Whitney is a hamster parent. She hates to see her furry friends suffer and enjoys educating others of best husbandry practices.
If you're going on vacation but you're not quite sure what to do with your pet hamster, you basically have two options:
- take them with you
- find a sitter
Finding a sitter to watch your hamster while you are gone is really the better choice as it will reduce the amount of stress on your hamster, but sometimes you may not have any options and may have to take your hamster with you.
The Best Way to Move a Hamster
If you're moving, you may want to find a sitter until you have moved everything. After you are settled you can then bring your hamster to the new home. You don't want to leave your hamster alone for more than a few days at a time, so you may want the last thing that moves to the new house to be your hamster.
Otherwise, below are a few options and tips to traveling with your pet hamster, whether it be a short or long car trip or a plane ride. Just make sure that you always consider finding a sitter if you can, as it is much safer for your hamster to stay home rather than ride around, especially if it's just going to be a fairly short vacation.
Tips for Transporting Hamsters on Short Car Trips
Short car trips are the best type of trip for your hamster. Short trips to the vet or to a friend's house to babysit your hamster isn't that big of an adventure.
You will want to put your hamster in a small travel carrier with some of the bedding from the cage as it will help the hamster feel a little more at home and safe. You can also consider taking a tunnel off of the hamster's cage and plugging it with a tunnel endcap for traveling as well.
For a short trip, your hamster won't need food or water, but you can put a small carrot, cucumber, or melon in the travel carrier in case your hamster gets a little hungry or thirsty; a water-based fruit or vegetable will help with hydration. You will also want to include a chew stick just to keep your hamster busy.
If you don't have someone to hold the carrier during the ride, stick it between the back and front seats so that if you have to make a sudden stop, the carrier won't go flying.
Tips for Transporting Hamsters on Long Car Trips
If you're moving or you have to take your hamster on a long car ride, you want to do everything that you can to reduce stress on your hamster. Depending on how long the ride is, you may want to use the hamster's regular cage for travel instead of a travel carrier. Wire cages are better because they allow for ventilation, but you'll want to put a sheet of cardboard between the seat and the cage so that the hamster can't nibble on your car seats. A plastic cage will prevent your seats from being eaten, but they can also get as hot as an oven when in direct sunlight.
You want to stock the cage with food, toys, chew sticks, and bedding. Don't leave the water bottle in the cage as it can leak while your hamster is drinking; you may hit a bump harming your hamster and you don't want that. Offer water at rest stops or while the car is fully stopped.
Never get your hamster out of its cage while traveling. They will be stressed and will definitely try to find a way to get away. Be considerate of loud music, screaming or fighting children, and any other disturbances. Your hamster will probably sleep while you're trying to drive during the day.
If you have to stay at a hotel overnight while in transit, bring the hamster inside. Most hotels won't even notice if you bring in a cage, so don't worry about finding a pet-friendly hotel. You may have to put the cage in a bathroom so that you can get a good night's sleep, but you never want to leave the hamster in the car overnight.
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Tips for Flying With a Hamster
If you're really taking a trip and you have to fly on a plane, you want to do your best at minimizing the stress. You're probably not equipped for shipping your hamster and his supplies, so take him on the plane with you. Pet cargo isn't the most ideal for your hamster because it'll be noisy and way too nerve-racking with the other pets and normal plane sounds. Plus, you just can't guarantee the temperature on the runway, baggage train, or in the cargo area; the temperatures may be too hot or too cold.
You will want to travel with your hamster with you as a carry-on. When getting on a plane with your hamster, you'll need a pet-approved travel carrier and maybe a medical certificate saying that the hamster is healthy and doesn't carry any diseases. You'll need to call the airline beforehand so that you can get any specifics before you show up with your hamster.
Consider Getting a Pet Sitter
Sometimes, it's just much easier if you get a friend or family member to babysit your pet hamster. It'll be one less thing to stress you or your pet. By getting someone to watch your hamster, his schedule and routine won't be disturbed.
In most cases, if you're just going on a weekend trip, then your hamster can stay by himself, but if you're staying for more than a weekend for a week or longer, you'll want to consider just getting a friend to watch your hamster. By calling around and finding someone to watch your hamster, you are doing the best thing for your hamster rather than taking them on your trip. Stress can easily stir up illnesses such as wettail, which can be fatal.
If you're able to find a pet sitter, you have two options:
- have the person come to your house to care for your hamster
- take your hamster and his entire setup to the person's house
Try to avoid taking the hamster to a pet boarding facility because the barking, bright lights, phones, slamming doors, and other noises will definitely stress out your hamster. Make sure that you give your sitter a written routine so that the stress on your hamster is reduced as much as possible. Consider feeding schedules, exercise, and cage cleaning routines.
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.
Sne on August 12, 2020:
Hello. I am travelling on a flight with my hamster and I can't seem to find these airline approved carriers anywhere, can someone please point me in the direction of what they even look like and is it still possible to travel in the cabin with the hamster. My airline doesn't seem know either
Angel cookies on July 03, 2020:
Hi again if you are going on a plane do you need a air line a pproved carrier for your hamster thanks again
Angel cookies on July 03, 2020:
Hi so where would you get the certifacate if its the vets will it need to be signed by the vetinarian for planes thanks
KEISHLA HERNANDEZ on October 23, 2018:
I AM GOING FOR A 16 HOUR TRAIN RIDE, I AM MOVING FROM NY TO FLORIDA AND I DONT KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF MY HAMSTER WITH ALL THIS
hammie the human on January 04, 2013:
@ santa i do not think you can do that. but if you can, it will probably cost a lot of money, here in america you can get them for 6 to 20 dollars. you don't have petstores there? try to find a hamster where you live, its not healthy to ship a hamster overseas
Lulu on July 19, 2012:
For Long Car Journeys
Another tip is to put the hamsters in the trunk of your car, with a towel underneath and a towel over the cage. The towel allows the hamsters to be in the dark and cool(er) temperatures, which they like, and which also helps them sleep. A must is to clean the cage RIGHT before you bring them, because it WILL smell in the car and your parents will not be happy :-)
I have experience taking hamsters on lots of long car trips (up to 12 hour trips, pretty much nonstop), and they are a little twitchy, but they will get used to it, especially if you bring their usual food and bedding with you.
jb on May 10, 2012:
Im going to stay at my nans fo a week what to do with my hampster im taking him with me but i need to pack his stuff
hammyhamster on April 12, 2012:
aw! it's so cute, but i dunno because i'm going on holiday for a week to Holland and was wondering if i could take my hamster on the train and all?
gabby on January 08, 2012:
what if u have 6 hamsters and u have no sitter what do i do?
RandomPerson:) on August 23, 2011:
You may want to have more tips to keep the hamster more comfey, but otherwise it was good information. That was to the websiye, by the way!!! Hamsters are the cutest animals ever and kittens!!!
hashimocco on June 04, 2011:
awwww!!! want to buy those cars for my jerry( my hamster) .... shoooooooo shweeeet!!!
Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 20, 2010:
You may have to have it approved for overseas travel. I'm not really sure.
santa on July 20, 2010:
but what if i want to buy a hamster overseas (say, america) and bring it back to my home (indonesia). what would i have to do?
Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on February 23, 2010:
Useful info but so cute. Those hamsters in cars. Lol so sweet