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Traveling with Your Dog: If you are looking for ways to vacation with your best friend, there is relief in sight in the US and even more so abroad:
Traveling with Your Dog: Pet-Friendly Lodging:
Our booking engine on the home page has over one million properties around the globe. In London alone, there are 242 pet-friendly options. It is easy to find places that take pets as guests. Be sure to check for fees, if any. The way to find them for each place? Go to the filters on the left side. Scroll down to Property Facilities, item 7: “pet-friendly”. Do ask if there are any rules or special offers for your “best friend.”
Traveling with Your Dog: Amtrak allows more dogs:
The national railway, Amtrak, is making it easier to travel with your pet. That’s the good news! The bad news? It is that the size and number of pets allowed are still limited. So don’t pack up your Great Dane’s roller-bag just yet.
The Amtrak link above primarily restates the existing stringent policies. For example, service animals have to serve a particular purpose. “Comfort animals” need not apply. Forget claiming your cat plays a mean “Ragtime”.
The new somewhat friendlier policies come with the following types of restrictions:
- Pet-travel is only available on certain specific trains.
- No First Class or Business Class for Fido even en route to Westminster!
- Pet travel maxes out at 7 hours direct or connecting.
- Only one pet allowed per customer and no more than 5 per train.
- Weight limit is 20 pounds including the carrier.
- Age and health restrictions apply.
- As always in our litigious 21st century, legal documents, such as indemnifications and releases, must be signed.
Traveling with Your Dog: Amtrak’s updated rules:
Having had 7 dogs as family members since my school days, I see the trickiest requirement:
“Pets must be odorless and harmless, not disruptive, and require no attention during travel. Amtrak maintains the right to refuse acceptance of or remove from the train any pet exhibiting these issues.”
I learned long ago the reason why (my) dogs bark at all the wrong times: for fun, for attention, for play time, for a walk or most importantly: Just because they like to hear the sound of their own voices. I have visions of being thrown off the train at the first stop or somewhere in between being left to try to reach call Uber or Lyft.
Traveling with Your Dog: Check the fine print!
However, for fellow pet-lovers looking for traveling together, Click here for the full updated rules!
My Personal Advice:
As a dog “mom” most of my life, I personally leave my brood at home with a trusted pet facility. In the past, I have had different at home dog sitters. The problem with that was that emergencies could arise where they needed to cancel to visit parents or sick relatives or for sudden vacation options. As a result, while it is more expensive, I found that a kennel in the countryside worked best for me. That way, I did not have to worry about personal issues causing a last minute cancellation. The latter would be a real crisis at holiday times and/or when I had booked an expensive trip abroad. Lastly, I was very careful to check the level of care that would be provided my pets. Key among this was whether a fenced in area safeguarded my pup from the danger of getting hit by aa car.
Consider the following:
- If you have two dogs, will they be better off in one joint run. (I found on return from one trip, my dogs had “vacationed” together so they would not be lonely. Unfortunately, there was a “dust-up”. My big dog bit the ear of the smaller dog. When it doubt, doggie solitude during vacation may be preferable.
- Be sure to pack enough of your pet’s food. There is nothing worse than underestimating. On return, you may find your dog has had to binge on a different diet, and they now are having gastro distress. For those or us city dwellers without a back yard, this means the need to get out the mop!
- Leave emergency vet contact information even for young dogs. I recommend also leaving a credit card with an amount and authority to treat in your absence.
- Be certain that you and your doggy caregiver can reach each other by phone, text and/or email when abroad.
- Be sure that your dog has an ID tag. (Better yet, if they have a microchip.) I have known of couples that went to pick up their sheepdogs. On one or more occasions, they discovered that as they drove away they had the wrong dog. Typically, this won’t happen since your pup will immediately react when they see you. While my sheared sheepdog was unidentifiable when I went to retrieve her, there was no mistaking as she wildly jumped up and down upon seeing me arrive! While I didn’t know “who” she was, she immediately knew me!
While I have known friends who said their dogs “went with them everywhere”, I have never felt that way. There are places that because of climate, disease or local concerns with dogs, this may not be safest for your pet. In addition, even in a doggy friendly locale or hotel, you may find that you have to leave your “best friend” behind when you go to restaurants or local beaches. Another factor to consider is whether travel to your destination is hard for your pet. If your dog is small, will he/she be able to travel comfortably under your seat without being stressed. (While even “comfort dogs” are currently being restricted, pets, themselves, are not finding greater flexibility in regulations.) If you have to place your dog in cargo, when you board the plane, remind the flight crew that there is a live animal below so that the air conditioning and/or heat can be adjusted. Lastly, be sure that your dog’s travel crate is security as pets have, at times, broken free and been lost at airports.
The bottom line? Plan for your pet’s safety and comfort ahead of your own desire to be on the road with your BFF!