Tips for Traveling with Your Pet to Add Joy to the Journey

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Because you love your pet, you probably feel at least a little guilty leaving Fido or Fluffy behind while you're traveling. Bringing your pet along on vacation may be the answer. Traveling with your pet isn't for every owner or animal, though. It takes extra planning and patience, but it can be super rewarding for both the person and the animal. These six tips for traveling with your pet will help make the journey fun for all.

Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

1. Decide if your pet should travel with you.

Before traveling with your pet, ask yourself some important questions. Does Fluffy hate riding in a car, or does she love looking out the window? Would my pet make a good hotel guest, or does Fido bark too much, chew on furniture or have accidents when nervous? Will the trip be fun for my pet, too? If your pet is sick, frail or a nervous traveler, then a weeklong stay at the local dog ranch or staying home with a pet sitter may be a better choice.

Even if your pet is healthy and happy in the car, consider the type of trip you're planning. A three-week road trip in the heat of summer is likely not a good holiday for your dog or cat. Long drives, flights, extreme weather conditions, and constant hotel room changes are stressful for humans, and even more so for the pets. Larger dogs that do not fit in a pet carrier below an airplane seat usually must ride in cargo with the luggage and away from the owner, which can be quite distressing for your canine. (Read more about pet airline rules.) On the other hand, your animal might love a long weekend road trip to a lakeside cottage or nearby campsite, where they can romp and play.

Tips for traveling with your pet

Is your pet up for a trip? (Photo credit: Pixabay)

2. Book a vet visit and make sure your pet's vaccinations are up-to-date.

A pre-trip visit to the vet for a health check is a good idea before traveling with your pet. If your trip plan includes a border crossing or international travel, ensure your pet’s vaccinations (particularly for rabies) are up to date. Pack a copy of your pet’s medical records and pet insurance (if applicable) to show if requested. If traveling internationally, keep in mind that regulations for travel with pets varies from country to country and may require quarantine. Learn more about international pet travel requirements here.

A quick health check at the vet is great peace of mind before your trip ~ 7 Traveling with Your Pet Tips

A quick health check at the vet is great peace of mind before your trip (Photo credit: Pixabay)

3. Pack pet supplies.

Your pet likely has favorite snacks, food, chews and toys. Don’t assume you can find them at your destination. Bring enough food supplies to last for your trip's duration, and add two extra days just in case. Ensure a favorite toy, blanket or pillow is along for the ride as well. Pets enjoy the comforts of home just as much as their caretakers. Also, don’t forget any health medications they may need.

4. Exercise your dog before departure.

A walk around the block (or two) before piling into the car or boarding the plane will tire your pup for a good chunk of driving or flying time. Gauge the amount of exercise needed by the size and daily habits of your pet. A smaller dog may be happy with a quick potty break at the highway rest stop, while a larger animal may need a longer walk and more playtime along the route.

Your pet can make a family trip more fun if you plan ahead! 6 Traveling with your pet tips ~ TravelMamas.com

Your pet can make a family trip more fun if you plan ahead (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

5. Keep your pet safe while traveling.

There are strong arguments for crating your pet for road travel. It’s comforting for the dog or cat to have its own space. Crates also keep pets safer in case of accidents. On the downside, crates take up packing space and some pets prefer to curl up in a passenger's lap to laying in their crate.

Remember: do not leave your dog in the car while you're out exploring. It’s that simple. Hot or cold temperatures can be deadly for pets. Find a pet sitter or board your best friend in a kennel if you’re planning a long road trip. If you're worried about leaving your pet companion during mealtime on the road, opt for drive-though dining instead of a sit-down meal. Or, pack a cooler of food and stop for a picnic in a park where your pet can get a respite from the car with you.

A sign welcoming pet guests at the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach, Oregon ~ Tips for Traveling with Pets

A sign welcoming pet guests at the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach, Oregon (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

6. Book a pet-friendly hotel when traveling with your pet.

More resorts and hotels are dog-friendly than ever before. You can book rooms that welcome dogs and cats with treats, bowls and even luxury pet beds.

Don’t leave your dog alone in the hotel room for long periods to bark and whine (many hotels disallow this anyway). If you must leave your pet in the room for a short time, make use of the pet crate to avoid messes and ensure housekeeping is safe should they visit while you’re away. This also ensures your pet doesn't sneak away during a housekeeping visit!

Some destinations are particularly pet-friendly, like Cannon Beach, Oregon and Carmel, California, with plentiful lodging and dining options for pet owners, plus bowls of water placed outside the town's shops. Looking for more options for vacationing with pets? Check out this massive listing of pet-friendly hotels on TripAdvisor.com.

Our pets make our lives brighter with their unique personalities and unconditional love. It makes sense, then, that traveling with your pet will add another layer of fun and joy to the journey!

Do you have any questions or tips for traveling with your pet? Let us know in the comments below!

About Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama

Claudia Laroye lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two sons (ages 18 and 20). She started travelling at a very young age, and has never stopped. She’s had the fortune of visiting more than 20 countries on four continents, and has also lived abroad in Sweden. Claudia is passionate about family travel and about educating children through the travel experience. She is the author of the thetravellingmom.ca, and contributes to many online and print media publications. Connect with Claudia on Twitter as @travelling_mom.

Comments
  1. Melinda Babiak says:

    we do not travel with our pets. I’ve said if we do a week at the beach or cabin in the mountains we could take them but our other trips are not pet friendly.

  2. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says:

    These are great tips! We travel with our two dogs whenever possible. We hate to have to leave them alone.

  3. These are all such helpful tips! I love when hotels are pet friendly because I don’t have to feel bad about leaving the pets at home!

    • Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama says:

      I know! It makes such a difference when the hotel is accommodating of our furry children. 😉

  4. These are some excellent pointers for animal lovers.

  5. Chrystal | Nevermore Lane says:

    I love that more and more hotels are allowing pets. Years ago you could barely find one, now they are all over the place. I don’t travel with my pets too often just because I dont want to leave them in a hotel room. So, they stay with my mom. Shes an awesome dog sitter.

  6. Great tips! Our dogs are way too hype to travel with so we tend to kennel them when we go on a trip. Maybe when they get a little older, they can come too 🙂

  7. Love the travels tips. We travel alot so it will help!

  8. Toni | BoulderLocavore.com says:

    Love these tips! We love traveling with our dog! These tips will surely be helpful for our next trip!

  9. One of my favorite pre-kids vacations was a road trip my husband and I took with our two dogs. They loved the road trip, sniffing all the different scents & peeing on new trees. These are great ideas for our next pet-inclusive vacation.

  10. A lot of people would rather not travel with their pets because there’s so much to consider. But it’s also very worth it unless your dog is not comfortable in the car. I think these are great tips and they will definitely help!

    • Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama says:

      Agreed, it really depends on the trip length and style. Our sweet little Maltipoo (pictured in the piece) loves weekend camping trips, but a three-week summer road trip is out of the question.

  11. These are excellent tips. We just took our two pets to the beach with us for two weeks. They were fine once we got there but the car ride was brutal.

  12. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    These are great tips for travelling with your pet. My Sister had two small dogs she is planning on taking on a road trip. I will have to share this post with her.

  13. Kelly Hutchinson says:

    Great tips. I hate leaving my pets at home when I travel. But it can be very difficult to do.

  14. Nicole Escat says:

    Traveling with your pet was fun but a little bit hard. This is such a good advice.

  15. Anjanette Young says:

    these are great tips for traveling with pets. it is nice to know there are pet friendly hotels and restaurants up there

  16. We just have a cat and he doesn’t like to the leave the house. We have someone check on him here instead.

  17. Anjanette Young says:

    Those are great tips for traveling with pets. It’s nice to know there are motels and establishments that allow pets.

  18. My dogs love going for a car ride. Always keep them exercised and busy before a trip.

  19. Joyce Brewer says:

    My BFF flies with her pup everywhere. She makes it sound very convenient with a little planning.

  20. One of the reasons we have waited to get a furry friend. We travel so much, I’m sure we could make it work just have to decide to. They deserve to enjoy travel too.

  21. Rach Ferrucci says:

    We don’t travel with our pets but these are great tips for those who do and hopefully someday we’ll be able to take our gigantic baby with us

  22. I dont have pets but I know they deserve to travel too. Great tips!

  23. Mariah Seagle says:

    My brother wants to bring his pet when goes on a long trip. It was explained here that leaving our pet under the sun for a long time is not a good idea for pets. Moreover, it’s best to ask professionals for animal health services.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      It is true that it is dangerous to leave pets in very hot and very cold cars for safety’s sake. According to PETA, on a 78 F degree day, the temperature inside a car can climb to 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. It’s best to travel to places where your brother can always bring his dog with him when stopping for lunch, hikes, shopping, etc. Some pet-friendly hotels offer pet sitting as well.

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