Travelhoppers – a Web site dedicated to providing free travel planning resources coupled with travel expert insight and advice – is pleased to unveil its “Let Us Mail You a Cat (or Dog)” campaign and reveal five tips for encouraging safe travel with pets. As part of the campaign, consumers can register for a chance to win a dog or cat of their very own! Learn More
1. Avoid “Pop-Up” Pet Carriers: One common mistake that travelers make when purchasing their animal carriers before a trip, is falling for the “deal” and purchasing the super affordable “pop-up” pet carriers that are advertised as being ultra-lightweight and compact as they can be easily folded and tucked away at the end of the day. While it’s true that these carriers are more affordable than traditional plastic crates, carriers and kennels, they are in actuality a real safety hazard for animals both large and small. What the advertisers DON’T tell you, is that these budget pop-up carriers are extremely flimsy, nearly impossible to carry and can collapse while your animal is inside of them at the drop of a dime. If you are planning to travel with pets, spend a little more money to purchase a durable kennel (preferably made of water-resistant plastic) with wire doors and windows for extra security and ventilation. Not only are these plastic kennels more easy to clean and maintain, but they will not collapse when luggage slightly shifts in your car or onboard a plane, they have carry handles for easy transport, they come in all sizes and will be a life-long investment that is well-worth the extra money spent. If traveling by plane, call the airline in advance to request their animal crate requirements and specifications to ensure you’ll have no difficulties boarding your animal.
2. Pack A Pet First-Aid Kit/Travel Bag: Prior to departing on a trip with your pet, preparation is key. Pack a separate bag for your pet that contains drinking water, enough food for several days, an extra leash, plastic bags to pick-up after your pet, cleaning supplies, first aid kit and one or two of your animal’s favorite toys from home. Don’t assume that the destination you’re visiting will have a pet supply store within a short driving distance or will have your pet’s specific food brand in stock, so pack these “travel essentials” for your pet just in case. Some important things to have on hand for first aid kit supplies include clean towels and cloths, nonstick bandages, adhesive tape, gauze and clean water.
3. Obtain Veterinarian Records In Advance: Ask your veterinarian for copies of your pet’s medical records and proof of vaccinations (especially a valid rabies certificate) that you can keep close on hand, should any emergencies arise while you’re away. You’ll want to call at least one month in advance to ensure your veterinarian has enough time to make these medical record copies for you. If traveling with an exotic animal, ask your veterinarian to provide your pet with an exam and health certificate and make sure you have the appropriate documentation in order to cross state or country lines with your animal.
4. Do Your Destination Homework: When traveling across state and country lines, it’s essential to have a valid rabies vaccine certificate on-hand. It’s also important to ensure your animal is in good health – as many countries require a signed certificate of health and some will even require an automatic veterinary inspection for all pets crossing the border. Do your research before traveling with a pet abroad. Some countries quarantine pets (for days and even months) before allowing the animal into their country. Some cities, states and countries also have restrictions on the types of exotic animals you’re allowed to bring with you, so contact the individual destinations you’re planning to visit (or those you will be driving through) to ensure that you have the proper documentation for your pet, as well as to learn more about their possible quarantine procedures, exotic animal restrictions, mandatory microchip policies and more. It’s also recommended to microchip your animal prior to your trip to avoid losing your pet while traveling.
5. Research Animal Restrictions & Fees for Pet-Friendly Hotels: Many hotels advertise as being pet-friendly these days, however, that does not mean that all animals will be warmly welcomed upon their arrival. Before booking rooms at a hotel that claims to be “pet-friendly,” call the hotel in advance to find out if they have specific animal restrictions, a maximum number of allowable pets per room and fees associated with pet stays. Additionally, have one pet-friendly hotel “back-up” plan for each destination on your travel itinerary should any problems arise with your original hotel reservations or their pet policies upon arrival. If traveling across country and making nightly hotel reservations on a whim, one great resource to keep in your car is “The AAA PetBook” – which is an on-the-road-guide for traveling with pets that has more than 13,000 pet-friendly hotels and campground selections by destination location across North America.
This roundup of pet travel tips was compiled by Travelhoppers’ Founder, Richard Earls, and his team of highly knowledgeable travel experts and travel writers that regularly contribute to the Travelhoppers blog.
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