When you’re a pet owner, you’re always thinking about your pal. Whether you’re traveling with them or leaving them in safe hands, vacations take extra preparation. Luckily, things have gotten easier to navigate when you’re planning a trip. Check out our tips and tricks for how to travel with pets.
Traveling With Your Pet
Check With Your Vet
Depending on where you’re traveling, your pet may need an extra round of vaccines. Before you head out of town, check in with your vet and let her or him know where you’re heading. They’ll let you know if you need any updated shots before clearing Fido or Fluffy for travel. Your vet may also have recommendations for keeping your pet safe and happy during your trip.
Do a Test Run
If you’re planning on road tripping with your pet, go on a few tester road trips first—the longer the better. This is especially true when you’re figuring out how to travel with a cat. You’ll want to analyze your pet’s temperament ahead of the big trip. Do they get anxious? Restless? Motion sickness? Yes, animals get car sick, too.
If everything is OK and your pet loves the road, invest in a reliable pet seatbelt or carrier. Each year, roughly 30,000 car accidents1 are caused by unrestrained dogs in the front seat. Make sure everyone is secure and happy before the ride.
Flying With Pets
Do a deep dive to find what airline is best for pet travel before you hit the clouds. Each airline has its own set of regulations and restrictions. For instance, some airlines will allow you to have your pet with you in the cabin, while others will only allow pets in cargo. Furthermore, the breed of dog can make a difference. Brachycephalic breeds, like pugs and bulldogs, aren’t often allowed in cargo due to possible breathing issues with their snouts. This applies to some breeds of cats, too. Do your homework with the rules before you fly into the blue skies.
If You’re Leaving Your Pet at Home
Find a Pet Sitter or Walker Online
Pet sitting has evolved over the years. These days it’s actually really common to use online pet sitting. These apps connect you with qualified pet sitters and walkers in your area. Nearly all of them offer reviews, background checks, and pet insurance. For instance, Rover is an online platform that allows you to connect with pet sitters in your area. First, check the sitter’s reviews and pick your favorite. You can then schedule a meet and greet. Once you book, your reservation comes with 24/7 support, pet health insurance, and oftentimes photo and video updates.
Depending on which app you use, you can also choose how long you want them to spend with your pet each day. Some sites—including Rover—offer everything from drop-in visits to house sitting to boarding.
If you just need a walker, check out apps like Wag. This app allows you to pick a trusted and reviewed walker in your area. It’s a nifty way to give your pet the exercise they need while you’re relaxing on your trip.
Neighborhood Pet Swap
One of the easiest ways to feel at ease when leaving your pets at home is to have someone close by watching over them. If you’ve noticed that some of your neighbors also own pets, make time to get to know them. If you and their pets get along, offer to watch their animals while they’re away if they’re willing to do the same for you. This is an easy strategy to feel like your pets are in good hands and someone’s watching the house while you’re gone.
Family and Friends
If it’s been awhile since you’ve asked for help, don’t be afraid! You may be surprised how many people in your social circle would be happy to watch over your fur babies. Important pet travel tip: As good manners columnists would reminder you, pet-sitting shouldn’t be seen as a “gift.” It will involve the person’s time and likely gas, so make sure you offer to pay for their services. With friends and family, they’ll likely refuse payment, but it’s good manners to still offer.
Pet hotels have undergone major upgrades in recent years. Many have added amenities like swimming pools and pet packages. While each hotel is a little different, you can often find hotels that offer everything from basic rooms to full-on suites for your pet. Some of them even have pet spas on-site, along with hours of playtime with other pets. Look for dog-friendly happy hours, too!
When you’re looking for how to travel with a dog or cat, know that you have a ton of options. Whether you’re bringing them for the ride or leaving them in safe hands until you return, it’s easier than you think to travel when you have a pet!
Header image via marcin jucha/Shutterstock