You’ve done it! You’ve finally worked up the courage to go traveling with your furbaby, and you’re going to have an awesome time! This is amazing news, but you might have started to feel them already…can you feel them right now? The pre-pet-travel jitters. Oh, dear. Well fear not, because the great thing about traveling with a pet is that a little preparation goes a long way. In this article, we give you our ultimate, ride or die, non-negotiable tips which can help you conquer pet travel without even breaking a sweat. Ready to travel? Let’s get started!
Tip 1: Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours!
One of the little secrets of making pet travel a breeze is this: most of the hard work to make your travel as simple as possible takes place before you actually step foot onto a plane, train or automobile. Before you travel with your pet it makes sense to cross your t’s and dot your i’s, and that means having all the documentation that you’ll need under control before traveling. If you’re flying with a pet, it’s important that you check out all those pesky little rules, regulations, terms and conditions before purchasing your ticket. This will help you to avoid awkward airport situations that can really dampen your trip. Each airline will have different rules, however generally if you fly with a pet, you’ll need to pay a pet travel fee.
The exception to this is if you have an emotional support animal (most airlines allow cats and dogs only), which means you will be allowed to travel without paying the fee. Whether traveling with an ESA or a pet, you will need to prepare and submit all documentation required by the airline in advance – normally this is allowed up to 48 hours before you flight. Make sure when it comes to the actual travel day that you have copies of these documents on hand just in case. It’s always better to go overboard than to be under prepared!
Tip 2: Don’t Do a Marie Kondo. Take It All!
So maybe you’ve been inspired by the shiny promised of Japanese minimalism lately, thanks to a certain lady who’s been taking Netflix by storm. However, there’s a time and a place for minimalism, and it is not when you’re traveling with a pet! When you’re on the road/in the sky with your furry pal, you really need to have every tool at your disposal to ensure that you’re ready for any situation. Here’s a handy, comprehensive list that can keep you feeling secure that you will be able to sort out any emergency that may arise!
- An extra leash and harness
- Harness and seat belt clip for car travel
- Towel or seat cover for car travel
- Window shade
- Windex Wipes
- Coat/raincoat (depending on the weather)
- Paw booties for cold weather
- Prescription medications
- Treats and chews
- Travel crate
- Puppy pads
- Loose bedding (towels/blankets)
- Crate fan
- Bed sheets
- Travel bowl
- Poop bags
- Flashlight, clip-on light for nighttime walks
- Dog-walking pouch
- Extra Zip-loc bags
- Bottle of enzymatic cleaning solution
- Paper towels
- Lint roller
- Air freshener/candle
- Gaffer’s tape or painters’ blue tape, to tape cables and power cords out of reach
- Grooming supplies, for longer trips
- First aid kit
Tip 3: The Early Bird Gets the… Priority Boarding
If you’re flying with your pet, then you’ll have to change your airport style a just a little bit. Breezing in 45 minutes before your flight is not exactly practical with a pet in tow, so it’s important to arrive earlier than you normally would. When arriving, be sure to check in as soon as possible so that you can be sure there are no issues that will stop you from boarding. It’s also a great idea at this point to ask the desk staff if it’s possible to get priority boarding, which will allow you to settle your pet without disrupting other passengers.
If you’re driving with your pet, then it’s important to plan out your trip with precision, to ensure you can help your pet to burn off some energy and do their business in a suitable place. When mapping your route out, be sure to work out the best pet friendly stopping points at regular to intervals to keep your buddy happy and relaxed.
Tip 4: Know Exactly What to Expect At the Airport and On the Plane
Another tip for those who are jet-setting, when traveling with an animal, it’s essential to know the airport and the procedures that you need to get your pet safely onto the plane. Start by making sure you have a copy of a map of your departure and arrival airports, so that you know exactly where to go, when your pet needs to, er, go.
To conquer TSA, it’s helpful to know exactly what to expect. You and your pet will be going through the metal detectors at security, so it can be helpful to make sure that your pet is wearing a collar and leash that is metal-free. You pet carrier will need to go through the x-ray machine, however, you will never be asked to put your pet through this intense machine!
Once you’re onto the plane, remember that your pet either needs to remain entirely on your lap or at your feet, dependent on individual carrier rules. Pets are never allowed in the aisle or exit row of an aircraft.
Traveling with a pet can seem intimidating and stressful, especially if it’s the first time you’ve undertaken it. However, with preparation and an informed idea of what to expect, you will find that it actually has the potential to be extremely simple! Added to that, you’ll be able to share time away with your pet or emotional support animal, a crucial little piece of home that can make even the most anxiety inducing of travel situations just that little bit better.