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Travel planning often includes a few additional steps for pet owners. Whether you simply can't bear to leave your pet behind or you need to transport them when you move to another state, it's helpful to understand the logistics and costs of bringing a dog or cat along for the ride. Here are a few do's and don'ts to consider when traveling with your pets.

Pack a Travel Kit

Your pet-related travel budget should include all of the items your cat or dog may need while you're away. The ASPCA recommends packing a travel kit for your pet, including a bowl, food, leash, medications, a waste scoop, toys, and any other supplies. Don't forget to carry your pet's identification documents when traveling.

Map out Your Trip Ahead of Time

If you need to bring your pet when you travel, search out pet-friendly alternatives ahead of time. More pet-friendly hotels are available than ever before, and it's usually just a matter of knowing how to find them. Map out your travel route ahead of time and pinpoint locations for where you'll stay overnight. Petswelcome provides hotel options based on a geographic search.

Understand the Rules of Flying with Pets

Flying with a pet doesn't necessarily need to be a bumpy ride, as long as you understand the rules and requirements. Check with your airline about their pet policies. Here are some general items to consider:

  • Documentation: Most airlines require a recently-issued health certificate from your vet before they're permitted on board.
  • Fees: Airlines charge additional fees for carrying your pet or for transporting them in a kennel.
  • Breed/Size Restrictions: Check with your airline for a list of breed and size requirements. If your pet travels with you in the passenger area, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) considers your pet carrier to be a carry-on bag.
  • Flying Limits: The number of pets per flight is limited, so even if your dog or cat meets the requirements, they might not be allowed on board; thus, it's best to book as far in advance as possible to guarantee a spot.
  • Temperature: To help guarantee the safest possible travel for your pet, airlines may not allow them to fly if temperatures are too hot or too cold.

Don't Put Them in a Travel Carrier Without Trying it at Home First

If your pet will be traveling in a new container or crate, make sure they fit inside comfortably. For pets who have never used a crate prior to your trip, let them try out the crate before leaving home to make sure they're accustomed to the enclosed space.

Don't Forget About the Costs of Leaving them Home

If you decide to leave your pets at home when you go on vacation, you'll still need to budget for the cost of a kennel or pet sitter. According to Thumbtack, overnight pet lodging options like a kennel can cost around $50 per night, with more expensive and luxurious pet hotels costing even more. Pet sitters or dog walkers will also charge a fee per day.

When traveling with pets, the goal is to make sure they're comfortable, safe, and well cared for. Not all destinations and travel methods are pet-friendly, so you may need to be willing to adjust your plans to accommodate the needs of your dog or cat. The good news is that many transportation and lodging options are available, giving you the flexibility to bring your pet or leave them at home.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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