Holidays are about relaxation, seeing sights and spending time with loved ones. Many people want to include their pets on family holidays, and these days many hotels and airlines are making it not only possible, but also easier to do it. There is a bit of planning involved in traveling with a pet, whether by car or plane, but follow these tips and use your best judgment to ensure that you and your pet enjoy the trip.
In the weeks leading up to your trip, think about how your pet will most comfortably travel. If you are traveling by road and your pet is not used to being in the car, take it for a few short car rides around town to acclimate it to being in the car. If your pet is used to being in the car, but does not enjoy it, give some thought to a pet carrier. These are especially useful for cats, but small dogs may prefer the security of a carrier to just wandering the backseat.
Be sure that you have all of your petís basic necessities packed and handy throughout the trip. Plan on taking many breaks along the way for your pet to stretch, eat and answer the call of nature. Have bottled water and food or snacks packaged and ready to go at each rest stop. Have a leash or toys nearby for dogs that will need to walk, run or play off some energy. Some other items that may prove useful are your petís favorite toy, blanket or stuffed animal for comfort; any medications they are on or may need; your veterinarianís phone number, as well as a list of phone numbers for animal hospitals along the way; and a first aid kit for animals, including bandages, gauze, tape and antiseptic creams.
When you do stop for breaks, be sure to allow your pet time to cool off in a shady area. If you plan on eating in a restaurant, leave the windows in the car down so your pet can get some fresh air. If it is too hot and humid to safely leave your pet in the car alone for an extended period of time, consider skipping sit down meals and opt for fast food service or picnic at a rest stop.
Flying is definitely the quickest way to travel with a pet, but can also prove to be the most frustrating and worrisome for pet owners. If you know what to expect and do a little homework beforehand, it doesnít have to be totally unnerving. Prior to leaving for your trip, you should be completely sure of your airlineís pet policy. Pets must be at least eight weeks old and have proper health and vaccination documents before being cleared to travel. Be certain that you have these documents updated just before your trip to avoid any delay or denial.
Where your pet sits is up to each individual airline. Some airlines allow pets of certain sizes to sit with their owners, for a fee, in the cabin. A pet carrier is usually required and must be able to fit underneath the seat in front of yours. Because of the size restriction, it is usually small to medium-sized pets that will be allowed to ride in the cabin. Check with your airline, as there is usually a maximum number of animals allowed in the cabin
Another option for pet owners is to board their pet in a carrier and check it in with the baggage. Most airlines charge a fee for this as well, and often have the same restrictions in place for checked animals as for carry-on animals. Your pet will placed in a temperature-controlled, pressurized environment for their comfort, but this type of travel can still be a source of anxiety for pets and their owners. Some tips to consider while checking your pet in are, make sure your pet has had plenty of exercise prior to being boarded in the carrier; keep your pet calm before checking them in; do not keep their leash in the carrier with them, as this can be very dangerous. Above all else, remember that your pet is in a safe place and that you will be reunited with it shortly.
Whether you are traveling by car or plane, you will need to find a pet-friendly hotel to stay at. Use PetHolidays.com to find hotels, motels, resorts and camp sites that welcome and cater to travelers and their pets. These places are found all around the country and for every type of travel imaginable. You should be sure to reserve your choice well in advance and contact the hotel directly with any questions you may have or provisions you may need concerning your pet.
If you are traveling by car, it is a good idea to plot out hotels along the way that will welcome your pet before you leave.
Many hotels that welcome pets do so for a nominal fee. Each hotel will have their own policies concerning pets in the room, outside and in public areas. Be sure to read up on these policies and follow them. Most hotels require pets to be kept on a lead at all times when outside the room; some require health and vaccination documents; some have restrictions regarding the size and weight of the animal. Regardless of the policy in place, be sure to follow it precisely, and keep your pet with you as much as possible. An unattended pet left in a strange environment can wreak havoc to a hotel room. Try to avoid this by taking your pet along with you on your excursions, or look up nearby kennels that will board your pet for the day.
The next time you plan your family holiday, give some thought to taking your pet with you. Traveling with your pet is not as difficult as you may think. With careful planning and preparation, and a little research on what is available to you in the world of travel, you can pack up your beloved pet for the next time you hit the road.