Travelling with a Pet? These 8 Things May Save Your Sanity!
My husband and I have always had pets. In the past, we have boarded our pets when we traveled. In recent years, we have found that we prefer to take our pets with us.
This means that in addition to planning for ourselves, we must also plan for them. We have learned a lot through trial and error. Things that should have been obvious we learned the hard way.
Building on my last article, 5 Essential Tips for Traveling with Pets, I have put together additional information that I hope you will find useful. Our travels involve driving and no air travel, so the following does not apply to air travel.
We try to pack light when we travel. We have a pet bag just like people with children have diaper bags. Here’s what goes inside:
- Rugs to use as pet beds rather than bringing the usual plush cushions.
- Silicone collapsible bowls for food and water. They are easy to clean, take up very little space and add almost no weight.
- Pet seat belts, both for their safety and ours. They hook right into your seat belt latch, and then you attach the other end to their harness. With pet seat belts we are never concerned about them leaving the vehicle before we have their leashes on and are ready for them. It also alleviates the worry of injury if we must stop suddenly.
- Lots of waste bags. You can never have enough of them. Even though your pet or pets are with you, they will still be stressed, which typically means more waste to collect and dispose of.
- Reflective leashes for evening walks. Just as with runners, wearing bright reflective gear makes our pets more easily seen.
- Medication for car sickness or agitation when riding. Your vet may give your pet travel medication, just like with humans.
- Up-to-date documentation for pet vaccinations.
- Identification tag on the collar. For our pets, the tag notes our last name on one side and our phone number on the other side. Should our pet(s) get lost, those who find them can always reach us.
Plan for Bathroom Breaks
When you plan for bathroom breaks you need to be strategic. The places you plan to stop must have grassy areas for pets to do their business. Not every gas stop will have a place for your pets to relieve themselves.
If you travel along interstates or highways, many times you will find a rest area that has nothing but a place to park and lots of grass. It’s not great for us, but it works great for our pets. We do get to stretch our legs while they relieve themselves.
Do not leave your pets in a hot vehicle even for a few minutes. We know what happens to children. It’s worse for pets because they have fur coats.
Bathrooms breaks are also a good time for them to be offered a drink of water. Those collapsible pet dishes come in very handy for a quick drink.
Pet Friendly Accommodation
There are many hotels that accept pets. There is usually an additional pet fee that must be paid, and they typically restrict you to two pets. The last hotel we stayed in with our pets had no carpet, and our room was on the ground floor with a grassy area right outside our door. It was perfect.
Once we know the route to our destination, it is as simple as Googling for pet friendly hotels near that location. When we make our reservations, we are certain to ask if we can have a room on the lower level with easy grass access. If you don’t ask, you cannot count on getting a suitable location.
If you use a service like Airbnb, you can filter your search for pet friendly places. Again, we have found that most will require an additional deposit and limit the number of pets.
If you are RV travelers, then you will want to scope out those RV parks where you plan to stay and check the pet regulations. Some have off-leash areas where pets can play.
Many do not allow you to erect temporary fenced-in pens as many RVers like to do. Most require you to keep your pets on a leash. I have even seen places where they want you to walk your pets outside of the RV areas.
If you are boondocking, then everything is dependent on that location: Walmart parking lot versus grassy knoll.
If for some reason your pet does have an accident inside your accommodation, we find that OxiClean works great for cleaning up. We always have plenty of this around at home so we take some with us just in case it is needed. We have never had to use it, but we want to be prepared.
If you plan to take your pets with you when you travel, then it will be important to know where the nearest emergency vet is located. Anything can happen. Remember to take all the necessary documentation with you.
It is not enough to show their rabies tag or provide the phone number of your vet, especially if it is after hours and your vet is probably closed. We put together a folder just for our pets with all of their documentation so we are prepared for any possible situation.
Our stress level has decreased considerably since we decided to take our dogs with us when we travel. We don’t have to worry about how they are doing, and we are all much happier to be together. With a little extra planning, we can all enjoy our vacation.
Do you travel on vacation with your pets? What things do you always pack when travelling with your pets? Please share your tips below!