I ordered the soft crate. I think we just apologize to him that he'll have to be in there while we are away. Don't want to take any chances of him damaging the apartment. I imagine that will still be less traumatic than the flight over. We'll have the crate in this week, so I will have time to get him acclimated to it. Thanks everyone for advice.
Related question: have people found pet food and veterinarian services priced on par to London or New York or much higher?