Travel Safety Tips

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling With Pets

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling With Pets

Our pets mean the world to us, and when booking travel whether domestic or international, there may be times when you want to bring your furry companion along with you.

Traveling with pets is easier than it seems, as long as you are well prepared ahead of time. By ensuring your pet is cleared to travel, reviewing all rules and regulations beforehand, and gathering all required documents, you’ll be on your way to a successful vacation with your pet.

How to Prepare for Traveling With Pets

If you are traveling with a pet, it is important to ensure that your animal is well prepared for the journey.

Exactly what you will need to do to get your pet ready will depend upon your mode of travel, but the following are some recommended first steps to take for traveling with a pet.

Schedule a Vet Appointment

We wouldn’t want to travel if we were unwell or unfit to do so, and the same goes for our pets. Your first step in traveling with a pet should be a veterinary appointment, at least a week in advance of your travels.

Your veterinarian can inform you whether or not your pet is fit to travel and provide any additional health recommendations before you go.

Ensure Vaccinations Are Up-To-Date

Another important step to take to get your pet ready to travel is making sure that their key vaccinations are up-to-date. Once all your pet’s vaccinations are current, carry proof of vaccinations with you during your travels – you may need these.

Review Destination’s Required Documents

Depending on where you are traveling to, you may be required to show certain documentation for your pet.

Well before you embark, do your research by checking your destination’s regulation and rules for pet entry so you have ample time to gather the necessary documents. Required documents can include: 

  • Proof of certain vaccinations, including rabies
  • Health certificate
  • Certification of standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip
  • Blood tests
  • Certain permits
It’s important to review pet travel requirements depending on your travel plans (interstate travel, international traveling, bring a pet into the US) to ensure you have all required documentation ahead of time.

Get Important Medications Filled

If your pet takes important medications for its health, you’ll want to make sure that you have ample medication readily available for your journey. 

It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your pet’s medication prescription in case you need to fill during your travels.

Traveling With Pets on Airlines

Air travel can be stressful no matter where you’re going or who you’re traveling with. This stress can be compounded when you’re traveling with your beloved pet.

Most major airlines will allow you one carry-on pet, provided it can fit under the seat in front of you. Airlines will also accommodate any other pets by securing them in cargo. However the kennel and your pets must meet certain requirements. These will also vary from airline to airline.

In general, here are some of the restrictions you might run into when traveling by plane with your pet: 

Carry-on Pet Restrictions

  • Only one pet can be carried on.
  • Your pet and carrier must fit securely under the seat in front of you.
  • If you carry on a pet, you may only carry on one personal item for free.
  • Pet fees may apply.

Cargo Pet Storage Restrictions

  • The kennel must leave enough room for the pet to stand and walk around in.
  • It must be made of wood, plastic or other sturdy material.
  • The door must be secured with bolts and screws.
  • You must secure the kennel with cable ties or similar.
  • You can fit up to two pets per kennel, but they should be the same species.

Service Animal Restrictions

  •  Fully-trained service animals may be able to fly in the cabin at no charge.
  •  Emotional support animals and service animals in training may likely need to travel only as carry-on pets or else stored in cargo.
  • You’ll want to make sure you can verify that your service animal is certified. The airline staff may ask you specific questions to confirm that your pet is an official service animal.
These are general guidelines for pet travel, however each airline will have their own set of rules and restrictions when it comes to traveling with pets. Review your airline’s pet policies before flying.

How Much Does It Cost to Travel With Pets?

Depending on your mode of transportation and destination, the cost for traveling with pets will vary.

For airlines, there are fees involved with traveling with pets. Bringing a pet on board can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 each way.

Check with your specific airline for more information on pet fees.

Which Hotels Allow Pets?

When you’re traveling, hotels are your home away from home. Many hotels have taken this to heart by welcoming pets. Here are just a few of the hotel chains that welcome pets.    

Overwhelmingly, hotels are more receptive to welcoming dogs over any other pet. This list from the American Kennel Club consists of a number of hotels that accommodate dogs in particular.   

How to Travel with a Dog

Over 48 million households have dogs in the U.S., making them the most popular pet in the country. Dogs depend on their owners much more than some other pets.

Consequently, it’s harder to leave them alone for long periods of time. You can always board them. There are plenty of facilities that can handle dogs overnight.

However, if you’re traveling for a while or just want your furry friend with you, there are ways to keep them safe. 

Acclimate them to car travel

The good news is that many dogs love traveling by car. Some love to stick their head out the window and feel the wind as the car speeds down the road.

If your dog is unfamiliar with car travel and you’re planning on taking them on a longer road trip, take them out for some shorter spins before your big trip. 

Medication is an option for anxious dogs

If your pup finds car travel highly stressful. You can talk to their vet and see if there are medications safe for them to take so that traveling is easier. 

Build dog-walks into your itinerary

Dogs need to be walked regularly. Wherever you go, whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, make sure you plan time to let your dog do their business. 

Don’t leave your dog alone for very long

Dogs, more than a lot of other pets, are social animals. They need human interaction, especially with their favorite people. You might want to arrange for a dog sitter in your destination before you depart.

Ensure that your lodging can accommodate dogs   

Many hotels and lodging accommodations welcome pets. Dogs, in particular, are lucky on this score. Places that may not accept other animals are generally more accepting of dogs.

Still, every hotel is different. Call ahead to confirm that your pooch is a welcomed overnight guest.   

If traveling internationally, have proper documentation

Dogs spend a lot of time outdoors. This makes them more susceptible to diseases and infestations. Consequently, the guidelines for traveling internationally may be stiffer.

Make sure they have all necessary vaccinations and that you can show proof of each vaccination. You can talk to their vet to facilitate this.       

Make Pet Safety Your Number One Priority

Anyone who’s ever loved a pet knows the truth: our pets are family members. Keeping them safe whether at home or while traveling means a lot to us.

Traveling with them might not be easy but there are things you can do to make it easier on both them and you. Here are a few travel safety tips for the next time you travel with your pets.   

Drive if you can

Driving is actually the easiest way to travel with your pet. When you drive you can take breaks, let your dog out for a walk, check on your pets and just make sure they have everything they need. Also being able to interact with you regularly will help them relax. 

Put pet prep on your packing list

When you’re thinking about your itinerary and shopping for vacation clothes, don’t forget to add a pet travel safety kit to your to-do list.

Your pet travel safety kit should include things like travel bowls, bottled water, leashes, waste receptacles, any necessary medication, food, treats and a favorite toy. If you’re traveling in colder weather, make sure you have extra blankets.

Avoid leaving your pet in a parked car for long periods of time

If you have to leave your pet in a parked car, make sure they have everything they need to be comfortable and stay safe while you’re gone.

This could include things like leaving the window open on a hot day, making sure they have enough food and water, and locking the door to reduce the risk of theft. 

Bring vaccination documents if traveling across state lines

You may not need it but when you cross state lines some states may require proof of vaccination against rabies and/or other illnesses.  

Make sure their crate or kennel is safe

Whether you’re traveling by air or by car, you’ll want to make sure that whatever you keep your pets in is well-ventilated, large enough to accommodate short-term stays and secure. 

Pets Need Their Humans to Travel Safely, Too

Whether you’re road-tripping across the country or flying internationally with your furry best friend, your safety matters.

Trip insurance can help protect American residents by covering expenses related to rental car collisions, missed connections, trip cancellations, and lost luggage.

If you’re traveling abroad, under the Sickness and Accident benefit, trip insurance can also cover any urgently needed medical care up to $500,000.

Want to learn more? Compare trip insurance plans or talk with one of our licensed travel insurance experts today.