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Proven Travel Tips for a Pet-Friendly Vacation

Cute dog and cat peering out window of parked car
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Pets are part of the family! And for some families, that may mean taking Fluffy or Fido along on vacation with you. Planning the perfect pet-friendly vacation is no small feat. Whether you’re deciding on the best airline-approved pet carrier or searching for the perfect pet-friendly resorts, there are plenty of decisions to make.

Even once you’ve nailed down all the details and packed every last bag, there may be one or two things about vacationing with pets that could surprise you. To help reduce stress on the road, in the air, and wherever you land, here are some proven travel tips that will make any trip easier on you and your dog or cat.

Plan bathroom breaks

Decide how often you need to stop for bathroom breaks, and schedule those breaks into your itinerary. Is your dog happy to do their business anywhere, or will you need to hunt for a specific type of surface, like the astroturf dog comfort station in some airports? For your cat, you may want to bring a travel litter box and familiar litter from home.   

Test out our pet’s travel gear before you go

The last thing you need during a stressful travel day is to find out your pet is boycotting their newly-purchased travel crate or portable food bowl. Some pets need time to get used to new gear, so try introducing new items a few weeks before departure. That way, they’ll look and smell reassuringly familiar, which may help calm your pet’s travel day jitters.

Have a backup plan for keeping your pet safe

Cat and dog trackers are a great way to keep your pet safe on vacation. But if you’re traveling someplace with limited cell service, keep in mind that may affect how well some trackers work. For optimal coverage, even in remote areas, choose a GPS tracker. And always make sure your pet is microchipped and your contact information is clearly visible on their pet identification tags.

Bring your own food

It’s always a good idea to bring some of your pet’s own food with you, especially if they have a sensitive stomach or use a brand you may not be able to find in stores while you’re away. Make sure to pack plenty of bottled water for the trip too. If you’re bringing new food and water bowls, test them out at home first to familiarize your pet. 

Give yourself plenty of extra time

Just like small children, dogs and cats can be unpredictable…especially if they find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings. Try to avoid planning an itinerary that’s chock full of time-sensitive activities and give yourself more time than you think you’ll need to get anywhere. Not only will that give you some breathing room in case your pet isn’t feeling cooperative, but you (and your pet) will be more likely to return refreshed if you can actually relax on vacation!

Vacations with dogs and cats can be a huge amount of fun, as long as you take the time to plan things carefully first. While some pets might be homebodies and prefer to stay at home—others will enjoy the chance to spend even more time with their adventurous humans!