Traveling With Pets Stress-Free: The Ultimate Guide

Do you love to travel but hate the thought of leaving your dog or cat at home? Great news: You don’t have to! Now more than ever, the travel industry is welcoming pets. Hotels around the world offer everything from pet concierges to opera nights for dogs. To help make traveling with pets simple and stress-free, here’s your ultimate guide to getting around the world with your feline friend or canine companion.

Pet Preparedness

As the saying goes, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Dana Humphrey, the Pet Lady, suggests creating your own emergency pet kit depending on your animal’s needs, including a portable shelter in case you need to relocate. Especially if the pet is trained to be familiar with this shelter, it can have a calming effect. Humphrey advises packing food, water and litter (in waterproof bags with a foldable pan and a small scoop) for one week for each pet. Other items you should be sure to pack include:

  • Medications and copies of vaccines and other veterinary records.
  • Waterproof bags for paper documentation.
  • Portable dishes for food and water.
  • Toys and treats.
  • Microfiber towels for quick drying.
  • Pads, hammocks and/or blankets.

Flying With Pets

When bringing Pip the Dog along for the ride, make sure you have the proper documentation for him — otherwise, you may be sent home from the airport toting all your carefully packed pet supplies. Airlines have different certification and carrying requirements as well as fees, so check with yours before departure.

Also, don’t be like Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, who were forced to make a public apology for smuggling their dogs Pistol and Boo into Australia. With a cringing confession that’s been mocked across the internet, including by Depp himself, he states, “Australians are just as unique, both warm and direct. When you disrespect Australian law, they will tell your firmly. … Declare everything when you enter Australia.”

Before booking, make sure pets are allowed on your specific route. For example, United clearly states that “pets are not permitted on flights to, from or through Australia, Hawaii or Micronesia (including Guam).”

And remember, flying isn’t your only option. Amtrak trains welcome pets, too. In terms of buses, large companies like Greyhound tend to say no (unless it’s a service animal), though local buses and subways are often more understanding. Just make sure to read their rules before boarding, as you may need a pet carrier.

You’ll also need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection if crossing state lines in the U.S., or a pet health certificate pertinent to the country you’re traveling to internationally.

Pet-Friendly Stays

Don’t get too scared by all this pet-preparedness information — there are quite a few resources to make traveling with pets easier, including pet-friendly accommodations. Airbnb lets you live like a local, typically for cheaper than a hotel, and on the platform, you can filter your search by selecting “Pets Allowed” under “House Rules.”

Moreover, a number of large brands like Marriott and Choice Hotels have dedicated pages featuring their pet-friendly options. One standout brand is Kimpton: In addition to not charging extra for pets, they hire directors of pet relations and offer numerous pet amenities such as food, water bowls, mats and courtesy bags for dog walks.

There are also hotel search engines designed specifically for pet travel, like PetsWelcome.com and BringFido. The latter lets you search pet-friendly restaurants, activities, airlines, services and destinations, so it’s a travel-planning one-stop shop. And while it’s not yet anywhere near as big as its human counterpart TripAdvisor, WoofAdvisor is working to become the ultimate planning website for traveling with pets.

No matter where you’re going, it can’t hurt to stick a few of these tricks into your doggie bag before you hit the trail with your pet.

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