Plan a Pet-Friendly Vacation

If you can't stand leaving your furry family members at home, bring them along for a pet-friendly vacation. Here are our best tips for traveling with pets.

Fly the Pet-Friendly Skies
Flying with your pet is really a lot easier than it sounds as most airlines are quite animal-friendly. However, each airline has its own set of regulations, so research these before you book a flight to make sure you'll be in compliance with all rules.

Most airlines extend 2 options to pets -- carry-on or checked. You may already have a favorite animal carrier, but check with the airline to be sure it meets specific guidelines. Regulations for pet carriers vary depending on how your cat or dog will be flying. Small pets can come aboard as carry-on luggage in a hard or soft carrier and must be stowed under the seat for the duration of the flight. Larger pets that will be checked to fly in cargo must travel in a non-collapsible carrier with an plentiful supply of water. In most cases, the weight of the animal and the carrier must not exceed 100 pounds.

Hit the Road
If you're hoping to travel by train or bus, you're probably out of luck. Most national carriers do not permit animals other than service pets on board. That leaves driving if you're planning to hit the open road. Car travel is more convenient because you can set your own schedule and have your pet by your side for the duration of the trip. There are, however, some safety tips to think about.

Don't let your dog or cat ride in your lap in the front seat. Let them find a comfortable and safe spot in a back seat or keep them in a carrier so that they don’t roam around the car and distract you while driving.

Talk to your vet before you leave for your trip to decide the best way to handle any anxiety your pet may have on the road. If your pet gets anxious in the car, your vet may recommend sedatives to relieve stress and reduce car sickness. Pets can get nauseous on the road just like humans.

Plan for plenty of stops along the way for fresh air and bathroom breaks. When it's time for you to hit the rest stop, leave the window open a little for ventilation and don’t leave your pet alone in the car for an extended period of time. Remember that extreme weather can be very dangerous for animals.

Home Away From Home
As more and more people travel with their pets, the hotel industry has responded with many animal-friendly options. Most high-end hotel chains, boutique hotels and budget hotels all have pet-friendly properties. Check with individual hotels or on websites that contain information on pet-friendly lodging. Check with the hotel about pet policies before checking in, and be prepared to pay an additional fee to have your pet join you for the night.

If you’re renting accommodations, whether a beach house or a ski chalet, don't assume your pet is welcome without checking first. Some have strict policies on pets, but many allow animals for a fee.

Finally, hopefully there will be no medical emergencies, but always be prepared. Before you leave for your trip, research emergency vet clinics at your destination and make sure you have any meds or vital information with you.

Credit: Travel Channel

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