Stress-Free Travel With Your Pet This Holiday Season

Pet Travel Center

The pandemic left us stuck indoors for months on end. Thankfully, travel restrictions are slowly easing up this year’s end just in time for the holidays. Finally, it’s time to get that well-deserved and much anticipated holiday vacation with your favorite animal companion!

Traveling with your pet is always tricky, and with additional — and much tighter! — travel regulations in place, the process has gotten a lot more complicated. Planning a trip with your pet, especially during the holidays, can be overwhelming and frustrating, but don’t give up just yet, because, with proper research and preparation, you can have a delightful, stress-free travel this holiday season with your pet. 

Here are simple measures you can take to avoid a harrowing holiday journey: 

1. Prepare Travel Documents

Before leaving home, prepare a list of important documents to bring along, such as medical records, updated vaccination and lab test reports, a verified health inspection certificate from an accredited vet, and a declaration of non-commercial transport, if necessary.

Make sure that your pet has a collar or tag with their identification along with your contact details and other relevant information. Microchipping is also a viable option if your pet is prone to venturing out unexpectedly.

A list of available veterinary clinics along your travel route might also come in handy in case of a medical emergency en route.

2. Review Transportation Guidelines

Before traveling via public transport, familiarize yourself with corresponding pet transportation guidelines. Whether you’re taking a plane, a bus, a train, or a ferry, remember to contact your transport line of choice to get information about its restraint or confinement requirements and restrictions. Transport lines often have limitations based on the pet’s size, weight, age, breed, and health condition.

If you’re flying, be sure that your kennel or pet crate is airline-compliant and that it meets the IATA Live Anima Regulations. And if your dog requires special accommodations, clear it with your transport provider in advance.

3. Pack the Essentials

Remember to bring your pet’s essentials before you leave the house. Include the following items on your travel checklist:

  • Food dishes
  • Food, water and snacks
  • A leash or other restraining devices
  • Pet emergency kit
  • Prescription and medication
  • Litter box or poop bags
  • Your pet’s favorite comfort toys or blankets
  • A picture of your pet, in case they get lost.
Cat enjoying a holiday season vacation with their owner.
Whether to visit relatives or to enjoy a holiday season getaway, preparing your trip with your pet is essential for a stress-free travel experience.

4. Comfort Above Anything Else

Transporting your pet is the most challenging part of the journey. For most pets, staying in an enclosed space can be uncomfortable for long periods. To ensure your pet’s comfort during the journey, invest in a suitable pet carrier and train your pet ahead of time to get used to it. Bring out some comfort toys or a comfy blanket to alleviate any feelings of anxiety while on the trip.

If you’re traveling in your car, be sure to acclimate your pet to long car rides. Try staging a few short road trips beforehand and gradually increase their time spent in your car. Observe their behavior while on the road — if it gets too uncomfortable for them, don’t risk it.

5. Understand Hotel Pet Policies 

If you’re staying in a hotel, be sure to review their pet policy and guidelines. Be mindful of size, weight, and breed restrictions, as well as pet fees. Check with the establishment what amenities are available and know their pet package inclusions.

Hotels might have varying definitions of “pet-friendly,” so it’s best to clear this up with them first. Once you’re in the hotel, introduce your pet to the new surroundings and try to work out a routine for them.

Remember to Keep Your Pet’s Best Interest at Heart!

Your pet’s best interest should be your primary consideration for any stress-free travels. Carefully assess your pet’s wellbeing before you even plan a holiday trip. Ask yourself the following questions before even planning your winter getaway:

  • Is my pet physically fit for travel?
  • Does my pet get easily anxious or agitated?
  • Is my pet old or frail? 
  • Is my pet acclimated to tight, enclosed spaces? 

Be responsible enough to take a step back if you think a holiday trip would be too much for them. If you think bringing them along is not the best option, consider leaving them under the custody of a trusted friend, family member, or a nearby pet boarding facility. Just don’t forget to bring them home something special from your trip!

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