Travelling With Pets: A Guide for First-Timers

Updated on September 13, 2019
Amesj2019 profile image

Amy Jackson is a lover of all animals, especially cats and fluffy dogs. She also loves a good holiday!

It’s no secret that we’re a society of animal lovers. Whether it’s pampered pooches or fabulous felines we have at home, for the vast majority of us, our pets are part of the family. So what happens when it comes to that well-needed holiday we all love to take?

  • Do you get a family member to pet-sit?
  • Do you arrange for them to stay in kennels?
  • Or do you bring them with you?

Surprisingly, more of us are choosing to take our pets with us when we go away, with 37% of pet owners doing so every year!

How Far Would You Go to Take Your Pet on Holiday?

Travelling with pets can take a lot of organising, and depending on where you’re going, there can be potential issues. Despite that, some of us can’t bear being apart from our beloved pets, so much to the point that they’ll go to extraordinary lengths to bring them along.

As the below infographic shows, from only selecting pet-friendly locations to hiding dogs in their luggage, pet parents will stop at nothing. What’s even more shocking is that 7% of travellers have disguised their pets as service animals, while 3% have attempted to disguise their dog as a baby when boarding a plane!


Now, while you may not want to be apart from your fur-babies, I definitely would not condone hiding them in your luggage or disguising them as service animals. The same goes for disguising them as babies! However, if you heart is still set on taking your pet with you on your travels, here are a few tips to ensure you do things properly.

Tips for First Time-Pet Travellers

  • Carefully choose your destination
  • Consider your transport options
  • Ensure you have the right health and safety essentials for your pet
  • Be aware of your pets' temperament and whether travelling is suitable for them

1. Carefully Consider Your Destination

It sounds obvious, but travelling with pets is likely to restrict the types of destinations you go to. If you’re thinking of travelling to a particularly hot country, is it really fair to bring your pet along with you? It’s also worth doing a little research into the requirements for you to bring your pet into a different country, as some countries require blood tests months in advance, and others even enforce a quarantine period.

If you’re travelling within your home country, this will make things a lot easier, however, make sure that your accommodation allows pets. Thankfully, the amount of pet-friendly hotel chains are increasing, but always check before you make a booking!

If you opt for a holiday home, you can often filter your search for pet-friendly properties. What’s even better is that a lot of locations with this option are nearby to pretty woodland walks and dog-friendly beaches, perfect to get tails wagging! Safety is still important, however, so ensure you're clued up on the dos and don'ts of the beach with these tips!


2. Consider Your Transport Options

If you’re flying to your destination, before you make your booking, do some research into the airline’s policy on animals. It’s even worth looking at travel or pet forums to get advice and recommendations from fellow pet travellers so that you can make the best choice. Another important thing to do is to look into the documents you’ll need to fly with your pet, such as pet passports, vaccination documents or rabies certificates.

Tips for Driving With Your Pet

If you’re looking at driving to your destination, you’re not alone. 38% of pet owners have chosen to drive to their location instead of flying, but what are the best ways to ensure your fur baby stays happy? Here’s just a handful of things you can do:

  • Make plenty of pit stops to allow for toilet breaks and fresh air
  • Keep them hydrated and educate yourself on signs of dehydration
  • Ensure your pet is properly restrained with a good quality car harness or carrier (it’s a legal requirement!)
  • Pack a pet travel bag: include treats, a bottle of water, collapsible bowls, dry food, wet wipes and poop bags etc. It’s also a good idea to bring some toys, and your pet’s favourite comfort item.
  • Put down a blanket. Not only does this ensure their comfort but it will protect your upholstery in case of any accidents!
  • Regularly check in with them to make sure they’re comfortable and not showing signs of distress.

Of course, it's also important to ensure the safety of yourself and others in the car with you. To ensure all passengers (including those with paws!) are safe and sound on your road trip, learn about some helpful tips.


3. Health and Safety Essentials

Of course, your pets’ health should be a priority when travelling. So aside from the obvious of making sure that they’re fit for travel, there are a few other factors to be aware of. Ensure your pets’ vaccinations are all up to date, that their microchip details are correct, and check your pet insurance to make sure you’ve got adequate cover.

Make sure that you’re also prepared for things such as travel sickness too. It’s a good idea not to feed your pet for several hours before you leave for your journey, and if your pet is particularly prone to travel sickness, you can stock up on some medication from your veterinarian.


While we’re on the subject of veterinary care, be sure to educate yourself on services nearby to your destination. While it’s not something you particularly want to think about, it will give you peace of mind should your pet become ill or injured during your trip.

4. Consider Your Pet's Temperament

The final thing to consider? Ensure your pet is happy to travel! Of course we can’t ask them outright, but if your pet meets any of the following, it may be the best option to leave them at home.

  • Easily distressed
  • Nervous disposition
  • Elderly
  • Suffering from long term health conditions
  • Aggressive/easily wound up

Animals love their home comforts, so bear in mind they might be happier in their own environment with familiar smells and their favourite things! While travelling with pets can be a wonderful experience, it’s important to consider their needs too!


Would You Take Your Pet on Holiday?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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    • Amesj2019 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy Jackson 

      9 months ago from Bath, UK

      Thank you :)

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      9 months ago from UK

      You give good advice for pet owners, illustrated with great photos.


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