Travel season is upon us, and you might be looking to take your four-legged family member on your next vacation. While you’re planning your next getaway, you’ll need to weigh your options when it comes to whether to bring your pet along for the ride or leave them at home. However, bringing a pet along on a vacation isn’t as easy as packing their food dish and saying sayonara. There are several factors to consider when it comes to bringing pets along on a trip, and it’s important you weigh your options before making a travel decision.
Not sure what to consider before bringing Fido or Fluffy along on your next vacation? Here are some pros and cons to bringing a pet while you travel.
The biggest pro to bringing your pet along is that you both get to enjoy your travel destination. If you’re spending a weekend at a cabin in the woods or renting a house on the beach, you can delight in knowing your furry family member can also enjoy some fresh air and extra room for exploration. This will be a welcome break to them being cooped up all day while you’re away at work. Plus, there will be plenty of new smells to explore in your vacation destination, which should keep them entertained for hours, if not days, at a time.
Another benefit to taking your pet along for a vacation is that you can rest assured your pet is getting great care. Many people resort to boarding their pets when they go out of town or asking a neighbor to supervise their pets, which can make even the most relaxed pet owner nervous. By taking your pets with you, you can keep a close eye on them and spend your relaxing days together.
Just as there are benefits to vacationing with your pet, there are downfalls to having to watch your furry family member while on vacation. One con is there are several regulations and additional guidelines you have to follow when traveling with pets, especially if you are flying with them. Each airline has its own requirements and guidelines for traveling with pets, and not following these rules can result in extra fees, costly last-minute travel arrangements, or even finding yourself stranded at the airport, unable to travel with your pet. Some airlines also don’t allow for certain breeds of pets, so even if you do all the preparation necessary, you can find yourself unable to bring your pooch along on the flight.
If you are driving to your travel location with pets, that can also provide its own set of challenges. Not only will you need to pack additional pet supplies and toys to keep them occupied, if you have a dog, you’ll need to make extra pit stops to give them regular walk and exercise breaks. Not only will you need to stop more frequently, but you’ll also need to make sure there are pet-friendly rest areas included in your travel stops, as well as pet friendly restaurants for when you stop for meals. After being in the car all day, you and your pet will both want to get out for some fresh air, so make plans that both of you will be able to enjoy.
Once you finally arrive at your destination, there might be extra fees that come with letting your pet stay with you. These pet fees will vary by location for where you’re vacationing, but don’t be surprised to pay extra when it’s checkout time.
If these cons seem to sway you to want to leave your pet at home, but you are worried about boarding them in a strange facility, consider hiring a pet sitter to give your pet in-home care while you’re away. Pet sitters will allow your pet to enjoy the comforts of home while you rest at ease knowing your pet is in reliable hands. But not all pet sitters are created equal, so you’ll need to do your research before hiring your pet sitter.
First, make sure you visit the service’s website and ensure they are bonded and insured. Next, do some online sleuthing to see if there are reviews for their services available online. Search the business’s name online and popular review services like Yelp and Google+ to see if anyone has insight into their previous services.
After you’ve decided on a service, contact the organization to set up an interview with a potential sitter. If possible, arrange to meet with the person who will be taking care of your pet. Make sure your pet is comfortable with this person, and that you are as well. You should also ask for references from pet owners who have also used this service and sitter and contact them to gain some insight into their experience.
Amy Nicole is a dog mom and writer for pet food company Natural Balance. She and her dog, Lola, enjoy long walks and road trips together, although Amy usually gets stuck with the driving responsibilities.