Traveling With Pets

Many seniors today find traveling one of the more enjoyable perks of retirement.  However, that perk can quickly turn sour when faced with having to make plans to leave a beloved member of the family behind.

Many retirees spend a lot of time daily with a pet, usually a cat or dog.  We take them to dog parks and on daily walks.  They frequently ride along on short shopping trips or multiple errand-running.  They are always invited to hop up in a lap, and the comfort of their presence has no measure.  Over 60% of dog and cat owners sleep with their pets.  It’s no wonder that we consider them family members.

So how can we possibly leave them when planning to travel?

There are several issues to consider, and this list may be helpful:

  1. Overseas travel is usually prohibitive for pets because of all the requirements for their travel in foreign countries.  If you are planning overseas travel, arrange for a pet sitter to come and stay with your little one(s) at home, or take him/her/them to a trusted pet resort or boarding kennel that you have pre-inspected to be sure it meets your standards.  The same holds for rail or bus travel.
  2. If you are traveling via airlines, call to see what the airline requires for pet travel, and if they permit pets on flights.  Be sure you have all the information in advance, and be sure you are comfortable with how your pet will travel if you plan to take him/her with you.
  3. The best – and safest – means of travel with your pet accompanying you is in your own vehicle.  Planning in advance can make the trip enjoyable for all of you, especially your pet.
  4. Be sure each day includes stopping at roadside parks or rest stops on interstates for your pet to exercise, get food and water and go potty.
  5. Check motel websites in advance of the trip to determine which ones allow pets, and how much – if anything – they charge.  There are motels that not only allow pets but welcome them!  Find them and give them your business.  Your pets will heartily approve!
  6. Be sure to take your pet’s favorite treats as well as a good supply of food.  Traveling is not a time to change eating habits.
  7. If you plan to be in a locale for several days, check online pet day care and resorts in that area; you can frequently find a place for your little guy to stay while you are attending a graduation or ceremony or event (including family gatherings) that the little one would rather not endure.  Be sure the facility has the professional endorsements you require.

And when you all return home, be sure your pets know how much you love them, and how much you enjoyed having them along on the trip!