Tour the world with your pet, but remember these top tips
BEING a spontaneous traveler is fun when you only have to worry about yourself. But throw a pet into the mix and it suddenly becomes a little more difficult.
Any pet owner will know that leaving your pet at home while you jet off requires a lot of planning. So imagine the potential stress of planning a whole vacation with your furry friend in tow.
Vacations should be anything but stressful, and hotels and airlines are now realizing they could do so much more to help owners and pets have the best trips of their lives.
Dozens of luxury hotels, including the Four Season Resort Chiang Mai, have pets-allowed policies. There are also hundreds of pet hotels across Asia which primarily serve the fur-parent and furkid traveler.
Humans find traveling stressful, but we can verbalize our frustrations, tell someone when nature is calling, control the air conditioning, and stop for breaks whenever we want.
Pets can only make sounds to communicate and as of yet, barking and meowing are not languages that humans are versed in.
Hence, it is best to be as prepared as possible when traveling with pets to ensure maximum comfort for everyone.
Here are a few top pet vacation tips:
Vaccines for everyone
Pets should always have a full check-up at the vet before traveling. This to ensure that they are fit to travel.
You should also consult the vet on which vaccinations to get your pet and remember the rabies shot is compulsory around the world.
The vet will also provide all the health certificates needed for an animal to fly. Without these, you could face having your trip canceled or having to leave your pet behind.
Once you know your pet is fit to travel, get them a pet passport which will entitle them to travel almost anywhere in the world.
A pet passport tells officials that your pet is healthy and has received all necessary vaccinations.
Without a passport, your pet could face a spell in pet jail (quarantine), but we’re sure it would rather be frocliking on a paradise beach with you.
This basic rule applies to humans and pets: If you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
Without travel insurance, you and your pet aren’t covered for anything. You’re completely on your own if any accidents happen while you’re away.
There are only a few pet travel insurance companies on the market right now, so it won’t take you too long to compare prices.
Try to get the fullest cover you can as veterinary bills aren’t cheap anywhere in the world.
Traveling by plane? Notify the airline
Most major airlines allow small pets, such as cats, dogs, and micro pigs to fly in the cabin.
You will most probably need to buy a ticket for them and these can range from US$75 to US$150 for a return trip.
Once you’ve purchased tickets, notify the airline of your arrangements. Divulge as many details as possible regarding your travel plans so the airline can make appropriate preparations.
If your pet is over 140kg, you’ll likely have to check them into the hold. However, bear in mind this can be a very distressing experience for animals as the hold of a plane is cold, dark, and extremely noisy.
Both cabin and cargo hold options require you make prior contact with the airline and airport before arriving.
Baggage handling mistakes happen all the time and unfortunately, your pet is not immune to being misplaced.
Flying directly to your destination eliminates the chance of a pet being stuck halfway.
Travel by car
Firstly, give yourself a pat on the back as this mode of transport is the least stressful for your pet, especially if it’s a car they’re familiar with.
However, if it’s a long car journey on highways or other roads where stopping for a walk isn’t easy, consider getting a light sedative to calm your pet’s anxieties.
Purchase a pet travel bag
There are some pretty nifty bags on the market with a gazillion pockets for all your pet’s essentials.
It’s important to pack plenty of water, snacks, mess bags, and a toy in order to give them a bit of routine and some normality while on the road.
Depending on your pet, they may be more comfortable in a carry bag. It provides them with a safe place to retreat to and lets you know they can’t run off.
Collars are essential for traveling pets, especially if you know you’ll be separated from them for a period of time.
Make sure you purchase a collar that doesn’t get stuck or snag on anything. Be sure to attach your permanent address and where you’re staying on your travels.
If your pet doesn’t usually wear a collar, let them get used to it for a few days around the house before you leave.
Avoiding travel sickness
Animals can suffer from travel sickness just like humans.
To reduce the risk of your pet being ill on a journey, don’t feed them within four to six hours of traveling.
Always carry photos of your pet
Not to show fellow passengers on your flights, but in case your pet goes missing and your best verbal descriptions of what they look like don’t help.
*Alternatively, if you’re famous you might get away with not making any preparations and simply have to film an unconvincing public apology if you get caught smuggling pets into a country.
*Disclaimer: Don’t do this.