Monday, 19 October 2015

Greece to UK with your Dog

I recently moved over to the UK and had huge trouble deciding how I would take my dog over to the UK with me from Greece. Since there aren't that many answers out there, I wanted to inform anyone who might be looking for solutions how to do the journey. The thing with this trip is that you have to make an itinerary in my opinion and be super organised or things can go wrong and you will be stranded. I would suggest as I did have a notebook that is dedicated to the journey that contains inside phrases in each language that you may need to say to someone who will not speak English, Western Union close locations so you can get cash in 5 minutes if you need it, hotels that accept pets and of course taxi information and even maps stuck in your notebook. (Yes, I did do all of that!)

Why not via airplane?

We had a look for taking our dog to the UK by airplane and apparently it was not possible unless it was in cargo. All flight to the UK no matter which country you are departing from ask for pets to be placed in cargo (the part of the plane that has suitcases). This was something that we could not do since the conditions in cargo are not supposed to be good for pets. There are a lot of horror stories that you can read on the internet and even your vet will probably advise you not to do this to your pet. We could fly from Thessaloniki to Amsterdam however from there we would still have to take the ferry over to the UK and we would need a car to accompany us since we have a dog. From what I had read the dog is left in the car and you go on board. Again this was not an option for us. Even the fact that it could fly on the airplane with us to another country was scary since I had read that your dog throughout the whole flight has to be under your seat you are not allowed to do anything else. There was this story on the internet about a pug in USA who was on the flight with the owner and it started breathing heavily (some dogs get panic attacks in the air or have breathing difficulties) and the flight attendant would not allow the owner to get it from under the seat so they could calm it and it ended up dying. Airplane and dogs I don't know I feel like its much more dangerous. This is why certain breeds are not allowed to fly on airplanes. Pekingese wasn't so even if we had flown by airplane we probably would have had to travel to Athens or an island to get a flight from there because all flights from Thessaloniki to the UK either did not allow pets what so ever or had the pekingese breed banned.

Any other options to travel to the UK with a dog?

Ok, you have a few.
I had a look by cruise ship, if there was one that could take us from Greece to the UK and there was nothing. So that is not an option. Most won't allow you to board to the cruise ship on its return journey anyway. You can travel by car to the UK and look at it as a road trip which a lot of people do that. There is also an option for you to send your dog from the place you are departing with a van that drives to your destination, usually only dog they will take and it will take them 1-2 days to get to your destination. I think they charge you around 500.00EU max and you can just fly over to the UK and meet your dog there. The only other option would be to have someone with a car pick you up from France or Holland and you get the boat over or go via the Euro tunnel.

Who to contact ?

http://www.railtourguide.com/contact/customer-service-after-sales/
sales@railtourguide.com

info@pets2go2.co.uk
http://www.pets2go2.co.uk/

Journey

There were many routes that you could take however this one seemed to work best for us. We were originally supposed to go via Venice to Paris but there was no tickets left so we had to opt for the Ancona route.

Igoumenitsa to Ancona via Minoan Lines with a Pet Cabin. 

Your dog is allowed to be in the cabin with you and all you need to do is take some dog diaper things to place on the floor so your dog can go on them for the toilet and then you just pick it up and bin it. The thing I did not like about this company was that the dog was not allowed anywhere else on the ship apart from the top of the ship which is obviously cold and open. We had a difficult time eating because we did not want to leave our dog in the room by itself. So we took turns to have a walk around the ship to pass time on our own rather than together and with the dog which I was not happy about. I think from the moment there are pet cabins on the ship, then you should be free to walk around the ship with your dog or at least be able to order room service from the restaurant. Now another thing that bothered me was the timing, we overheard a couple asking what time we would arrive in Ancona and it was 5.00 pm when they had said it was 3.30pm. My train was leaving at 5.20pm so I spoke with the manager who told me that they always arrive at 4.30pm and not 3.30pm and that I had been informed wrongly by the telephone ticket booking call center. Thankfully we arrived at 4.45pm and I just managed to get on the train in time. I also want to inform you that I had read on the internet that there are taxis outside the port. There are none which we found out when we arrived and we were so lucky that we found one guy with a taxi who took us to the train station otherwise we would have missed the train. BOOK a TAXI and inform them you have a dog also because some taxis are weird and wont allow it which will cause you further delay. Taxi fair cost us 15EU and its 5-10 minutes.






Ancona to Milan 

This journey allows dogs on and of course as all trains you are asked to have a cage at the size requirements they ask for and a muzzle. If you have an e-ticket just go for the train straight away and they will scan your e-ticket. I was told that I had to hand it in at the ticket office to get an actual ticket created, I was advised wrong. So e-tickets you just need them printed out and you hand them in to the guy who checks your ticket at some point during your journey. There were people sitting in our seats and they did not seem happy that we had moved them but don't be scared if that happens because a lot of people just sit where they like and they do not give a damn about someone who has booked the seat. If that happens to you apologise and ask them to move, because you have a dog and you don't want to be searching the whole train for seats. No one speaks English also so keep that in mind and no food went past so we were hungry once more. No muzzler, no cage and no complaints were made regarding my dog. The other bad thing was that I never thought of was make sure you ask the company to book you tickets for two seats together because we were put on four seats with a table which made it worse for the dog.



Milan to Paris 

Night train on the Thello trains which is over night and once again you are allowed to have you dog inside the cabin with you as long as you have a cabin. You may end up paying plus 50.00EU to the staff on board extra for your dog. Milan train station had terrible food and they did not speak English once again. As soon as we arrived after asking around we just sat and waited for the television to show our train and to go to the correct platform. The train cabin was smaller than expected however I really did enjoy it the journey. There was a lovely window and some blinds but we had the blinds open and could see the scenery outside as we were going past. We did not have to pay extra for the dog. We got free breakfast in the morning which I could get myself and bring it back to the room since the dog was not allowed in the restaurant. What I really hated about this train was that when we arrived nothing was announced on the train. The train did make a few stops throughout the journey and I figured the last stop which was were we were getting off was just another stop. I went and asked several people they all told me had not arrived in Paris. After about 15 minutes there was a knock on the door and the guy who worked on the train was checking the rooms and I was shocked to see everyone had left. Thank god it was the last stop otherwise we would have never have gotten off the correct stop and would have had further trouble. ALWAYS ASK THE TEAM and not the people on the train, there were never any announcements made on any trains apart from the ones in the UK.  So before getting off double check with the staff. Again no muzzler, no complaints and no cage was needed.






Paris (different station) to Calais

Again same rules cage has to be at the measurements they ask and the dog must have a muzzle.
This was seriously a pain in the backside. We get out of the Paris train station to go to another Paris train station so we could go to Calais. Again the internet said there would be no bother with my dog and the taxis. I asked roughly 10 taxis and they all kept saying no to me because we had the dog. I finally found a guy who let us on his taxi thank god and we managed to get there in time for the train. The fair cost 13EU however I gave him 20EU and thanked him for letting us and the dog in his taxi and it took us about 20 minutes. The journey to Calais was the nicest, new train that was double decker and there were people again in our seats who I asked to kindly leave because we had the dog and they understood and left. Very lovely journey.



Calais to London Kings Cross via Pets2Go2

You can speak with the company and you can arrange from them to pick you up from other places in France maybe even further out and drop you off somewhere else in the UK. We decided for them to drop us off is London since it would take less time for us to go to Durham via train than car. The driver was there exactly on time and in fact we arrived earlier and so had he. The driver was such a lovely guy who really helped us out with everything and always thought of our dog. He checked our passport before we left and he drove us over to London Kings Cross asap so we could over in time for the train to Durham. He kept asking us if we needed coffee breaks, dog breaks etc and he allowed us to not put our dog in the cage and have her on our lap which we were really grateful for. I would completely recommend this company and I would have easily have gone to Durham with them if they would get us there quicker than the train.

London Kings Cross to Durham 

Again same rules for the dog.
The train tickets ended up costing us a fortune but all we wanted was to get home since we were tired and hungry, We got on the train after 15 minutes of arriving, I paid with my euros at the ticket office and we could not find a seat on the train so we just sat on the floor in the middle of the carriages.

Overall
No passport checks, cage, muzzler was ever asked from us of course take the necessary steps because you may come across them. Leave big gaps between your journeys, if you can sleep over in a hotel. Pre book taxis that will allow pets. E tickets get straight on the train you don't need to get them re printed or anything. Bring a pack lunch cause the food was terrible and hard to find with our dog. I have given the details above of the companies I booked these tickets through.  Make sure your train tickets are always for two seats not four so you don't have to deal with other people that may distract or upset your dog. If you have any questions or need more information please leave a comment below and I will help you out as much as I can.

xxx













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