Updated: Dec 17, 2020
A little extra planning, and you can take Fido with you on vacation. A study by a Harris Poll in 2015 found that pet owners (95%) view their pets as family members. Our pets, and yes, I have two myself, provide joy and comfort, especially during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Hi, my name is Toni Reid, and I love the beauty, culture, and adventure that comes from traveling across the U.S. and abroad; and I want to inspire others to do the same. As someone passionate about traveling AND dogs, here's what I've discovered. You will be told "no" more than "yes" to bringing Fido into a restaurant or hotel even though they've posted on their websites and/or their social media about being dog friendly. Additionally, most hotels will charge a fee ranging from $50 - $350 to accommodate your pet so budget accordingly. Also, when in doubt, ask questions and never assume that dogs are or are not allowed.
Check with the airlines directly for information on restrictions. Still, typically, you have two options for traveling with pets: carrying the pet on the plane or checking the pet as cargo. When pets are allowed as carry-ons, most policies only allow small dogs, cats, and potentially rabbits, guinea pigs, and household birds.
If you're planning to travel internationally, you'll need your dog's health records. Typically, airlines require documents no older than 10 days of pet health certificates, even if the receiving country accepts an older one. Some countries, however, require a health certificate to be even less than 10 days.
On the plane, a pet must be kept in a ventilated TSA approved pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you and note a pet counts as one of your carry-on items. Here are three tips for planning your vacation with Fido:
1. Triple check airline policies and prices because they vary depending on the airline, the country, size, and breed of your pet.
2. Has your pet met Service and Support Animal Travel guidelines? In that case, your pet may be allowed to sit on your lap or sit on the floor space below your seat. Service Dog Registration of America recommends contacting the airline in advance so you can make appropriate accommodations.
3. Look into animal importation laws for international travels because many destinations have complicated processes. As a reminder think about the Johnny Depp situation, who ran into trouble bringing his Yorkshire terriers into Australia.
Now for the bad news, sort of, flying with a pet that is a non-service or non-emotional support dog is not encouraged. Justine Lee, a veterinary expert for Pumpkin Pet Insurance, says it puts unnecessary stress on your pet. Also, be sure to include dog-friendly activities in your itinerary and always consult with your vet about food, water, and medication before flying. So think and plan carefully before bringing Fido with you on vacation.