with all the necessary vaccines
Be sure to read the latest government rules to ensure you’re on track. Here is a summary of the most popular issues when it comes to bringing pets on trains:
You can bring dogs, cats and other small animals free of charge on all domestic British trains. This depends, of course, depends on all rules being met and no danger being caused to fellow passengers. Travellers can bring up to a maximum of two pets each, as long as they do not endanger or inconvenience passengers or staff. Note that you’ll need to pay a small fee to travel with a pet on the Caledonian Sleeper train to Scotland.
Eurostar does not permit pets on board its trains. However, you can still travel by train and ferry to mainland Europe from the UK. For example, from the UK to the Netherlands, you and your pet can take the 19:32 train from London Liverpool Street station to Harwich, where you can catch the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland. Pets are welcome on board (dogs are not allowed in public areas on the ship but they are provided with a clean and secure kennel, with CCTV streaming available). Other animals are required to be in a suitable cage or box. Upon arrival in the Netherlands, you can take trains throughout the country, or into many other countries very easily including Belgium, Germany and France.
Once in mainland Europe, train travel with pets is easily done, as most rail operators offer relatively pet-friendly policies. Animals in boxes or cages should always be accepted. For a more detailed breakdown of pets on trains according to each train operator, see our help article.
- Spain: Small animals are allowed. Pets over 10kg are not allowed onboard trains in Spain.
- France: Pets are allowed on board. There are small charges for dogs/other animals in cages. Larger dogs on leads pay half a standard class fare.
- Italy: Dogs and other pets are permitted on most trains. They’re free in a carrier, and half the second class fare if on a lead and muzzled.
- Germany: Small dogs and cats in containers travel free, while larger dogs pay the child rate.
Rail travel still has a way to go to be classed as truly pet-friendly. However, it offers a far better option for pets than flying. Travelling by train with pets also means that you can often break up your journey, causing less stress on both you and your pet.
If you’re looking for a way to integrate your pet into a European family holiday in the least stressful way, trains are the way to go.
Photo credits top to bottom: Dog Watermark, © Italo, All Rights Reserved, Adventures on the Dolomites with dog, iStock ©piola666, All Rights Reserved
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