Ever so often, many families think of jet-setting off for warmer climes. Spring is a popular travel time – for students, adults and families – and hitting the open road can be a lot of fun. But don’t forget that furry member of the family when you’re making vacation plans: traveling with a pet can be a bit more work, but it can also provide a really rewarding experience – provided you do it right.
A traveling companion you’ll love
If taking a pet along is such a hassle, why bother at all? Well, aside from saving money on pet care costs, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind from having your furball right there with you. And then there’s also the fact that your pet can actually make a good traveling companion, notes the National Post. Having your furry friend with you can help stave off the loneliness of traveling alone: especially since your pet can even serve as a conversation starter when you’re getting to know the locals.
Preparation is key
The best way to ensure your vacation goes smoothly is to do your homework, and this is even more important when you’re bringing along a four-legged friend. For long car trips, be sure to map out pet-friendly rest stops and hotels along your route. You’ll also want to make sure you’re well-stocked with plenty of food, fresh water and other supplies.
If, on the other hand, you’re traveling by train, plane or bus, you’ll want to talk to the carrier before booking your tickets: most modes of transportation have strict rules regarding animals, and some don’t welcome them at all. Wherever you’re going and however you choose to get there, you can save yourself a lot of headaches simply by planning ahead.
If you don’t already have one, you’ll want to invest in a good crate for your pet. Even if you’re traveling by car, crating or using a harness is usually safer for your pooch than allowing him to wander freely about the vehicle. For those who are new to crating, Cesar Milan offers some helpful advice on getting your dog used to his crate. The American Kennel Club, meanwhile, has some additional tips on traveling with a dog.
Taking the adventure international
Things get a little trickier if you’re planning on crossing any borders with your pets in tow, but in many cases, the challenges aren’t insurmountable. Again, preparation is truly the key to a smooth experience. You’ll want to check the laws and regulations both for your own country and for any that you’ll be passing through on your travels. For instance, the United States Department of Agriculture offers this helpful page on taking animals into and out of the U.S.
Vacationing with a pet can be really fun and rewarding. If you’re traveling alone to an unfamiliar place, your furry friend can be a source of comfort and companionship. Families, on the other hand, may not feel complete without their four-legged members. And as long as you take the time to plan and prepare properly, you can minimize your headaches – and maximize your enjoyment of sharing these moments with Fluffy or Fido.