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
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
Traveling by Air
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
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
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
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
- 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
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
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
The AAA also has a guide for accommodations that accept pets
plus great tips for traveling with your pets. Check with your local AAA
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
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)