Traveling With Pets Checklist: ​A 9-Step Guide for Road Trips, Airline Travel & Train Travel With the Family Pet by 30Seconds Travel

Traveling With Pets Checklist: ​A 9-Step Guide for Road Trips, Airline Travel & Train Travel With the Family Pet

If you’re going on vacation or traveling for another reason, there’s a lot of planning that goes into your trip and that’s even before you get your furry friend involved. A survey found that 53 percent of travelers take their pets on vacation with them and 42 percent of pet owners would only stay at a pet-friendly property. That's a lot of pets on the move, and once you add your pet into the equation, your travel details may begin to overwhelm you.

Are you traveling with an emotional support animal (ESA) or your family pet? Will your pet have to be in a pet carrier? Depending on your method of travel, the situation can vary. ESA registration is worth looking into for your pet, especially if you travel by air or train. Here’s everything you need to know when planning a trip with your pet:

1. The Basics of Traveling With a Pet

For many people, the abundance of love and companionship of traveling with your furry friend outweighs the added stress. You may already have your trip booked, but you should still consider calling to confirm that your hotel or other lodging is pet friendly.

2. Rehearse the Experience

If this trip is going to be a particularly long journey that your pet will be unfamiliar with, it's a good idea to get them used to travel. Start by taking them out in their crate or car seat for short drives. Gradually increase the amount of time you do this. Help your pet get used to the sights and smells of the airport terminal or train station. This rehearsal will help prepare your pet mentally and emotionally.

3. Before Leaving, Take a Walk

A walk before leaving can help relax your pet and get all of their wiggles out before boarding the boat, bus, plane, train or car. If you’re at an airport, see if there’s an outside area for a quick exercise session.

4. Purchase the Right Carrier or Crate

Different railways and airlines may have varying standards for their pet carrier approvals. Check their respective websites before buying your tickets. When you have the carrier, you should securely label it with your name, contact information and animal’s name. As an added precaution, you can label it clearly to state “Live Animal” to ensure that nobody will mistake it with other luggage.

5. Prepare the Crate for Comfort

Help your pet become acclimated to the carrier by enticing them to use it. Put their favorite bed, toy or treat inside, and let them get more comfortable being around and inside the crate. Before leaving for your trip, try to cozy up the crate with some pillows, blankets or their favorite durable stuffed animal that's made for pets.

6. Have the Right Documentation

Even if you’re road tripping in your vehicle, it is crucial to ensure that you have all of your pet’s essential paperwork in order. Bring medical records, health information and proof of vaccinations.

7. Road Trip Tips

Unsurprisingly, driving is the most commonly chosen method of traveling with a pet – especially dogs. It’s easy to load up your dog in the back seat (or shotgun seat) and hit the road. If you’re going by car, make sure you:

  • Don’t leave your pet alone in the vehicle.
  • Make plenty of pit stops.
  • Bring food and water bowls.
  • Pack a leash, poo bags and treats.

8. Airplane Trip Tips

More than two million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year in the United States. If you journey by plane, the safest location for your pet will be the cabin. However, typically only animals who weigh less than 15 pounds can ride in the cabin. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Consult with your vet about whether you should sedate your pet.
  • Depending on the length of the flight, freeze a bowl of water and put it in the crate with your pet.
  • Seasons with mild weather will treat your pet best during the flight.

9. Train Trip Tips

If your pet is on the smaller side, traveling by train may be the way to go. Cats and dogs who weigh up to 20 pounds can ride on most Amtrak routes. Reserve your pet's ticket early, as the number of animals allowed per train caps at five animals. Some restrictions apply for traveling with an animal by train, including:

  • The animal must be at least 8 weeks old to travel.
  • You may have to sign a document certifying up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Your pet must ride beneath your seat in an approved carrier.

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Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
Fantastic tips for traveling with pets! We have a safety harness for our yellow Lab, to ensure that she stays put and is safe in the back seat. Have always wondered about ESA registration. Thank you for this very helpful info!
Julie Rose
Our dog is an emotional support animal. Totally worth it to get the paperwork done. ❤️
bepositive
We take our pets with us when we travel and it’s tricky. I’m going to look into this certification, thanks. 🐶🐱
Gwen Johnson
I love traveling with my dog! Great tips here.
Cassiday
Pets are part of the family. Great idea to get the ESA thing done. 👍
Tribe
Such a good idea. I hadn't thought of it.

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