Friday, August 15, 2008

The madness that is air travel

I am thankful on a regular basis for my mom , but I am even more thankful when I need to make travel arrangements. My mom is a travel agent, has been for longer than I've been around, and her expertise has saved me lots of headaches and lots of money. We bought our tickets last month, about 6 months prior to our departure, which seems to be pretty good timing, as flights were starting to fill up.

Because of the cats and air travel regulations for animals, we cannot take a direct flight to Honolulu. So we thought we would fly from Detroit to Los Angles, then LA to Honolulu. Well, that sounds like a reasonable plan, but with the crazy air fares it would cost us $600 more to leave from Detroit than from Chicago, so we're leaving from Chicago. I just hope the weather cooperates!

We have two big stresses right now - finding someplace to stay which will accept the cats once we get to Honolulu (harder than you might think), and finding someplace to live. At the moment we are trying to pick a side of the island to focus our searches. We've had advice from a couple locals that the leeward side is a fine place to live, but that the commute is just awful (worse than awful, actually), so we are thinking that we should perhaps focus on the windward side, or perhaps something closer to Honolulu. The disadvantage to the windward side is that rent prices are even higher for less space. Any comments you might have heard about the outrageous price of renting/home-ownership in Hawaii have not been exaggerated - they really are outrageous, and for properties which often aren't all that nice or spiffy, which is what is even more frustrating. I have been finding places for $1900 a month that I wouldn't pay $300 a month for out here. Sticker-shock, indeed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Moving with Pets to Hawaii

Without a doubt, moving to Hawaii is quite the process. That process becomes ever more complicated when you involve animals. The state of Hawaii is rabies-free, and they intend to keep it that way. For this reason all animals must be quarantined before they are allowed to live with you on the island. You have an option to have your pets pre-quarantined prior to their arrival in the islands. This will involve blood tests and the microchipping of your pet at least 120 days prior to your arrival in Hawaii. For all the details visit the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture pages about the whole process.

Because of the quarantine, pets can not be in the cabin with you on your flight to Hawaii. (An exception is made for assistance animals. Be assured that that will require even more paperwork.)

In addition to the quarantine, getting your pets to Hawaii on the airlines can also be a bit of an experience. Do make sure to make a reservation for your pet when you book your own airfare. Most airlines have limits to the number of animals they will carry (either in the cabin or checked) and you do not want to get to the airport and not have a spot on the plane for your pet. Our cats' reservations are about $100-$150 each, and we will pay that fee when we get to the airport. Be sure to read all the regulations on the airline's website, too - there might be rules that you wouldn't think about, especially regarding the size and type of carrier required. Also - do note that most (perhaps all) airlines will not accept pets for transport as checked cargo when ground temperatures are less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit. For us, this means that our cats must travel in the cabin with us from Chicago to Los Angles, and then from LA to Honolulu they are checked. And yes, this will involve two different types of carriers.

For good general information on moving with pets (and the supplies to do so) visit these sites:
The Humane Society
How to Move With Your Pet
Establish a Routine for your Pets

My first blog post!

I have finally entered the world of blogging - a scary adventure for someone who has no Html skills! This blog will probably morph, change and have issues as I figure out what I am doing.