Pets are Welcome!
What could be more exciting than a journey with your pet, right? Double the adventure and discovery, double the fun.
It could also be a challenging experience, though, depending on your pet’s temperament, how thoroughly you’re prepared for the different phases of the journey, and your adherence to airline or hotel policies. Predictable routines make pets feel safe, and a break from that routine is bound to be exciting but also stressful. Don’t worry, though. A few simple do’s and don’ts will minimize your pet’s anxiety, and make bringing your pet along an enjoyable experience for both of you.
As a pet-friendly hotel and apartel chain we’re created this Complete Guide to Traveling With Your Pet to cover all the do’s and don’ts and help make the most of your adventure with your four-legged buddy.
So What Does ‘Pet Friendly’ Mean?
A pet-friendly hotel is a hotel that accepts guests traveling with pets and has policies designed to make life comfortable for pets and their owners. Make sure the accommodation you’ve chosen is pet-friendly by checking the amenities section on the booking website you’re using, or by contacting them directly.
Ginosi Apartels & Hotels understands the value pets have for their owners, and our locations in Los Angeles, Barcelona, Milan, Prague and Riga are all pet-friendly establishments.
So how can you make the travel experience as comfortable, safe and hassle-free for your pet? Let’s start with the top 5 tips to remember.
Prep Tip 1: Pick a Non-Stop Flight
A flight with one or more stops along the way, with all the customs points and long waiting times between flights, will be an exhausting experience for both you and your pets. Simplify your journey with a non-stop flight and reduce stress and exhaustion to a minimum.
Prep Tip 2: Use a Pet Carrier
Placing your pet in a carrier while traveling can have several benefits for you and your pets. It makes your pet feel safe and reduces noise from external stimuli that can elevate stress. Make your pet feel better inside the carrier with Tip 1 above for a stronger sense of security and familiarity. If you can place the carrier in such a way that your pet can see you or smell you, even better. If the airline you’ll be using has a list of accepted pet carriers, make sure you buy one of those.
Prep Tip 3: Be Aware of Country, Airport And Hotel Policies
You don’t want to hit the road only to find out that your pet’s not allowed on the plane, or has to travel in the cargo hold, or that customs in your destination country won’t accept the pet.
Also keep in mind that if you bring your pet into the airplane cabin in a carrier, it may count as a carry-on item with some airlines. Check allowable carrier sizes to make sure your pet will be allowed to travel in the cabin with you, and won’t have to travel in the cargo hold.
Research the laws, regulations and policies of the airline, airport, your destination country and the hotel where you’ll be staying for anything that many affect your pet’s journey. In some cases you may even need to apply for a permit to bring your pet into the destination country. If this is the case, make sure you get started early enough to get the needed documentation in time.
Prep Tip 4: Carry Pet Identification And Medical Information At All Times
Lack of proper identification and medical information can cause major problems if you’re flying to another country, and it’s very important to make sure you’re fully covered for even the worst-case scenario if you want to cross borders without unnecessary delays.
First, pay a visit to the vet to make sure your pet has all the vaccinations needed for your destination country and the documentation to prove it. Keep the documentation within easy reach throughout your trip. If English is not spoken in your destination country, you may want to consider having translated medical information to present whenever needed.
Second, take photos of your pet, as well as all the identification and medical information with your phone.
Third, make sure your pet is wearing a tag with information about how you can be reached, both at home and at the hotel where you’ll be staying.
Prep Tip 5: Keep Your Pet Hydrated And Fed
Bring enough water and food to keep your pet hydrated and fed throughout the trip, especially if it’s a long one. Giving them a treat and a few sips of water every half hour or so should suffice to keep them happy without feeling the need to eliminate in mid-flight.
Before You Leave Home
There are two things you can do even before you leave home to make sure your trip is as hassle-free as possible. First, get your pet used to the carrier. Leave it around the house and place your pet’s favorite toys, treats and bedding inside it. That way, getting inside the carrier won’t be stressful for your pet when you begin your trip.
Second, make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise just before you begin your journey. They will be tired and much more likely to fall asleep than fret about while you fly.
Your “What to Pack” Checklist
Proper planning is the key to a pleasant journey with your pet. A sudden change in environment and the commotion of travel can make pets highly anxious. The following packing list will help you be prepared for all eventualities.
- A few of your pet’s favorite toys, treats and bedding
- Food and water
- Litter bags
- Leash, collar muzzle and harness
- Full identity and health documentation
- Wet napkins
- Travel blanket
- First aid kit for pets
- Grooming supplies
- First aid kit for pets
At The Airport
Once you’ve arrived at the airport, there are a few important things to take care of before you check in and board the plane.
First, take your pet for a brisk walk outdoors. There are two reasons for this. The first is to give your pet an opportunity to relieve themselves just before boarding, so you won’t have to worry about mid-flight accidents. In fact, many airports have outdoor pet-relief areas, so if you can’t find one, ask airport personnel.
The second reason is to make sure your pet is a little tired and much less likely to be stressed or hyperactive during the flight. Once they’re in their carrier and on their bedding, they’ll probably settle in quietly and sleep.
Ask for a Bulkhead Seat
A bulkhead seat is worth asking for, so speak to your airline about it. Also make sure to also ask airline personnel about pet travel guidelines.
Keep Food And Water to a Minimum
Before and throughout the flight, your pet should get enough water to stay hydrated but not enough to need a potty break. Using small bites as a reward for obedience and cooperation throughout the journey is a good idea, as it will keep your pet from getting too hungry and make your journey easier.
On The Plane
Hopefully by now you’ve been given the bulkhead seat and are comfortably settled in. Still, your pet may be having a difficult time, so keep an eye out for signs of stress, anxiety or even aggression. More importantly, your pet may be feeling sick, so if you notice such signs inform flight crew immediately.
Also pay attention to how you pet may be affecting other passengers or may be affected by them. Is your pet getting unwanted attention that’s making it anxious and claustrophobic? If you feel the need to ask other passengers to give your pet some breathing room, don’t hesitate to do so. On the flip side, make sure your pet’s presence is not causing stress or even allergic reactions among other passengers. If you notice such behavioral changes or reactions, speak to the crew. If you’ve arranged a bulkhead seat, switching seats will not be an option for you, but arrangements might be made for the other passengers.
At The Hotel
The first two things to find out after arriving at your hotel are the locations of the nearest pet store and vet clinic. Also find out whether there are hotel policies about leaving your pet alone in the room. Some hotels ban it, while others allow it only if the pet is in a carrier. Even if it’s allowed, however, try not to leave your pet alone for long periods of time, though, as they are likely to get stressed and show destructive behavior. The last thing you want is to return from a day out to find out your dog has damaged the room. Depending on whether your pet enjoys or dislikes quiet, also think about leaving the television on when yo do leave your room.
Make your pet’s stay as comfortable as possible by placing your pet’s bedding, toys, food and water somewhere in the hotel room you think they’ll be comfortable. A corner near your bed that’s not in the way is probably the best option. Sleeping near you will make your pet feel much safer.
Keeping your pet well-behaved and in a positive mood while visiting a new place is very important, especially if you are unfamiliar with the destination city’s culture, laws, and etiquette rules.
Sometimes your pet’s behavior may even get you in trouble with the law, so caution is wise. Don’t assume what’s okay in your home town is okay elsewhere.
Even if your pet’s well-trained, keep it on a leash or inside a carrier at all times. Make sure to have toys and blankets on hand, just for a sense of familiarity to minimize the stress or excitement of exploring a new place. If you have a dog that tends to be vocal when excited or stressed, consider using a muzzle.
- Not all places you’ll want to visit on your trip will accept pets. Call beforehand to make sure it’s okay to bring your pet along.
- Don’t leave your pet unattended in a vehicle if you have to visit a place that does not accept pets. This is especially true in very cold or hot weather, as it can be dangerous for your pet.