Tips on Traveling with Pets
Tips on Traveling with Pets is a must-read before heading out of town with your furry friend for the first time or even if you are a seasoned pro.
We offer up to date suggestions on destinations that are more pet friendly than others, where to dine, places to stay and where to play and how to keep your cats and dogs safe. Our Tips for Traveling with Pets takes into consideration new technology and suggestions culled from travelers that have been on the road with their pets for years. As with any kind of travel, early planning is most important. Read our comprehensive Tips on Traveling with Pets and please feel free to contact us if you want to add to the list. We are always open to suggestions.
Tips on Traveling with Pets #1 — Where to Go
Taking into consideration our statistics on the number of pet friendly hotels, restaurants and parks, which are commonalities among cities, Vacation Pet Friendly has named the most pet-friendly cities in the U.S. For those who are undecided, this might help better pinpoint your travel destination.
- New York City
- San Antonio
If you are basing your destination choice on an activity such as hiking, please input the city name into our search box “Plan a Pet Friendly Trip” and from here you can find pet friendly hikes, hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and much more for that specific area. The graphic to the right Things to Do is what you can expect to see when you input a city name. Click on any of the categories and a list will appear so you can read up on that particular beach, park, restaurant etc. and see the map so you can easily find it.
Tips on Traveling with Pets #2 — Places to Stay
Thankfully, America has become increasingly pet friendly over the past seven years. Five percent of the hotels in America allow pets. This is a vast improvement for which we can thank pet advocate groups and baby boomers that have replenished their empty nests with pets, yet still have the itch to travel.
Additionally, everyone wants your business! Not only do we have pet friendly hotels vying for pet travelers’ business, but the doggie daycares, kennels, tour companies, local activity sponsors, theme parks, city parks and beaches and pet event organizers also want to reign in any given U.S. city.
With all these new places to explore, options and opportunities, traveling with pets can be easy if you know where you are going, what activities to participate in, places to can take your pet for his or her daily exercise and routine maintenance and what restaurants allow pets.
Tips on Traveling with Pets #3 – Rating the Pet-Friendliness of Hotels
Vacation Pet Friendly has found there are three levels of pet friendliness of hotels. First, there are the pet friendly hotels that go all out to make your dog or cat feel welcomed. These hotels typically will meet and greet their furry guests with a gift of some sort, whether it be a filled basket, organic treats made by the hotel chef, toys, a logo-engraved doggie bed or a photo in the suite of the hotel’s pet guest. Some hotels even have their own pet concierge service. For these types of amenities, you may want to look at the some of the Kimpton, Loews and Hyatt hotels.
Then there are those hotels, which are pet friendly to the extent of offering water and food bowls, and a bed. Sheraton, Westin and boutique hotels typically fall into this category.
Last, there are those hotels you can almost always count on to let your pooch stay, even if it means that you have to bring your own doggie bed and feeding bowls. These types of facilities are mostly the motels or one- to two-night-stay hotels. You can depend on a large number of La Quinta Inns and Best Westerns to open their doors to your furry friend in many of their facilities throughout the U.S.
Tips on Traveling with Pets #4 — Hotel Rules & Regulations
Whether the hotels are super pet friendly or only accepting of pets, there are specific rules and regulations that, for the most part, are the same for all hotels. They are:
- Animals must be well behaved. Hotels have the right to move the animal to another part of the hotel if he/she is bothering other guests.
- Dogs must be kept in a crate when no one is in the room. This ensures the safety of the hotel staff.
- You must pick up after your pet.
- In most instances, there most likely will be a fee. Some hotels call it a deposit; others a cleaning fee. Some are refundable; others are not.
Tips on Traveling with Pets #5 — Renting a Car
There are about five car rental agencies in the U.S. that allow pets. Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz, National and Thrifty are the most well known. Thrifty tends to have the most stringent regulations.
When traveling with a pet in the car, you need to use a restraint. Be careful to cover the seats to prevent damage from your pet’s nails or the carrier/restraint. Make sure to wipe dog and cat hairs from the seats before you return the vehicle. Car companies can be sticklers on cleaning fees, so make sure you do your part to return the car clean. Here is some good advice on traveling with pets in cars.
Traveling Tips for Pets #6 — Airline Travels
If you plan to take your pet on an airplane, know its pet policy! Make sure to visit our Pet Friendly Airlines information page, where there is a list of airlines traveling to and within the U.S. from which you can easily click on and redirect to that airline’s pet policy page. Each has its own set of pet policies so make sure you understand them before booking.
No matter if you reserve your flight online or via telephone make the airlines aware you are bringing your furry friend. Our most important two traveling tips for pets that will be flying is to make sure to call the airlines the day before your scheduled flight to confirm you will be there with your pet in tow and make sure you have your vaccination records with you.
Regulations are explained in full detail on each pet friendly airline’s page, which you can get to as a list from Vacation Pet Friendly’s Pet Friendly Airlines page. However, most requirements include what pets will be allowed in the cabin (based on size), what types of pets are allowed to fly (snub nosed pets are typically not allowed to fly because flying can cause respiratory problems) and how many pets are allowed on each flight. Some flights allow a maximum of only two pets. You also need to know the carrier size. If your pet is allowed in the cabin, don’t give your pet food or water too close to takeoff time. To minimize stress, make sure your pet has familiar surroundings in his carrier, such as a blanket and toy from home. Bring your leash!
Another thing to consider is non-stop flights are always easiest on pets that fly.
Tips on Traveling with Pets #7 — Finding Things to Do at Your Destination
Again, planning is key. There are some things you may not be able to avoid whether you’re your pet or not: driving or taxing to various places, such as gardens, tours, events, historic monuments etc. However, it will make your trip easier if you map the places beforehand based specifically on which activities, events, places of interest etc. allow your pet. You also will want to find good dog parks, pet friendly parks or pet friendly beaches near your hotel. Make sure you know the locations of nearby pet stores as well. Vacation Pet Friendly has listings and maps for all that is pet friendly in every U.S. city including beaches, parks, hiking trails, events, shops and much more. Use the website as your guide.
Tips on Traveling with Pets #8 — Planning is Key
It cannot be emphasized enough that planning is key for any trip involving your animal. Here is a basic overview of travel tips:
1. Visit your vet prior to any extended trip. All vaccinations must be up to date.
2. Keep a copy of shot records and health certifications with you. These records will be necessary for air travel and doggie daycares at your destination. You also may be requested to present them upon check-in at hotels. Simply tuck the paperwork away with your passports, IDs, itinerary and other travel documents so they are easy to access.
3. Bring a few photos of your pet as a precaution should you and your furry friend get separated. Leave them in your purse or wallet.
4. Travel with some of your dog’s regular food – a good tip is to put each serving in a Ziploc bag. Familiar foods will help keep your pet’s tummy stable.
5. If your pet is on any medications, be sure to travel with enough for the trip plus a few days should you get in a position where you are unable to return home on the date you expected.
6. Always call your hotel a day or two before arrival and remind them you have your pet with you. This is extremely important.
7. Print out or capture a screenshot of the descriptions and maps to pet-friendly parks, beaches, restaurants you want to visit. If you don’t have time to do this prior to leaving, simply bookmark Vacation Pet Friendly and find them on your mobile.
8. You know your dog better than anyone, so take into consideration his or her quirks and usual wants and needs. Make your plans so they accommodate these while traveling. After all, Sparky is a member of your family and this shared adventure makes for a lifetime of memories.
Once you’ve got your plans in place, all you’ll need to do is have a pawsitively wonderful vacation.