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Greetings from paw-adise: Planning a pet-friendly vacation
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Greetings from paw-adise: Planning a pet-friendly vacation

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Safely hit the open road with your favorite travel buddies.

Maybe you’ve quarantined with your pet and deepened your bond, or you’re just now adding a four-legged friend to your family. Either way, as we plan vacation time, the mere thought of leaving our pets behind can be disconcerting. So, bring them with!


You can find many pet-friendly hotels and restaurants to make it easier than ever to take your cat or dog along. Here are five tips to consider:

Make a plan

You may need to take a few extra steps to include your pets in your upcoming adventure.

Loop your children in for help making a list of the extra gear and supplies you will need, and researching pet-friendly options in your destination.

When making air travel plans, know that airlines can refuse your reservation if there are too many pets scheduled for a flight. Let them know as soon as you decide to include your pet in the travel plan.

Choose a direct flight when possible, to decrease the chances your pet will experience weather changes on the tarmac or rough handling during a flight connection transfer. And be sure your pet’s carrier is labeled with your contact information.

If you travel by car, pack your animal’s food, litter, waste disposal bags, leashes, toys, beds, medications and pet carrier. To be on the safe side, include notes regarding your pet’s medical history as well as your veterinarian’s contact information.

Do a practice round

If your dog or cat isn’t accustomed to car or plane travel, introduce them to a USDA-approved pet carrier well before your departure date. Toss a favorite toy or familiar object into the carrier and take a spin within familiar territory. Be sure the carrier is airline-compliant and sturdy enough to make the trip.

Keep moving

Just like at home, pets need exercise while traveling. On the road, make plenty of stops to allow every member of your family to stretch their legs and breathe fresh air. At your destination, include your pet in hikes, walks on pet-friendly beaches or visits to local parks.

Drink up and stay safe

Make sure your pet has access to clean, fresh water throughout your travels. Proper hydration is key to good health at home and on the road.

Temperature extremes can put your pet’s health at risk. Beware of leaving your favorite animal in a hot car, even with the windows open. During chilly weather, a car can get too cold for comfort.

Have fun

Enjoy this extra-special time with your family and pet. Take photos and include your cat or dog in your vacation photo album. Visit a local dog park, pet-friendly coffee shop or restaurant. It’s likely your pet will introduce you to new friends along the way.

Lynn O’Rourke Hayes is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer.  Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, via or

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