Train Travel with your pets
June 28, 2019 by Furry Tales
Most of us who have grown up in cities will remember those annual train rides to visit grandparents for the summer holidays. The smell of evening snacks sold by various vendors, the cutting chai, the hum-drum of the train that sways you into a deep sleep, the endless hours you can spend staring out the window, taking in the different sceneries as the journey progresses….ah, the memories!
Of late, a lot of people are using this mode of travel more frequently. Partly for nostalgic reasons and partly because the Indian railways are one of the largest railway networks in the world! They take you to the remotest of places where a flight wouldn’t be able to. Not to mention, it is also pocket-friendly.
Do you know what else is amazing about this mode? You can travel with your pet, sitting right by your side, through the entire journey! You cannot do that with the airlines in our country. Your pet is taken in as cargo instead. And the whole affair costs a bomb!
Now, the modern pet parent does not believe that a pet’s place lies within the four walls of their home. They are interested in enriching their furry friend’s experiences by taking them out, socialising them with other people and dogs. A lot of them are also seen traveling with their pets, thereby turning them into adventurers as well! And this is where our guide on traveling comfortably with your pet on the train is helpful:
- As per the rules of the Indian Railways, for inter-city travel, your pet can travel with you if you have a confirmed ticket for a coupe (a cabin with 2 berths) or a cabin (4 berths), in First Class AC only.
- Once you have booked your tickets, you should write to the Chief Reservation Officer/Station Master to explain that you are traveling with a pet in order to ensure that not only are your tickets confirmed but that you are allotted a coupe or a cabin and not randomly ordered berths.
- Be sure to hand over the letter at the station master’s office at your boarding station, a few days prior to your travel date. It would be advisable to hand over a copy of the letter at the Parcel Office as well. (Coupe and Cabin allocations are most often confirmed on the day of your intended travel. As per the rules, if any VIP travels through railways on the said date, then Coupe preference is given to him/her. Which is why it is important that you give the Letter of Request).
- On the day of travel, it’s best to reach the boarding station 2-3 hours prior to the departure time. This will give you ample time to figure which platform you have to board your train from and also to go to the parcel office with your pet.
- At the parcel office, depending on the weight of your pet, you will be assigned a booking slip bearing the fee and despatch details. This slip is very important for your pet to be able to travel with you in the cabin. Else you might be fined for traveling with an unbooked pet.
- Some station masters/parcel officers might ask for certain documents such as a xerox copy of your id, your pet’s vaccination records and maybe even a note from your vet that certifies that the pet is fit to travel. Hence, having a copy of these documents beforehand comes in very handy.
- Even though you may have a confirmed ticket and necessary approvals to travel with your pet in the First Class AC compartment, if you are sharing the coupe/cabin with strangers, you will need the consent of fellow passengers. Hence make sure your pet is on a leash and well behaved so as to not attract any objections to him/her remaining in the compartment. If such an unfortunate event happens, your pet will be moved to the Guard’s van and no refund will be provided. (This is why it might benefit you to reserve some extra berths while booking the tickets so it will assure a comfortable travel experience.)
- It would be better to carry the following items to make your pet comfortable:
- your pet’s food, bowls, and water rather than depending on trying to feed them something from the train pantry.
- An extra bedsheet that you can spare to spread for your pet.
- Wet wipes and sanitizers that you can use to clean up any mess that might be caused by your pet.
- His/her favourite toy to help reduce the anxiety/stress of travel.
- Check beforehand as to which stations have a longer halt so you can give your pet a pee break accordingly. If traveling with cats, you can place a pee pad in a makeshift cardboard litter box so it’s easy to dispose of.
We hope our tips help you plan a convenient and peaceful train journey with your pet. Happy Adventures to you and your furry kid!