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5 Questions to Ask Before Holiday Traveling With Pets

By: Justin Chaplin
December 18, 2018

For many of us, the holiday season is all about family, and traveling is oftentimes a big part of your plans. For the pet owners out there, your furry friends are family so it wouldn’t make sense to leave them while you travel to your parent’s house for the week. If you are planning a trip to visit some family this Christmas and want to bring your companion along for the fun, we compiled a list of questions to ask yourself before traveling with pets for the holidays.

Will my pet be well-received?

If you are heading back to your parents’ house, you probably know their feelings towards your pet, or animals in general. Visiting your third cousin’s home for a holiday family reunion is a different story. Contact the hosts and make sure your pet is welcome in their home. Check to see if there will there be any other pets there that your pet might not get along with. Also, make sure nobody will be allergic to your furry friend. A distant family member breaking into hives can really put a damper on the Christmas spirit.

What should I bring?

A two-hour drive with your pet is easy to pack for. Make sure your pet is comfortable, pack some of their dog/cat treats, bring their favorite toy and you are good to go. A longer drive could cause some issues if your pet isn’t used to being in the car for extended periods of time. Besides those essentials, bring your pee pads, poop bags, and litter boxes in case things get messy on the journey. Consider taking your pup out to a nearby park on the way to stretch their legs out. If you’re afraid of dirtying up your new ugly Christmas sweater, lint rollers are very useful when combatting pet hair. Make sure all of these things are easily accessible for you so you don’t have to pull over when your pet needs something.

What if I’m flying?

Specific airlines have different pet policies, so make sure to read up on what each one of them entails. Familiarize yourself with the pet guidelines and regulations involved with flying. The Humane Society of the U.S. put together a great resource with advice and tips that will help you prepare for a safe flight with your companion. Air traveling with pets could potentially be dangerous depending on factors such as the flying environment, the breed of your pet, and your pet’s health, so make sure to do some research.

Is my pet healthy enough for travel?

Nobody knows your pet better than you, so this is a judgment call on your part. If your pet is older and used to being cozied up at home, putting them out of their element might not be a good idea. Pets can also suffer from motion sickness from being in the car too long. Consider this and prepare for the treatments. For tips on noticing the symptoms and how to treat motion sickness, check out this guide for dogs and this guide for cats.

Is the hotel pet-friendly?

If you are planning to stay in a hotel, check to see if they permit pets. Many hotels don’t make it clear if they are a pet-friendly environment, so make sure to ask when booking. If you’re still in the process of booking the trip, many hotel search websites have a pet-friendly search filter. Also, check out this great list of pet-friendly hotel chains that allow dogs.

Ask yourself these questions before traveling with pets for the holidays, and be sure to plan accordingly. For more tips for pet owners, check out our guide to renting with pets. We at Apartment List wish you safe travels and a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, and your pets (of course)!

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