How to Travel Safely with Your Pet
Last updated on 09/15/2023
Travel Tips for Pet-Friendly Vacations
Your pet is more than just a pet – they’re family. In a post-pandemic travel world, more and more people are vacationing with their four-legged friends.
To help you have the best trip possible, InsureMyTrip has seven (7) tips for an enjoyable and pet-friendly vacation.
1. Preparation is Key
Before leaving on your trip, be sure to pack all the essentials for your furry friend. Some important items to put on your packing list include:
- A sturdy leash
- Waste bags
- Identification tags
- Pet food
Copies of your pet’s medical records and travel documents may help to prove ownership, health, and history of vaccinations for your pet should the need arise, or any officials ask to see them. Also, if your pet requires medications, these should be labeled clearly and packed in a secure place.
You may also want to consider microchip registration for your pet prior to departing. This identification transponder - roughly the size of a grain of rice - is injected into your pet and carries a unique ID number. When a lost animal is found, the microchip is scanned to obtain this number so they can be identified and returned home.
An exciting new environment with new areas, and scents to explore may increase the chances of an adventurous pet getting lost - so owners may want to take this extra precaution in keeping them safe.
2. Check Airline Policies
If you decide to travel by plane, be sure to carefully review the airline’s pet policy before booking your reservation.
Policies and prices vary by airline and can sometimes depend on the country to which you’re traveling (domestic or international), and the size and breed of your pet.
You may also want to consider contacting the airlines directly to confirm their policies in the airport and on the plane to limit any day-of travel issues. Some airlines are more pet-friendly than others, so it’s important to plan ahead.
3. Secure Your Pet
If traveling by car, the safety of both you and your pet are top priorities. Use a special seatbelt or harness for your pet to ensure they’re not able to roam around the vehicle and distract the driver.
A pet carrier is also a good option. Be sure it is sized correctly for your pet. They should be able to stand up and lie down comfortably. These options will help protect your pet not only from being able to distract the driver, but also in case of a sudden stop.
4. Plenty of Rest Stops
Just like humans, our pets need frequent stops for water, bathroom breaks, and to stretch their legs. We recommend you prepare accordingly and build these stops into your travel itinerary.
Consider another human travel partner to help share the driving and pet care responsibilities.
5. Pack Creature Comforts
Once all the essentials are packed and the health and safety checks are done, it’s worth packing some of your pet’s favorite items.
Bring a pet bag with their favorite food, treats, toys, and a blanket.
Once you’re ready to go, leave them with a favorite toy to keep them busy for as long as possible, especially if you have a nervous pet.
6. Do Your Research
If you’re traveling to a destination that you haven’t been to before, make sure you do your research to ensure there will be plenty of pet-friendly accommodations and public spaces.
Be careful when booking your accommodation as many hotels charge additional fees to accommodate your pet. So, it’s important to make sure you look around for pet-friendly hotels that accept animals without an unexpected upcharge.
If you can’t find a hotel in your intended area, consider vacation rental options. Popular sites such as Airbnb or VRBO have search functions that filter for pet-friendly vacation rental homes.
There are also a number of apps that act as a helpful guide when on the road with your pet.
- All Trails can help find dog-friendly hikes.
- Bring Fido allows you to find hotels, attractions and restaurants that welcome pets.
- Pet First Aid by American Red Cross helps you locate the nearest emergency animal hospital.
7. Consider Travel Insurance for Pets
Travel insurance isn’t just for humans anymore. More and more providers are including pet benefits in their policies.
If you’re traveling with your pet, you may want to look for a policy that includes pet medical expense coverage. This benefit may provide reimbursement if your pet becomes ill and you need an emergency vet visit while on a trip.
Some plans may provide coverage if your pet (dog or cat) or service animal becomes severely ill, injured, or dies before you leave for a trip.
If you have to leave a pet at home while you travel, there may be kennel benefits included in some plans that can help pay for additional expenses if you’re delayed in returning home (for a covered reason) and you incur additional boarding fees.
(Note: It's important to look at the details of the policy to see how “pet” and/or “service animal” are defined.)
Remember, every policy is different, so it’s important to read through a plan to make sure you are purchasing one that covers all of your concerns. If you’re still unsure, InsureMyTrip’s licensed travel insurance agents can help walk you through a policy, so you are choosing the right plan for you and your pet.