Pet travel is booming! In fact, 48 per cent of dog owners and 22 per cent of cat owners now say they take their pets on vacation. It’s a lot like travelling with a baby, and luckily for us National Geographic Contributing Editor, Heather Greenwood Davis stopped by The Social to share tips on how to travel with pets and the best destinations to bring them to. While there are so many things that go into the trip, and you have to remember that it can be stressful for everyone involved, the rewards are great and there is a lot you can do to make sure you have an incredible experience before you even leave home.
The extra fees on airlines range between $50 and $118 for an under-the seat pet. For larger pets that are going into cargo, you’re looking at between $105- $318.60 per leg depending on the trip. Unfortunately, it’s not cheap. At hotels, you can usually expect some sort of nominal cleaning fee.
All countries require a veterinary health certificate to be filled out prior to departing, and each one is a little different. You can contact your destination country’s embassy to obtain copies of all necessary veterinary paperwork, and you’ll likely need your vet to fill it out within 10 days of entry to the new country. If traveling from the U.S. or Canada, the certificate must be endorsed by a USDA or CFIA accredited veterinarian. You’ll also want to find out if quarantine is mandatory—which can be as long as six months! But it’s usually not an issue if you’ve got the right paperwork in order and have your pet micro-chipped and vaccinated at least 30 days ahead of trip.
You’ll likely need to sign an agreement that you’ll adhere to hotel rules when you bring a dog to a hotel. Most will require that you never leave the dog alone in the hotel room, mostly because it’s a new environment and they can get scared and nervous. The Chateau Laurier in Ottawa has a policy that if a dog is left unattended and is barking, security takes the dog for a walk and puts it in the front office. Don’t worry—the owner is notified so that they don’t need to worry!
PLACES FOR ADVENTUROUS PETS
Dogs are welcome in all of Canada’s national parks but regulations require they are kept on a leash no longer than 10 feet at all times including in the campgrounds, at the beaches and in the water. Banff and Jasper both have fenced, off-leash areas where you can set them free. Your dog can hop in your kayak, run alongside your mountain bike, and more. The key is to keep them safe.
The Mondrian is a hip boutique property on Sunset Boulevard, LA, which has been called the most pet friendly city in the states. If your dog is less than 25 pounds, you’ll want the #vanderpupcation package, a promotion based on Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump, who owns the Vanderpump Dog Grooming salon. The package waives the typical pet fee and includes treats, bedazzled pyjamas or a tiny fluffy white robe!
At the AAA Four-Diamond Topnotch Resort in Vermont, you can bring your pet along without sacrificing luxury. Humans can enjoy the spa and amenities while your dog receives special canine-friendly turndown service and spa treatments, including dog massages.
Drake Motor Inn
The Drake Motor Inn in Prince Edward County, Ontario has all the quirky perks of a Drake property with the added bonus of twelve 100% dog-welcome rooms. They provide cozy dog beds and crates along with a HEPA air filter during your stay. They do ask that your register your pet in advance and there is a $35 housekeeping fee per day. They also ask for an additional deposit for damages at the time of booking.
Ings Luxury Cat Hotel
Cats deserve a vacation too! The Ings Luxury Cat Hotel in West Yorkshire UK has a hotel and a lodge dedicated to cats. Each room in the hotel comes with heated floors, balconies and thrones for each kitty, a pet firefly and jellyfish, a climbing tree, a television, as well as the option of paying for upgrades. It’ll cost you £21 per day, including food. Up to four cats from the same family can share a suite. Younger, more active cats may prefer the lodge where the rooms are bigger and each one has bunk-beds and access to their own outdoor “catio” and kitty pool. You can expect to pay £28 per day. They are also adding the Towers, which will be themed and offer a personal outdoor Tower for the kitty cat guests. Guests receive the luxury of a 5 star boutique hotel for £35 per day. Each additional cat sharing any of the rooms is an extra £7 per day.
Tea with sheep
AirBnB worked with World Animal Protection to develop a policy that allows for safe (for both the animals and the humans) Animal Experiences. In order for an experience to be included they had to “ensure the highest quality of life for the animals involved” which means you won’t find things like wild animal performances or captive marine mammal options on their roster.
What you will find is an option like tea in a UK garden with “naughty sheep” who roam the space. This is fun for adults and kids and also offers you the opportunity to enjoy the scenic surroundings. There are a whole host of options on their site and knowing that they’ve been vetted should bring some peace of mind.
A recent survey from the Family Travel Association and New York University found that 32% of people weren’t using all of their vacation days because they had pets at home who needed their attention and 22% cited a need for better options for pet care to change their mind. The good news is that there are some great options out there and likely more on the way. You don’t have to just rely on the neighbourhood kid’s memory anymore. Case in point: At Luxe Pet Hotel in Vegas, your pet – dog or cat – checks in to a 21,000 square foot hotel, sleeps on a queen sized memory foam bed, has the option of a massage in the spa, can hang out on a treadmill in the gym or take to indoor or outdoor play spaces.
And at Jet Pet Resorts located in Vancouver and Phoenix, luxury dog boarding means that you can book them a bubble bath and a blow dry along with their luxury suites. You can watch how happy they are via live pet cams or simply check their daily Facebook posts.