Traveling with pets is a growing trend, but even the cutest family pets don’t necessarily make good travelers. Are you considering bringing your pet along for the ride on your next vacation? If your answer is “yes”, you’ll want to check out this list of helpful tips and resources.
Think It Over
Bringing your pet on vacation may seem like a great idea at first, but it may result in added stress which may prevent you (and your family members) from getting the most enjoyment out of your vacation time together. If you can’t find someone to “dog sit” in your home, and you don’t have a friend or relative who can take them in, there are excellent kennels that will pamper your pooch and give them lots of attention, along with days full of activities. Your pets will still love you just as much and remember you when you return.
Cost Could Be A Major Factor
Figure in your crates, air and hotel surcharges, toys, pet food, unexpected vet bills away from home, and other incidentals, and you’ll realize traveling with your pet might be cost prohibitive.
Still Saying “Yes”?
Make sure you check if pets are allowed at your vacation spot. Many destinations just don’t make bringing your pet very easy or efficient. For instance, you might not realize that the state of Hawaii has a quarantine period for dogs and cats of up to 120 days.
Make Sure Your Pets Are ID’d
Tag your pet's collar with essential information, including vaccinations (especially rabies), your name, address, phone number, and contact info for where you’re staying on your vacation.
Traveling By Air
A good pet travel crate is not something you should buy “on the cheap”. It should be sturdy and correctly sized for your pet. If your crate’s too small, travel will be very uncomfortable. But if it’s too large, your pet could be tossed around and injured during handling. If you’re bringing your pet on a plane, be sure to read your airline's requirements regarding size, weight, material, and design. Airline-approved crates must have ventilation on the sides (in addition to the door) and have food/water trays that are refillable from the outside in the case of a delay. Also, if your pet is house-trained, consider putting a blanket, liner, or cushion in the crate for comfort (if not house-trained, don’t do this unless you want a huge mess).
Sometimes, airlines permit pets weighing 10 pounds or less to fly in the cabin, usually not more than two pets per flight. But be considerate of other passengers and keep your pet in their carrier for the duration of the flight. Keep in mind that fees for the convenience of having your small pet nearby are usually in excess of $100 and you’ll need a health certificate for your pet, usually issued within 10 days of your flight. Your veterinarian can supply you with this.
Direct Flights Are Best
Try your best to purchase a non-stop or direct flight. Your pet is at the most risk for mishandling during connections, especially tight connections. A direct or non-stop flight is your best safeguard against these types of problems.
Traveling By Car
There are a lot of "don'ts" in the world of pet owners. “Don’t ever leave your pet alone in the car” is one of the biggest. Even if temperatures are mild, a car can get dangerously hot (or cold, depending on the season). In most situations, you're putting your pet (and your car’s interior) at risk by leaving them alone in a car.
Potty Breaks, Please
For obvious reasons, avoid feeding your pet large meals before long period of travel. If traveling by car, you still need to plan to stop on a regular basis. Most pets love to get out and explore, and, because of the excitement and stress of traveling, they’ll need to go outside to relieve themselves more often than when they’re at home.
Provide Adequate Water and Food
You must keep water and food with you in the car. The heat of the car, the stress of traveling, and your pet's excitement will often cause increased thirst, so don’t be caught off guard.
Fend Off Carsickness
Yes, pets get carsick, too. And it’s rarely mild. You may be able to prevent this by partially opening windows and stopping for frequent walks, plus there are many remedies available from pet stores and vets as well.
Find Pet-Friendly Hotels
Many hotels gladly accept pets. Do your research online and seek them out. Also, keep in mind it's far easier to get your pet in and out of the hotel without incident if you are on the ground floor--no elevators, stairs or altercations with other guests. When taking your pet outdoors, you should be sure to wipe off any mud, dirt, poop, and water from your pet’s fur before bringing your pet back inside the hotel. Some pet dirt can stain floors and linens, and you could be forced to pay for cleaning or replacement costs.
When you’re at your destination, try to keep your pet in their crate as much as possible. Your pet can relax in familiar surroundings, and your room will also stay cleaner. Absolutely do not ever leave your pet loose and unattended in a hotel room. Pets can react in crazy ways to feelings of abandonment in unfamiliar territory. Many animals are comforted by simply leaving the radio or television on, which breaks the silence and makes them feel like humans are nearby.
Change Your Mind At The Last Minute?
What would you do if your pet became sick right before your vacation and you couldn't line up a good boarding option? If your pets, like mine, are treated as members of the family, it’s important to take their happiness and well-being into consideration. The Cancel for Any Reason option on a travel insurance policy lets you stay home and take care of your pets without worrying about recovering costs from your canceled trip. We have a Travel Insurance Select Elite Option that includes Cancel for Any Reason. Get an instant quote and take the worry out of traveling with your pet.