Pets are among the best travel companions you can tag along with on vacation. As reported by statistics, 78% of pet owners regularly travel with their pets each year, and 58% would even rather have their pets as a travel buddy than a friend or family member. There are numerous advantages pet owners can get from traveling with their pets, such as:
- Combat loneliness
- Reduce anxiety (especially for travelers who have anxiety when traveling in planes, trains, or other vehicles)
- Uplift your moods and help you adjust in new, faraway places
- Strengthen your bond
- More quality time with your furry friend
But before you take off somewhere with your pet, there are a few things you’ll need to plan and consider to ensure your vacation goes smoothly and stress-free. So, read below and learn the crucial things to consider when traveling with your beloved pet.
1. Book a pet-friendly accommodation
Before booking tickets for your travel, it’s recommended that you find first pet-friendly accommodation. You wouldn’t want to book your roundtrip tickets only to discover that there’s not one pet-friendly lodging in your destination. So, to avoid inconvenience, it’s best to look for some hotels or pet friendly homes that accept the type of pet you have.
Although some hotels claim to be pet-friendly, they may impose rules and set limitations regarding your pet’s age, species/breed, and weight. Others may also accept pets but will require their guests to place them in a separate room. So, to ensure you and your pet are together 24/7 throughout your vacation, you can rent or book a pet-friendly retreat house instead.
Pet-friendly holiday homes can offer your pet a wider and more secure environment. They usually have a grassed area or a courtyard within the house’s gated perimeter where your pet or pets can roam around freely. But remember to speak with the staff about their restrictions to know if this is the right accommodation for you and your furry friend.
2. Bring your pet to the vet for a full health check
Like humans, some pets may not be allowed to travel when they have certain health conditions. To ensure your pet is in perfect health and shape for your vacation, take them to the vet first for a full health check. The vet will see if your pet has up-to-date vaccinations and is in proper physical and mental health to travel.
In addition, during your vet visit, have the doctor issue some health certifications and documents, as airlines, hotels, and some destinations may ask for your pet’s health records. You can also have your pet microchipped by the vet. That way, in case your pet gets lost and is picked up by other pet owners or pet shelters/offices, they can contact you immediately.
3. Prepare other identification of your pet
Did you know that about ten million pets are lost or go missing yearly and end up in different animal shelters? The risk of losing your pet is exceptionally high when traveling or on vacation. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening by taking the proper precautions and preparations to ensure your pet is always with you.
Besides microchipping, you may also need to prepare other papers or items for your pet’s identification. These include:
- Sturdy leash and collar with your pet’s name and your phone number (should be worn all the time)
- A recent portrait of your dog or a picture with you
- A dog ID tag issued by your vet
These identifications can help increase your chances of finding your pet in case they get away during the trip.
4. Check the laws or regulations for every destination regarding traveling with pets
As much as traveling without an exact destination sounds exciting and freeing, that shouldn’t be the case when traveling with pets. Keep in mind that not all states or destinations have the same laws or policies regarding welcoming pets from different destinations. Without a plan, you might end up frustrated about leaving your pet at the airport or completely cancel the trip because you can’t take your pet with you.
Thus, for your next vacation with your pet, research the laws and policies for each destination you plan to visit. Some may specify the specific pet breeds banned from their region or require pets to be muzzled and secured in a crate or cage. Others may also require pet owners to present the vet-signed health records of their pets to ensure they are healthy and free from any disease.
The bottom line is, intense preparation and planning are necessary when choosing destinations for you and your pet’s trip. The more prepared you are, the less stress you’ll encounter during your vacation.
5. Determine the best mode of transport to travel with your pet
There are many options on how you can travel with your pet. You can travel in your own car or board a train, boat, or plane. However, make sure you choose the best means of transport that is easier for you and your pet.
As per statistics, 38% of pet owners prefer traveling with their pets via their own vehicles because it’s more convenient. They won’t have to go through the hassle of airport check-ins, security complications, and dealing with complaining co-travelers or passengers. Car rides are also less stressful for some pets because they’re already familiar with the vehicle compared to planes or trains in which the new surroundings may cause anxiety or confusion to the pet.
On the other hand, if you must travel by plane because you’re vacationing abroad, it’d be good to know that intense preparation should be done. Not all airlines allow passengers to bring pets unless they are guide dogs. Meanwhile, airlines that allow animal passengers usually impose rules and criteria on the type of pet, breed, size, or weight of the animal allowed to go on board.
In most cases, pets must be contained in a proper animal carrier and placed in the cargo space of the airplane. But for small-sized pets, some airlines may allow them to fly in-cabin with their owners. To be sure, check with your chosen airlines and their rules regarding pets and see if they’re the best option for you and your pet.
6. Pack your pet’s suitcase
Lastly, don’t forget to pack your pet’s suitcase. Like you, your pet will also need some stuff for the entire vacation. Here are some of the essentials you mustn’t miss when packing your pet’s suitcase:
- All complete health records, certificates, and other documentation
- Collar, leash, and harness with your pet’s number and your phone number
- Food dishes and water bowls
- Poop bags and a sandbox (for cats)
- Favorite toy(s)
- Bed and blankets with the scent of your home
- First aid kid for pets
- Vitamins and prescribed medications
- Grooming kits
- Pet clothes (optional)
Whatever the length of your trip is, having all these prepared in advance can help guarantee the best possible vacation experience for you and your furry friend.
Traveling with pets doesn’t sound impossible or challenging as long as you know what to prepare and consider. Remember, the point of vacationing with your pet is to relax and have fun. So, keep all these things in mind and take care of whatever needs to be cared for so you go on vacation with your furry friend without problems and worries.