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Pet Travel Advice & Tips

Tips for Traveling With Pets
by Nicole Hockin

Traveling with pets is becoming more of a norm for pet-owners than in recent years. From road trips to long-haul air flights to stays at beautiful resorts, four-legged companions are officially members of the family when they make the vacation roster.

If you are planning a trip with your four-legged friend then please keep in mind these tips for traveling with pets.

1. In the Car
Keep fresh water and a bowl available. Every time you stop, go ahead and fill it up. While you’re sipping on a drink throughout your drive, your dog is panting its way to dehydration.

And just like with your kids, plan for stops at rest areas or parks to let everyone stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and burn off some restless energy.

“Practice” traveling with your pets before heading off on a long drive or flight. Keeping your dogs in a crate is a great way to recreate a familiar environment for them, which both soothes their anxiety and provides an extra bit of security in the event of an accident.

2. On Airplanes
Most airlines make flying with pets fairly painless. Many require a health certificate filled out by a veterinarian to be submitted ahead of time. An easy way to ruin a vacation is to find out that your pet can’t fly at the check-in desk. Be sure to check with an airline before you fly for all their specific restrictions and requirements.  For example, some airlines prohibit brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs and cats as checked luggage. Breeds represented include Boston Terriers, Pekingese, and Shih Tzu.

Pet Airways, Frontier Airlines and Jet Blue recently took top honors in the study on best airlines to travel with pets.

This summer, in particular, flying with pets has been more difficult as most airlines prohibit pets from traveling when the current or forecasted temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees C) at any location on the itinerary.   In fact, the following cities have embargoes on pet air travel through the month of September:

  1. Ft. Myers

  2. Las Vegas

  3. Phoenix

  4. San Antonio

  5. Tampa

  6. Tucson

And looking ahead to the cooler months, pets cannot be accepted when the ground temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees C) at any location on your itinerary. This is sometimes waived up to 20 degrees with a veterinary statement but never below this temperature. Also veterinary letters must be dated no more than 10 days from departure.

3. In Hotels
In my experience, pet owners see their pets as part of the family, and are fiercely loyal to the property and the brand that welcomes them into their temporary home away from home.

It is important while communicating with a lodging choice to make sure to find out what is expected. There may be fees, limitations on pet size, specific pet policies, and breed specifications that you need to know BEFORE you travel. Expect to pay pet fees at most hotels, vacation rentals and resorts. Companies that charge a fee should not be viewed negatively. People who are willing to pay the extra fees typically have pets that are better behaved.

If you wouldn’t let Fido run free in a friend’s house, then don’t do it in a hotel room either. Save yourself the possibility of fees for property destruction and help your pet feel secure by crating them while traveling. In fact, leaving a pet alone in a room is never a good idea, and usually not allowed by management. Be sure to keep them crated since maids will likely service the room.

Here are a few other hotel-friendly pet tips.

  1. Leave the television or radio on to keep the pet company

  2. Consider feeding a pet in the bathroom and avoid carpets, minimizing  messes

  3. Old towels, carpet cleaner, disinfectant spray, and trash bags are important for accidents

Ask the concierge about nearby pet-walking paths and parks.


 Nicole HockinA travel industry veteran and spokesperson, Nicole Hockin provides readers with practical travel advice and recommendations on the Travel Smart Blog. Have any other pet travel questions or a pet travel trip to share? Ask and share here at