Traveling With Your Pet? Check Out These Tips First

Before you leave home, make sure your pet will be welcome at your destination and the surrounding area. For example, pets may only be allowed in certain areas of your hotel, RV park, or campground. And protected state or national parks may post trail restrictions that could limit your family’s hiking opportunities. Several websites offer dog-friendly campground and park guides to help you choose the best destination for your desired activities.

When traveling to another city, find out if your dog is allowed on restaurant patios or inside shopping or dining venues. This search will also help you identify some pet-friendly dining options before you ever leave home. If few options exist, create a backup plan: Will the hotel allow you to leave your pet crated in the hotel room? Or can you order in food or even prepare your own meals in your room?

Regardless of where you’re traveling, be sure to comply with local leash laws and always clean up after your pet as a courtesy to others who are sharing the public or private space.

Prep Your Hosts

If you’re planning to stay with a family or friend along the way, be upfront about your pet’s needs so there are no surprises. You’ll also need to ask about the house rules:

  • Are pets allowed on the furniture?
  • Can dogs do their business in the yard, or would your hosts prefer that you go for a morning and evening walk?
  • Is the yard fenced?
  • Do your friends have other animals in the home? Do they have kids?
  • Is there a safe room for your pet to stay if you leave the house, or will you need to bring along a crate?
  • All of these questions will help make your stay more peaceful and comfortable for everyone.

Choose Your Mode of Transportation

Many traditional travel options are off limits to pets. Here are some considerations when planning your trip:

Rental cars:
The majority of rental car agencies have pet-friendly policies and allow dogs and cats in the car. Some may require your pet to be crated during travel, and agencies may apply extra fees for any damage or necessary cleaning.

Buses: Certain cities like Seattle have pet-friendly policies that allow leashed dogs on public transportation. But most national bus chains don’t allow animals.

Subways: Check your local destinations for their pet policies. Some subways allow leashed or contained animals to ride when accompanied by their owner.

Ferry lines: Most ferry lines allow pets on board if they remain with their humans in the car, and some have adopted policies that allow animals in specific areas of the vessel.

Trains: Most trains will not allow pets on board or in cargo areas. However, there are always exceptions. Certain European countries have more open travel options for pets.

Cruises: While many small carriers offer one- to three-hour “sightseeing” cruises for people and their pets, animals aren’t traditionally welcome on ocean liners. One exception is Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, which offers a transatlantic voyage starting or ending in New York, as well as European voyages. The ship boasts an onboard kennel area for housing dogs and cats, space for walking dogs, and designated areas for guests to spend time with their pets.

Airlines: Each airline has its own restrictions and fees when it comes to transporting pets, and the size of your pet is a big consideration. Small pets traveling in the cabin will need to fit within the seat space. If your pet is too big to fit under the seat, you’ll need an airline-approved crate with proper ventilation for transporting your pal in one of the plane’s climate-controlled cargo areas.

Restrictions also apply to certain breeds. For instance, snub-nosed breeds of dogs and cats — like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Persian or Burmese cats — may be restricted from flying in cargo areas, depending on several factors, including the ambient temperature at that time of the year. Other airlines limit cabin travel for so-called “dangerous” breeds.

As for fees, expect to pay between $100 and $200 to transport your pet one way, depending on his size.

When booking your ticket, also consider leaving layover time for potty breaks if your pet is traveling with you in the cabin. Many airports offer dog relief areas so you can make a pit stop before boarding your next flight. Be prepared to go back through security if the rest areas aren’t adjacent to your concourse.


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