So you've booked a driver, and you're eager to get your transport started. What else is there for you to do but wait? Here's a quick rundown of last-minute preparations you might want to consider.
Health and Safety
Pets traveling across state lines are required to be accompanied by a Health Certificate. Also known as a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, the official document states that your pet is healthy enough to travel and free from any diseases that could be passed to other animals. Current vaccinations are required in order for the Health Certificate to be issued. The document can be obtained by visiting a licensed veterinarian.
Once you’ve ensured that your pet is healthy enough for the trip, you can turn your attention toward getting them comfortable with being in a vehicle. Pets who have never traveled in a vehicle can be taken for practice rides to familiarize them with the experience. Consider preparing a favorite toy or blanket to accompany them on the trip, as it can be a great way to keep them comfortable while in a crate or pet carrier.
Many pet owners gain additional peace of mind by equipping their furry friends with a GPS tracking device. These devices provide owners with information including real-time location and location history data. These features make it easy to gather information about the pet’s entire journey. You can view a list of GPS tracking options in our article, "Keeping tabs on pets".
Motorcycles, Scooters, and ATVs
Prior to transporting your motorcycle, scooter, or ATV, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve obtained all required documentation. Contact your driver or shipping company to obtain information about their commercial or cargo insurance. It is also best practice to document the condition of your bike in photos or video. Make note of any existing scratches, dents, or other damage.
Prepping your Bike
All personal items should be removed from the bike to ensure that they aren’t lost during transit. Draining the bike’s fuel tank per the driver or shipping company’s instructions is also extremely important. To prevent them from being damaged, all mirrors should also be tucked away.. A tarp or cover can be utilized to protect the bike from weather and dust. Placing the bike into a crate is also an option to ensure its protection during transit.
Individuals or companies operating certain large commercial vehicles are required to have USDOT or motor carrier permit numbers. Asking your driver or transport company to provide information containing these numbers can help to ensure that they are operating within regulations. It is also recommended that you confirm that the driver has valid commercial or cargo insurance. Finally, you should always document your boat’s condition in photos or videos. Make note of any existing scratches, dents, or other damage.
Prepping your Boat
All personal items should be removed from the boat to ensure that they aren’t lost or damaged during transit. Any items that extend beyond the boat’s height and width should be safely stowed. All fuel and fluids must be drained from the boat’s motor. Drain plugs should also be removed from the boat’s hull, air conditioning, and water systems. Cabin doors and cabinets should be locked or otherwise secured. Removal of navigation equipment and lowering of any antennas is highly recommended. For built in equipment such as radios or entertainment systems, a cover can be used to protect them from being damaged by dust. Many boat owners opt to use a tarp or boat cover for protection against weather conditions during transit. If you’re using your own trailer, it is recommended that you perform a thorough inspection of its structural integrity prior to putting it on the road.
Vehicles (Cars, Light Duty Trucks, and RVs)
Individuals or companies operating certain large commercial vehicles are required to have USDOT or motor carrier permit numbers. Requesting documentation containing these numbers can help to ensure that the driver or company is operating within regulations. It is also best practice to request confirmation of the transporter’s valid commercial or cargo insurance. Your vehicle’s condition at time of pick up should be documented using photos or videos when possible
Prepping Your Car or Light Duty Truck
Remove all personal items from the vehicle’s interior, glovebox, trunk, or cargo area. If necessary, lower all antennas to prevent them from being damaged during transit. A tarp, large canvas, or vehicle cover can be used to protect your vehicle’s exterior from damage.
Prepping Your RV
Confirm that your RV has appropriate levels of all fluids including oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant. If transporting your RV during cold weather months, you may also want to consider filling any freshwater tanks with antifreeze.
Remove any loose items in the RV’s interior that cannot be safely secured or stowed. All appliances should be turned off and disconnected from their power supplies or gas lines. Lock or otherwise secure all doors, cabinets, and windows. Finally, any items hanging on the RV’s walls should be taken down and stowed or removed.
Exterior Considerations include inspecting the RV’s hitch and tow bar, locking or securing any cargo doors, and checking for adequate tire pressure. If the RV is equipped with air brakes, the air pressure in those lines should be checked as well. It is also best practice to ensure that all turn signals and brake lights are working properly.
Based on the overall size and weight of your equipment, a special permit may be required for transportation. Communicate with your driver or shipping company to ensure that the appropriate documentation is in place to satisfy requirements of state and federal Departments of Transportation. It is also recommended that you request information regarding the transporters commercial or cargo insurance.
Prepping Your Equipment
All fluids contained within the equipment’s engine, motor, or other areas should be drained prior to transport. Batteries should also be disconnected. Any detachable components on the equipment should be secured to ensure safety and prevent damage during transit.
Request that your driver or shipping company provide information about their commercial or cargo insurance. We also recommend that you document the condition of your household item in photos or videos.
Prepping Your Household Item
Appliances should be powered off and disconnected from any power sources or gas lines. All household items should be adequately packed to minimize the risk of them being damaged during transit. Moving pads, stretch wrap, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts are among the various options that can be used to help protect household items from damage.
Staying in touch
Get used to having your driver on speed dial - open and transparent communication will calm your nerves, letting you know how your pet is doing at any given moment. If you have any questions or concerns, you should never hesitate to ask your driver.
This works both ways - the driver also needs to be kept in the loop on everything. If a third party will be picking up your pet, vehicle, or household item, don't forget to pass on their contact info! Communicate any special instructions to your transporter well before pick up.
Trust and logistics
You're putting a lot of trust in a driver by having them transport your pet or most prized possession. You can have every confidence that it's well placed, thanks to CitizenShipper's thorough background screenings. Still, you should double-check that the two of you are on the same page on every last detail. Have you agreed on the methods of payment? Do you want to see some ID when the driver rolls up to your door? Are you OK with a verbal contract or would you prefer them to sign a written one?
Just remember, trust is a two-way street. The driver expects you to be an honest actor, discussing all concerns beforehand and dealing with them in a forthright manner. While your pet's life is in their hands, their livelihood is in yours, so please be sure to rate and review them fairly and thoroughly!
Help is just a click away
CitizenShipper connects you to your driver and doesn't monitor your dealings beyond that, but we're still there for you to assure that everything goes as planned. You can contact our support teams at any point in the transportation process, whether looking for guidance or trying to troubleshoot an issue.
If you run into any bumps along the road, we have a dispute resolution system in place to help you sort things out. Even when everything goes without a hitch, we still want to hear from you! How did the driver come across? How did your pet enjoy the journey? How likely would you be to use our online marketplace again? So drop us a line and share your thoughts!
Booking Assurance Guarantee
Don't forget, all shipments are covered by our Booking Assurance Guarantee, which you can read about here.
What to read next
For further insight into how CitizenShipper operates, check out the Quick-start guide and the Dealing with drivers sections. You can always browse through our Product guide and get to know us a little better.