Traveling during the holidays can be hectic, and while it’s great for the whole family to be together, bringing your dog along can add to the chaos of travel. If you’re thinking of traveling with your dog this holiday season, start planning now to make sure that the trip is smooth and enjoyable for your entire family.
Do Look for Deals to Save Money
Traveling with your pet can get expensive once you factor in pet fees, airline tickets, and more. If you fly often, make the most of your airline miles. Airlines like Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines all offer loyalty programs through credit cards. While these loyalty programs usually have annual fees, they can pay off with the perks and extra airline miles that they offer. Traveling with your pet is expensive, so if you can save money on your future plane tickets, it may mean that you can afford to bring your dog with you. Shop around and see what option makes sense for your travel habits.
If flying with your dog isn’t possible, consider a road trip instead. If your dog is used to riding in the car, he’ll probably enjoy a long-distance road trip. Consider making the drive itself into an adventure, stopping off at some must-see destinations so that you and your dog can spend plenty of time outside of the vehicle.
Don’t Let Yourself Get Distracted While Driving
If you’re planning on driving to your destination, take steps to keep your dog from distracting you so that you can all stay safe. Consider investing in a grate that keeps your dog in the back seat of the vehicle, and bring along some toys or chews so that your dog has something to focus on.
If your dog doesn’t ride in the car frequently, start to get him prepared for the trip now. Take him on short car rides around the neighborhood and end each car ride with a positive experience, like a walk or some playtime, so that your dog associates the car with fun events. Gradually increase the length of these car rides so that, when it’s time for a holiday trip, your dog is comfortable being in the car and won’t wine, bark, or otherwise distract you.
Your dog isn’t the only potential distraction to worry about, though. Your phone can also be a distraction, and if you’re tempted to text while driving, or to take pics of yourself and your pup on your first big trip together, don’t. People who text while driving are 23% more likely to get into an accident than drivers who don’t text. To keep yourself, your family, and your dog safe use an app that blocks texting while driving. You won’t have to worry about this distraction and can focus on keeping your eyes on the road.
Do Make the Most of Your Luggage Space
Traveling with your dog means that you’ll have some additional supplies to bring along, like your pet’s food and bed. With only so much room available in the car or on the plane, you’ll need to make the most of your luggage space. Learn how to pack a suitcase like a pro.
Start by planning out all of the items that you need to fit into your luggage. Then, roll your clothes, rather than folding them, to save space. If you know you’ll have access to laundry facilities at your destination, you may be able to pack fewer clothes and wash them, saving you space. Don’t forget to leave room in your luggage for any items that you need to bring home with you.
Don’t Travel Without Being Prepared for Veterinary Emergencies
If your dog has a veterinary emergency while you’re traveling, you’ll need to be prepared to get them the help they need. Before you leave, ask your vet for a copy of your dog’s medical records so that you have them with you just in case you have to bring your dog to another vet while on the road.
Do some research before your trip and identify veterinary facilities along your travel route. Be sure to also find animal hospitals that have emergency services in case your dog has a health issue after normal operating hours. Keep in mind that veterinary facilities often have limited holiday hours, so you may not be able to get your dog into the first vet that you call. Be prepared with contact information for multiple vets so that you can call around and find an office that can see your dog.
You should also bring along a pet kit equipped with basic supplies that you may need in an emergency. Include a muzzle, some towels, extra water and treats, and a pet first-aid kit, just in case.
Do Plan Ahead So Your Dog Has a Good, Safe Time
Remember to think about your dog’s personality and specific needs when planning your trip. If you’re traveling with an aggressive dog, you’ll need to take additional steps to keep them and others safe, such as by ensuring they get plenty of exercises and are acclimated to riding in the car. If you’re traveling with a senior dog, plan to take plenty of breaks while on the road so that your dog can relieve himself and take short walks to loosen up.
Be sure to find ways to make the trip fun for your dog, too. Schedule plenty of breaks for playtime and look up some places where you can take your dog for a walk or even a swim once you arrive at your destination. With some planning and creativity, both you and your dog can have a great time traveling for the holidays.