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Rovin' with Rover
By Sandy Berger

On This Page:

Pets Traveling by Air

Pets Traveling by Car

Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Join a Pet Travel Club

Special Vacations For Pets

Rovin' with Rover
Travel with pets As a pet owner you may be forced to bring your darlings along when moving great distances. Or you may feel that you just can't leave Rover behind when you take that long-awaited family vacation. Traveling with pets can be a pleasant experience for both you and your pet -- if you plan ahead. There are even vacations and tours created specifically for adventuresome pet owners and their creature companions. No matter what circumstances have Rover or Kitty at your side for the journey, your computer and the Internet can make your trip run more smoothly.

Dog may be man's best friend, but when it comes to rovin' with Rover, the Internet is sure to be your next best friend. Using the Internet for research and planning before your trip can assure that your vacation is pleasurable and relaxing. Web sites for traveling with pets are abundant and informative. You'll find free directories for lost pets, information on lodging, as well as airline travel requirements and more.

Pets Traveling by Air

airplane In my recent flights I have been somewhat amazed by the number of pets that board the plane with their owners. There seems to be an abundance of soft, airline-approved, carry-on kennels called Sherpa Bags going through the security checks and onto planes. Small pets can be transported in the passenger cabin as carry-on luggage as long as the container will fit under the seat. Some airlines charge up to $50 extra to accommodate pets even in a kennel under the seat.

If your pet is larger and has to travel on the airline, you will need to arrange for an approved crate. These crates are available for dogs from two pounds to two hundred pounds. Many airlines also charge a fee, typically about $75, to check animals in cargo holes. A certificate of health is almost always required, even for domestic travel. So be sure to contact the airline beforehand to make the necessary arrangements.

Note there is often a variance in rules from airline to airline and even from month to month. In May of 2000, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines discontinued checking pets as baggage during the summer months because of the dangerous heat in the cramped cargo holds. A good rule of thumb is to avoid flying with pets when temperatures are below 40 degrees or above 80 degrees at either your departure city or destination.

Two very useful sites offering air travel checklist covering such topics as special identification tags, leash use, layovers, etc. are Traveling with Pets, and Tips for Traveling by Air with Pets.

Pets Traveling by Car

When you load the family (including Rover and Kitty) in the minivan heading to Florida for a week of sun and fun, advance planning can be the difference between a delightful vacation and a disastrous one. The Internet is a bountiful source for your travel planning.

Most Internet sites advise keeping your animal contained with a pet seatbelt or secured carrier. Doggie car harnesses are specially designed with an extra loop to be used with the standard seatbelt. Containing your pet serves several purposes. In case of an accident, your pet is not thrown about the car, and a restraint also prevents the animal from causing an accident by jumping into the driver's line of vision or lap. A restraint also prevents the pet from getting loose when the door is opened.

Other sites on the Internet will help you find medical insurance and ID tags and will allow you to look up information on veterinarians in the area of your destination. A convenient checklist is offered for pets traveling by car at Traveling with Pets.

Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Did you know that there are over 25,000 hotels, inns, campgrounds, ranches, and resorts that welcome pets? If you are traveling more than a day's ride, you may need to find one of these accommodation sites that accept pets. Again, vacationing with pets can be rewarding if you take the time to do some research in advance. If you want your pet to stay in your room with you, there are some questions to ask when making your reservations:

  • Do you accept pets?
  • Are there are any pet fees or deposits?
  • Are fees per pet or per room?
  • Are they daily or one time?
  • Is the deposit refundable?
  • Are pets limited to certain type rooms?
  • Are there any areas that I can't go with my pet?
  • Do you offer anything special for pets?

Some places cater to pets offering pet sitting, walking, welcome gifts, and even room service items. Remember that policies change often. The hotel that you stayed in last year may not allow pets this year.

The Internet has some great sites that have done most of the work for you. Simply visit these sites and get the answers to the above questions. The Pet Travel and Leisure site offers a pet travel guide that covers everything from quaint bed and breakfasts that welcome pets, five star hotels that provide pet sitting while you shop, parks and beaches that allow you to bring your dog, and even restaurants that allow you to dine with your cat or dog.

The most extensive site is Petswelcome.com with their listings page for thousands of hotels, B&Bs, ski resorts, campgrounds, and beaches that are pet-friendly. Their Travel Info section gives information on how to take your pet anywhere. You can get information on pertinent pet travel, a boarding kennel database, emergency info, pet sitters, and advice on air travel.

Another free online directory to pet-friendly hotels worldwide is available at Travelpets.com with featured bed and breakfast accommodations plus great links to other pet-oriented locations. Get instant access to pet-friendly lodging in the US including vacation rentals, cabins, inns, condos, cottages, resorts, and lodges at Petfriendlytravel.com http://www.petfriendlytravel.com. Listings are by states. Many of these sites provide links to the country's major airlines with information on pets.

Internet Lost and Found offers free directory listings for lost and found pets and other items worldwide. Their database is searchable by city/country/type of items lost or found.

Join a Pet Travel Club

Consider joining a pet travel club prior to your vacation. The Takeyourpet.com site claims to be the largest pet travel club in the US. Its pet-friendly lodging directory contains over 20,000 properties, and its travel resources list thousands of animal hospitals, shelters, roomers, kennels, and boarding facilities. There is even a Traveling Pet Owners of America (TPOA) whose goal is to increase the options available to the traveling pet and its human companion(s). There is a membership fee, but this group offers a directory of pet-friendly information and travel tips.

The AAA also has a guide for accommodations that accept pets plus great tips for traveling with your pets. Check with your local AAA office.

Special Vacations For Pets

Suppose you want to go hiking or canoeing with your dog. There is a special tour company for owners and their canine companions called Rovin' with Rover (Apologies to this site; we liked their name so much we "borrowed" it for this article.)

Rovin' with Rover organizes tours and activities for owners and their canine companions such as canoe trips in a state park, covered bridge tours, trips to Niagara Falls, and even an annual "Howloween" bash complete with optional leashes, mandatory cleanups, and a canine costume contest topped off with a bonfire and hayride. This group even sponsors a Walking Club. Especially helpful at this site were their links to other pet-friendly sites such as a directory of lost and found animals, ASPCA, Pet Loss/Grief, etc.

So no matter if Rover or Kitty are by your side because you are moving house, flying overseas, or headed to the state park to spend some time with your "best friend," both you and your pet will have a better experience if you have planned ahead. Why not let the Internet be the new trick you learn for your old (or new) dog.

Internet Resources
note: all urls assume "http://" before address

Traveling with Pets URL:

Tips for Traveling by Air with Pets URL:

The Pet Travel and Leisure URL:

Petswelcome.com URL:

Travelpets.com URL:

Petfriendlytravel.com URL:

Internet Lost and Found URL:

The Takeyourpet.com URL:

Traveling Pet Owners of America (TPOA) URL:

Rovin' with Rover URL:

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