WHERE TO GO: Animals love the great outdoors, and now is the perfect time to explore with your pet! If you have a big dog who loves to be active, head for the mountains and hit the trails, or visit one of the Great Lakes resorts and go for a swim. If you have a cat or smaller/less active dog, try a seaside destination or a pet-loving city like Portland or San Diego, both feature world-class pet boutiques and animal-friendly dining options.
GETTING THERE: If you’re planning to reach your destination by flying, make sure you research your airline’s pet policies in advance and book early, as many carriers only allow a certain number of pets per flight. Nervous about letting your four-legged fly commercial? Consider booking a flight on Florida-based Pet Airways (www.petairways.com), which offers pet-only service to nine major American cities. When driving to your vacation spot, you’ll be able to set your own schedule and make stops based on your pet’s needs. Whichever way you and your pet choose to travel, make sure to find a comfortable and secure animal carrier – freestyle lap-sitting is never safe!
WHAT TO BRING: Pack all regular medications, an ample supply of food, water and treats, some favorite toys to keep your furry friend occupied during the travel time. Of all of these the most important pet-travel necessities is a large supply of fresh drinking water from home. When you get about halfway through the supply, begin mixing it with water from your destination so your pet isn’t shocked by the change. An extra collar, sturdy leash, and travel-friendly food and water bowls are also must-haves. Visit your local pet boutique to stock up.
TIPS FOR PET-FRIENDLY TRIPS GONE WILD
- If you’re road tripping, stay at a Loews Hotel, Omni, La Quinta Inn, or Motel 6 along the way – all of their locations allow pets!
- Before you leave home, make a list of emergency veterinarians near your destination.
- Most trains and buses do not allow pets, so if you aren’t planning to fly, driving is your best option.
- Give your pet’s temperament an honest assessment: Will they need sedatives for travel? Will you need to plan specific activities or arrange pet sitting for them? Do you need to make dinner reservations to accommodate their schedule? Figuring this out in advance will make your vacation less stressful.
- Let your pet spend some time in their carrier before the trip, so they acclimate with the new space.
- So – you’ve never taken your pet on a long drive before, take them for a few short test runs in advance.
- If you’re crossing state lines, you’ll probably need your pet’s rabies vaccination records – make sure these are easily accessible, whether you’re flying or driving.
- It’s essential to have a proper ID collar with multiple phone numbers, in case your pet gets lost.
- If your pet is prone to motion sickness, ice cubes are often a good alternative to water.
- Outdoor seating is your best restaurant bet, as long as you keep your pet leashed; and always keep an extra, in case one breaks!
- If you love wine almost as much as you love your pet, consider a trip to the Napa Valley. Many of the vineyards allow animals, and there are a number of destinations that canines will genuinely enjoy – like a romp through the Petrified Forest followed by a trip to the famous Bouchon Bakery, which serves gourmet puppy fare in addition to the human stuff.
- Camping is a great way to bond with your pet – and nature is always animal-friendly.