Planes, trains, automobiles…or Santa’s sleigh? No matter what mode of travel you pick this holiday season, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re taking your dog along for the ride. Here are some helpful tips and “tricks” to keep your furry family member happy and safe during the busiest most wonderful time of the year!
Most travelers opt for hitting the road during the holidays. With an estimated 55 million travelers driving to their destination this Thanksgiving, and another 97 million during this Christmas season, that’s a lot of humans on the road! This Thanksgiving, we have some major storms throwing us a curveball too, so plan accordingly and give yourself the gift of time. If traveling by car, be sure to leave wiggle room in your schedule to make pitstops for your dog’s bathroom and playtime needs. Make a list of dog parks along your route, and bring along the essentials like waste bags, water, food, treats, bowls, and a sturdy collar/harness and leash. Keeping an eye on your dog when in a strange territory is a must since they will be excited by the new sights and smells. Also, if you happen to breakdown in inclement weather, make sure you have plenty of blankets for your pet, and a suitable coat so he can look fly in his holiday best and be practical at the same time.
This year, major airlines have toughened their policies on pet and service animals because of the increase in misbehaved comfort animals. Check ahead with your particular airline for their current rules. Generally speaking, dogs under 20 lbs. can travel in the cabin with you in an approved carrier under the seat in front of you. Dogs weighing more than 20 lbs. must be crated and ride below in the cargo section. Also, unless you are traveling with a documented service animal, there will be a fee of around $75-$150 round trip. A few other considerations when traveling by plane include registering your animal ahead of time and pre-flight paperwork, checking in at the desk vs. online, and picking up your pet at an alternative location if he flies in cargo hold.
Bring some treats for your dog to choo-choo! Er, chew, chew! Traveling by train is a wonderful way to get from Point A to Point B. Much like planes, animals under 20 lbs. are welcomed aboard inside a carrier that can fit under the seat in front of you. Trains have a few specific rules that need to be adhered to for a smooth ride. These include one pet per person, the train ride must be 7 hours or less, the cost is approximately $25, and your pet must be at least 2 months old. There are other restrictions as well for traveling with an animal on weekends and holidays. So, don’t get left at the station unprepared; check ahead first to make sure you’re on the right track.
If you are lucky enough to travel by Santa’s Sleigh, we have absolutely no advice for you except to have fun and that we’re super jealous. Please tell the big guy that the employees at Up Country and their pets were extra good this year!
PLACES TO STAY
If you are fortunate to have a host that will accommodate your pet, then get them a meaningful hostess gift! Also, bring your pet’s essentials and respect the boundaries of your host’s home and yard. A pressure-mounted gate or playpen are easy to set-up and will keep your pet in the areas deemed appropriate by your host. Travel crates are great too in creating a safe space for your dog amongst the holiday hustle and bustle. If you have to make other accommodations, here’s a great search tool for pet-friendly hotels in the area where you’ll be staying: https://www.expedia.com/g/rg/pet-friendly-hotels. And our friends at Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants welcome your furbabies too!
Here’s a helpful packing list with links to make sure your trip is smooth sailing: