For many pet owners, leaving their pet behind while the rest of the family goes on vacation simply isn’t an option. Our furry friends are part of the family too, after all! Luckily, with some planning and preparation, bringing your pets along on vacation can be fun and hassle-free for both you and them. We have compiled this guide covering everything you need to know to make travelling with pets easy breezy.
First Things First: Choosing Accommodations
The most important decision when traveling with pets is where you’ll lay your heads at night. Pet restrictions vary widely, so do your homework to find truly pet-friendly lodging. Hotels that allow pets often limit the number, weight, or breed, and most charge size-able nightly pet fees on top of the room rate. Instead, consider these more budget- and pet-friendly options:
Vacation Rentals: Rentals found on sites like Airbnb are easily filtered by pet-friendly amenities and many owners don’t charge extra fees. With full kitchens and yards, rentals can feel more like home for pets.
Campgrounds/RV Parks: Outdoor accommodations like campsites, RV parks, and glamping resorts nearly always welcome pets happily. Harvest Hosts offers a network of pet-friendly vineyards, farms, and attractions with RV parking. Most don’t charge fees since the sites themselves are low-cost.
Pet-Specific Lodging: For the ultimate pet vacation, seek out a pet resort, dog camp, or canine hotel. These destinations cater specifically to pets with amenities like dog parks, trails, washing stations, and pet sitting services. The Best Friends Roadhouse in Utah offers pet-focused activities and rooms designed just for dogs.
Pet-Friendly Cities: Consider pet-friendly vacation destinations like London, Vancouver, St. Croix USVI, or Virginia Beach where lots of hotels, restaurants, and attractions accommodate pets. These cities make it easier logistically and limit pet boredom.
Preparing for a Smooth Journey
Once you’ve booked pet-friendly lodging, shift your focus to transport and packing. A little prep ensures you, your family, and your furry friends arrive relaxed and happy at your destination!
In the Car
Secure pets in carriers or crates while driving or invest in pet seat belts to attach to harnesses. Stop every few hours for potty and play breaks. Bring food, medications, cleaning supplies, and water from home to reduce tummy trouble.
Some airlines allow small pets in aircraft cabins with advance reservations for $100 to $125 each way. Larger pets travel as cargo. Arrive early, watch out for extreme temperatures on the tarmac, attach contact info to your pet’s crate, and prepare needed documents like health certificates. Alternatively, consider a pet-friendly train or just road tripping instead.
General Packing Tips for Travelling with Pets
- Copies of health certificates and vaccinations
- Collar with tag displaying your phone number
- A week’s supply of regular pet food (introduce new foods slowly once home to avoid digestion issues)
- Medications, supplements, treats
- Bowls, poop bags, stain/odor remover, paper towels
- Familiar toys, bed, blankets (anything that smells like home)
- First aid kit
- Recent photo of your pet (useful if lost)
- Proof of ownership/adoption paperwork
- Dog/cat first aid book
Ensuring Fun for All
The logistics may be covered, but what about actual vacation fun? Just a bit more planning ensures both human and furry travelers enjoy activities and sights:
Pet-Friendly Attractions: Many outdoor attractions like national parks, trails, beaches, gardens, harbors, water sports outfitters, and tour providers welcome leashed pets. Do research beforehand to verify.
Rainy Day Entertainment: Scope out indoor pet-friendly shops, museums, and restaurants at your destination. Bring puzzles, chews, and toys to keep pets busy in your room when needed.
Physical & Mental Exercise: Make sure your pet gets plenty of activity every day. Long walks, hikes, playtime at dog parks, and training breaks stimulate both the body and mind. A tired, well-worked puppy is a happy camper!
Pet Sitters: If you’ll be away from your hotel for hours and can’t bring pets along, arrange pet sitters or doggy daycare instead of leaving pets. Rover.com connects travelers with nearby licensed pet sitters.
Despite meticulous planning, you may encounter some unexpected challenges when traveling with pets:
- Disrupted routines lead to accidents, chewing, barking, or anxiety
- Some pets get car sick or stop eating their food
- Boredom sets in from so much time cooped up together
When these issues pop up, stay patient, flexible, and take action to get your vacation back on track:
- Stick to usual schedules for feeding, walks, sleep when possible
- Use pheromone sprays/collars and treats to soothe anxious pets
- Book grooming, daycare, or vet visits to occupy pets when needed
- Prep bland food options in case of digestion issues
- Do frequent outlet walks and playtime
- Buy new toys/chews at local pet stores to fight boredom
- Leave pet alone briefly if they need some quiet time
With our tested tips and tricks, pet owners can look forward to an amazing, hassle-free getaway with their furry family members while travelling with pets. Just focus on smart accommodations and transport, preventative health precautions, pet-friendly activities, and an extra helping of patience. Get ready to make wonderful memories roaming new places with your most loyal travel buddy! Let me know if you have any other questions – happy trails!