Ah, winter holidays. The season of travel and outdoor adventures in warmer climates! Whether you’re road tripping across the country or taking a quick trip to a cabin up north, your furry companion is right along there with you! If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your pet behind with a sitter, there’s some things you’ll want to know to make your vacation getaway as smooth as possible. After all, pets need a vacation too!
How You’ll Get There
Just like traveling alone, there are options as to how your furry friend gets to your final destination. It doesn’t matter if you’re flying, driving or taking a train; there are things you need to know before booking your pet a ticket. Driving is the easiest option. Just open the door and let them hop in! Bring some ginger for the ride – it’s a natural resource for a nauseous dog. If driving is out of the question – like for a cross-country destination or an extremely busy city – you’ll have to take more precautions.
Busy cities may be fun to explore with your pet but getting around can be a hassle! If your destination is a walkable distance, go for it! Be prepared to stop a lot; your furball is going to love all of the new smells. If you’ve got a pet on the smaller side, a subway or bus system is another feasible option. Most cities allow small dogs and cats on public transportation as long as they are kept in a “reasonably sized bag”. With the definition of “reasonable” left to the imagination, plenty of pet parents took advantage, making for some pretty stellar photos.
If a plane is your only option, get ready for a marathon. The rules for pet airline travel have been ramped up substantially in recent years but it’s not impossible to get your dog or cat onto the plane – it just takes some great planning. The first step is to book your flight directly with the airline on the phone. There isn’t a place online to tell them you have a pet coming along for the ride. Check in again 24-48 hours before your flight leaves – just in case your furry family member’s reservation was forgotten!
You’ll need a special carrier for your friend to fly with you. For small dogs and cats, soft-sided carriers are what you’ll need. For large breeds, or pets who aren’t flying in the cabin, you’ll need a hard-sided carrier with ventilation holes, two empty dishes, handles for carrying and “Live Animal” labels on the outside. Your pet must be able to stand, sit, turn around and lay down with plenty of extra space. Check in at least two hours before your flight and don’t forget your pet’s veterinary records!
Where You’ll Sleep
The first step is making sure that your accommodations are pet friendly! There’s nothing worse than showing up to a hotel that turns your pet (and consequently, you) away. You can always call the hotel about their pet policies, but it’ll save you time if you search websites specifically specializing in pet friendly accommodations, such as Bring Fido or VRBO.
If you’re opting for a more adventurous route, stay in the great outdoors! Camping is a great way to adventure with canine friends. There’s plenty of room to get exercise, places to potty and in most cases, it’s a great way to save some extra dough. Campgrounds are far more likely to let your pup stay than a hotel, so it’s worth a look! Even if you aren’t quite up for roughing it in a tent, you may be able to rent a cabin with all of the comforts of home.
Where You’ll Eat
It’s not always easy to eat healthy while on the road, and it’s no different when you bring your pets along. You may not always be able to prepare meals for you or your pet on vacation, but meal prepping is sure to make it a bit easier. Don’t bring more than you’ll need! Planning ahead of time and portioning out your pet’s meals will make it easier to carry along. Investing in a set of collapsible bowls is a smart move, especially if you’re planning to be out and about during their normal meal time.
At least for humans, there are other options for food besides meal prepping! Check out pet-friendly restaurants and food stops while on your vacation! Food trucks or the local farmer’s market gives you the opportunity to eat yummy, wholesome food with furry friends in tow! Who knows maybe some real food, like carrots or blueberries, would be a snack your pet enjoys!
What You’ll See
Bringing your pet on vacation opens up an entirely different world from the sight-seeing that you’re used to. While normally you may have opted for the fancy restaurants and museums on a vacation without your pet, bringing them along will cause you to branch out! Picking a location to visit with your pet can be… interesting to say the least! Since each establishment or company makes their own guidelines, it’s best to search the web for good places to start. There are tons of blogs dedicated to pet friendly places in tourist destinations! All the work is done for you.
Some of the easiest routes to take for entertainment are dog parks – obviously – and hiking trails. Either of these options are the perfect opportunity for you and your pooch or kitty to get out and get some exercise! Hiking with your animal is allowed in most local and state parks on designated trails as long as you’ve got them on a leash no longer than six feet. Pick your trails based on distance and difficulty so both you and your pet stay safe in unfamiliar territory. Let them run wild before the two of you settle down for the night.
Bringing your pet along for the journey can enhance your fun and create great memories! Your pet will love the adventure time with you. Planning ahead will keep your vacation stress-free and give you more time to focus on the places and people around you. Bon voyage!