Is it time to treat yourself? While you're putting together that perfect vacation itinerary, don't forget to include plans for your best bud! Before you decide to take them with you, make sure you ask these questions first!
1. Is my pet the traveling type?
Of course, having your fur baby on vacation with you sounds like a dream! But is that what's best for your buddy? If you have a pet that hardly ever leaves home, like most cats or a caged pet, then uprooting their routine to head out on an adventure is more likely to leave your pet stressed than relaxed.
Another factor is your pet's personality. Are they adventurous? Do they like car rides? Have they done well being exposed to new things in the past? You are your fur baby's expert and they trust you to make the right choice for them!
Finally, you will want to consider your fur baby's age and special needs. Older animals tend to adjust poorly to change and will require extra attention and care while enduring those changes, on top of taking care of their daily needs as well.
2. Where are we going?
There's no shortage of great vacation spots, but some are more accepting of pets than others. Travel experts have put together comprehensive information on the most pet-friendly destinations and we've linked them below.
Exploring the good ol' US of A? TripAdvisor has listed the top 20 spots to bring Spot on vacation. Unsurprisingly, North Carolina makes it on the list twice with Wilmington and Asheville. We're so proud! Check out the entire list to pick the in-country destination that's right for you.
Time to start checking off that bucket list with some worldwide destinations! The Swiftest has compiled a ranking (and super cool infographic) of the most and least dog-friendly locations on this blue marble. Find out which countries will welcome your fur baby, and which to avoid here!
3. How are we getting there?
When taking a pet along, we always recommend driving. Why? If you're in the driver's seat you have the option of decking out your car with whatever is going to make your pet the most comfortable. Plus, bathroom breaks are a non-issue if you can pull over at any time. Imagine asking your pilot to stop over because your babe is having a bad case of motion sickness. Yikes!
Still, if we're being realistic, flying is inevitable for many destinations. Luckily, Martha Stewart's blog put together a list of the top pet-friendly airlines so we don't have to!
Of course, you can always opt to take the bus or a train, but we wouldn't recommend it. Amtrak does allow smaller animals (under 20lbs) to travel with you but they have to stay in a carrier and there's no option for larger pets. Similarly, many national bus lines aren't as pet friendly as airlines and the experience is less comfortable for fur babies all around.
4. Where are we staying?
Once you get to where you're going, where your staying has a big impact on your trip! If you have your pet with you, staying with a friend or relative might be best. If that's not an option, make sure you check a hotel's pet policy before booking. Airbnb has updated their search feature to include adding pets as guests as well so you don't have to guess if your fur kid is welcome!
Looking for something a little more niche? The best dog-friendly hotels across the country are compiled here!
5. Do I have the right gear?
It's one thing to remember your own packing list but there's a whole slew of items your pet needs when they travel. Though we could go crazy with the number of pet items available for travelers today, we've made a basic list of all your pet's travel needs in our travel guide. (Note: Though our packing list is timeless, our travel guide includes information on airlines and hotels that may be out of date. Always check with the company you're traveling with for updated information.)
6. What are my other options?
Okay, so you've asked all the right questions and thought it through. If you don't think bringing your pet with you is the right option, that's okay! You should always consider what's best for your pet and act accordingly. If you're leaving your fur baby behind, here are some options:
Friends or Family
If you have a good group of people who can watch your babes when you're out of town, great! Just be sure that you aren't introducing your pet to an environment with other animals that they don't get along with, or where there's already a large number of pets. Also, don't assume that because they know you that they understand your pet. Make sure if a friend or family member is in charge of your fur kid that they have a full, detailed understanding of your expectations and that you discuss these matters before you leave.
Professional Pet Care
We happen to know a lot bit about the pet care biz! Though kennels and doggy daycare are possible options for shorter getaways, your dog may run the risk of injury or illness when exposed to other dogs with different personalities from different backgrounds. Plus, many places stick to caging your pet for the majority of the time with just a short potty break a few times a day.
For this reason, we always suggest using an in-home professional pet sitter. We've laid out all the pros and cons and the individualized care your pet gets from a professional just can't be beaten.
Still undecided? Try Fluff for Free!
Making the right choice for your pets is hard. It's much easier when you know what you're getting yourself into. That's why we always suggest trying out our service for free first. With a free visit, you'll be able to see how your pet will react to a new person in the home, and you'll know what to expect when you're away. Each visit comes with a full report, pictures, and a GPS map of your sitter's route during the visit. So don't torture yourself with worry during your vacation. Get prepared now!