There are a lot of things to consider when you’re going on vacation with your pet. That’s why it’s important to have a plan so that you and your pet can enjoy your trip. We’ll look at several factors you should account for, both during the planning of your trip and while you’re there!

Choosing a Pet-Friendly Location

If bringing a pet is important to your trip, you’ll want to keep that in mind when choosing a destination and place to stay, since it may limit your options. Depending on the pet, camping or an outdoor activity may be the most pet-friendly option, especially for larger dog breeds. Whether it’s a hike, swimming in a lake, or just sitting around the campfire, outdoor trips work perfectly for bringing your pet and can create cherished memories.

Looking for a hotel that allows pets? Many search platforms will allow you to filter options that are pet-friendly but be sure you read the fine print. Some hotels are listed as pet-friendly but limit the types of pets they allow to stay there by weight, species, or breeds. It’s also not uncommon for pet-friendly hotels to require an additional pet fee to cover the extra cleaning.

Take each of your pet’s needs into account when choosing a hotel or rental property, especially if you’ll be there longer than overnight or a weekend.

If bringing your pet is important to you, you may also want to look into rental properties through a local service or website like Airbnb or VRBO. Not only can you often filter search results to ensure they allow pets, but you’ll also usually have the entire rental property to yourself. For larger breeds of dogs, this additional space can be crucial for playing and bathroom purposes. Take each of your pet’s needs into account when choosing a hotel or rental property, especially if you’ll be there longer than overnight or a weekend.

When You’re Not With Your Pet

There may be times on your vacation when you have to leave your pet at the rental while you go on an excursion. It’s important you have a plan for these times. One option is to find a local pet sitter or a daycare who can let your pet out to use the bathroom or watch your pet. Some pet-friendly hotels may even offer a service or be able to assist you in scheduling one nearby. Of course, these will cost extra money and not every pet will enjoy being with a sitter or daycare service. You can also plan activities to do ahead of time, like hikes or long walks, so you can tire your pet out and spend time with them before you have to leave them.

Alternatively, you can try to pet-proof the location, making it both safe for and from your pet. For example, you could bring a travel crate your pet is comfortable in. It’ll prevent them from getting into too much trouble and keep them from accidentally hurting themselves or getting out. To help them relax, bring a favorite toy, towel, or old piece of your clothing for a sense of familiarity.

Before leaving, you should complete a sweep of the hotel room or property for anything that may harm your pet or anything that could be broken.

If your pet isn’t crate trained or you trust your pet and it’s OK with the property’s owner or hotel staff, you can leave your pet out of the crate. Before leaving, you should complete a sweep of the hotel room or property for anything that may harm your pet, like ant traps, food on the counter, or anything that could be broken, like vases, glasses, or bowls. This can keep your pet safe and prevent further damages and fees. You shouldn’t be leaving your pet alone if you’re staying in shared lodging, like a hostel, however.

Knowing When to Leave Your Pet Home

The big question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you should be bringing your pet on vacation in the first place. Travel stress isn’t always worth it. If your pet is going through the stress of boarding an airplane in the cargo hold, only to sit in your rental most of the day, maybe it’s better to leave them at home. This may also be true if they are not healthy enough to travel. On the other hand, if getting a pet sitter or putting your pet in a kennel is too pricy for you, especially since you’re paying for a vacation, it may make financial sense to bring your pet and devote the time to strategizing ways to make the trip as stress-free as possible.

If your pet is going through the stress of boarding an airplane in the cargo hold, only to sit in your rental most of the day, maybe it’s better to leave them at home.

Finally, if you are looking to go on a trip with your pet, you’re likely better off going somewhere you’ve been many times before. A “home away from home” offers a number of advantages, especially familiarity for your pet. If you miss out on something because you brought your pet along, there’s always next time!

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You know your pet and what they can handle best, so take everything into account, along with the advice of your vet, when making the decision. Don’t worry, if you do end up leaving your pet at home, they’ll still be excited when you come back.