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To Bring or Not to Bring, That Is the Question

Posted on May 31, 2021 by Rob Hale

Many Americans consider their pet an integral part of their family and treat those pets as children, best friends, and even therapists. What happens to the furry members of the family when the human members are planning a vacation? Should they be boarded? Should a pet sitter be hired? Should you leave them with a friend? Can they be left alone? Or, should you bring them along? This is a question that roughly 70% of Americans ask themselves when coordinating the logistics of their travel.

According to a National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 85 million families own a pet. We all know that 2020 was a killer for the travel industry. However, the U.S. Travel Association’s Monthly Travel Recovery Data Report shows that travel is back with a vengeance and that nearly nine in ten American travelers are planning to travel in the next six months – a new pandemic high. If you are an individual who owns a pet and is planning to travel by air in the near future, here are some things you might find useful if you are considering bringing along your furry friend.

As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks, the rules for air travel with a pet vary from airline to airline. An apparent rule of thumb for those airlines that do allow pets is that if your pet isn’t carry-on size, they most likely have to travel in the cargo part of the plane. Although, some airlines have temporarily suspended the cargo option due to COVID. Pet policies generally carry breed restrictions and pet travel fees­. Typically, the further and more international you go, the steeper the fees get.

Pets That Travel compiled a list of pet-friendly airlines. Browsing through the list might be a good starting point when selecting your airline. You will also find specific requirements such as approved carriers, weight limits, and health certificates needed. One of the most annoying things that you can encounter when flying is arriving at your destination only to find that your luggage has vanished into thin air. Missing luggage is a nuisance that happens way too often.

Now, imagine that your pet needs to travel cargo and that at the time of reuniting you are left wondering their whereabouts—this would be the start of a nightmare vacation. Missing pets on an airline aren’t a common occurrence, but one can never be too safe.  To cover all of your bases in keeping your pet safe whether they are traveling cargo or carry on we recommend that your pet is microchipped. Also, make sure that the contact information attached to your pets’ microchip is up to date. Numerous companies make trackers which can be attached to their carrier or even their collar—you can get these at surprisingly affordable prices. Lastly, concerning your pet’s well-being, you will need to clear your pet for travel, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association acceleration and pressure changes can invoke particular stresses to your pet. If your pet is elderly or ill it is probably not in their best interest to bring them along.

When packing for your trip, make sure you think about your pet as well and don’t leave behind any essentials. You will need to make sure that you have portable handy travel items while on the go as well as items for once you reach your destination. Some staple items to bring along should include a leash—of course, pet waste bags, a collapsible bowl, snacks, and some wee-wee pads. 

It is easy to get so consumed with meeting all of the airline requirements that you then neglect to look into the lodging accommodations—don’t forget to do that. Your lodging will not only need to be pet friendly but also must offer the right amenities for you and your pet.

Pro tip: If you will need to be taking your pet out for walks do your due diligence for checking out the area before booking. It’s astonishing what a difference a couple of blocks can make in some towns.

Traveling with your pet can be extremely rewarding and an amazing bonding experience, but if you still have questions about bringing them along or would like help finding the right accommodation contact our Denver travel agency and ask to speak with a representative. We’d love to help you create the purrrfect travel plan.

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