It is easy enough to bundle up the kids in preparation for a winter road trip. Children are able to communicate their needs directly, sometimes in very dramatic ways, as you may know if you have young ones. Pets and plants require more attention and foresight.
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on ground travel. If your move requires air travel, contact your local airport for tips and regulations. However, whether you travel by ground or by air, pets and plants will require a temperature-controlled environment. This is true in any season. Also keep in mind that if you hire a moving company, there may be regulations by which they must abide with regards to the type of vegetation or animal they are allowed to carry. You can obtain this information from them directly.
When moving with pets to a different state, first contact the State Veterinarian’s Office or Department of Agriculture to inquire about their pet laws and regulations and check with the local City Clerk’s office for local pet ordinances. Finally, make sure you have a recent photograph of your pet, just in case it gets lost, and the proper paperwork and certificates. Your veterinarian can help you determine what documents you should have.
Now that the red tape is out of the way, here is a general checklist for common pets:
- If using a carrier, get your pet accustomed to it several days before traveling. Place a favorite toy or blanket inside to make it feel more secure.
- If your pet is not used to car travel, take it on short rides before the trip. If it is prone to motion sickness, consult your veterinarian for tips and medication.
- Do not feed or water your pet for a few hours before you leave, but supply food once daily while on the road.
- Make sure you bring water from home. Different water can cause digestive problems.
- Make frequent stops to water and exercise your pet, whether it appears to need this or not.
- This is not the time to let Fido roam. Save that for later, when he is accustomed to his new home.
- When you have reached your destination, allow pets to acclimate for a few hours before feeding, but do provide water immediately.
- Allow pets to come out of their carrier at their own discretion.
- Keep in mind that small pets, such as birds, reptiles, rodents and guinea pigs are especially sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. As a rule, pay attention to your own comfort zone.
- Keep your pets’ routine as regular as possible even during the move. For instance, if there tends to be a specific play time normally, try to honor this also.
As you might imagine, temperature is a very important consideration for plants as well. Atlas Van Lines makes the following recommendations.
First, for bigger plants that may be difficult to transport, consider cuttings. This is actually a good opportunity to leave a thank you gift behind. Trim them, clean the leaves and offer them to family and friends with a nice thank you note attached. The cuttings will provide an opportunity for you to enjoy a rather pleasant personal house warming ritual while you re-pot them. Also follow these simple guidelines:
- About three weeks before moving, repot plants that are in breakable containers. Move them to plastic pots of the same size as their original one.
- About two weeks prior to the move, prune larger plants for easier packaging.
- A week before the move, check plants for parasites and treat as necessary.
- A couple of days before getting on the road, water your plants as you normally would. Avoid over-watering. In winter, it can cause freezing. In warmer months, it can lead to fungus growth.
- On moving day, pack pots snuggly in boxes. The shape of the box will serve as a stabilizer during transport. Add paper around the base of pots to secure further. Make sure the boxes are closed very loosely. Add air holes if necessary.
- Wrap large plants with bed sheets.
- Set the boxes aside to make sure they receive special attention when packing. You also want to be able to get to them as soon as possible upon arriving.
- Load plants as close to departure time as possible and in a place and manner that will allow for continuous temperature control. Ideally in the car, if possible. Never in the trunk.
- Unpack them as soon as you arrive at your new home and do not move them around for 24 hours to give them a chance to acclimate.
Voila! You have moved children, pets and plants without incident during the winter months in Vermont. How do you like your new home?
Read Part 1 – Moving in Winter – Not a Bad Idea
Read Part 2 – Moving in Winter – Moving with Children