It doesn’t seem fair that you always have to leave your best friend behind when you travel. Hotel pet deposits, airline regulations, and the extra planning might not seem worth the hassle.
But there are ways to make a trip with your four-legged friend fun, memorable, and easier than you might think. Follow these steps for a successful trip with your pet in tow!
- Follow a Routine
Dogs thrive on routine: They depend on knowing exactly what to expect, and can get stressed out when they’re sleeping in a new place or moving around often. What schedule do you follow at home? Likely, your dog’s walks, meals, and bedtime stick to a natural rhythm. Prioritize adhering to your usual routine as closely as you can. For dogs, just like people, eating meals at regular times and getting enough sleep are key to a healthy circadian rhythm–especially if you’re dealing with jet lag.
So, don’t over-pack your schedule, or stay up late and sleep in. You can still find plenty of time to relax and enjoy yourself without letting your normal daily routine slip away completely.
- Plan Ahead
Transportation, accommodation, and meals get doubly complicated when you have a non-human companion. Where you go, how you get there, where you stay, and what you’ll do when you’re there will all be affected by having a pet along.
If you haven’t traveled with your dog before, start small. A weekend road trip to a city a few hours away is a better starting point than a six-week international extravaganza. Driving is always going to be the easiest way to travel with your pet, but if you’re able to bring them along in an airline cabin, that will make domestic travel easier at greater distances.
Most hotels outline their pet policies online. You may also have luck with Airbnb hosts, or reaching out to friends-of-friends who live in your city of destination. Whether you are trying to keep your costs at a minimum or you don’t mind paying a pet deposit to ensure a cushy stay, there’s a pet-friendly accommodation solution for your needs.
The more advance planning you do, the better off you’ll be when go time arrives. If your pet has special dietary needs, be sure to bring along plenty of food for the duration of the trip. Otherwise, just double-check that you’ll be able to purchase what you need nearby.
- Enlist Help
Ultimately, your pup–no matter how beloved–likely won’t be your #1 priority 24/7 when you travel. Whether your trip is for business purposes or purely pleasure, you’ll want to maintain some flexibility to do as you’d like while you’re away. If your pet can peacefully while away a couple of hours in the hotel while you pop out for a meal or meeting, you may not need any additional help.
But if you have a rambunctious pet or just want to make sure they get plenty of playtime–or their usual early-morning walks if you do stay up late–it’s time to bring out the big guns. You can sign up on Rover.com and look for local pet-sitters to help you out. That way, you get the best of both worlds: A wonderful trip with your bestie, plus a relaxing and enjoyable vacation for you both.
When the stars don’t align and you have to leave your pup behind, you can also find longer-term pet care via Rover. Some dogs are homebodies, while others jump at every chance to experience an adventure. Depending on your pet’s personality and the parameters of any given trip, you’ll have to make the call each time.
But if you enjoy traveling together, you’ll be able to expand your boundaries and go further afield for longer stretches of time. You’ll have a buoyant traveling companion who’ll brighten your days!
Written by Nat Smith, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.