The good news is that we are experiencing the golden age of pet-friendly travel.
Mar 25, 2021 at 7:30 AM in Just for Fun
Before lining up lodging for you and your pet, the Map Geek suggests you read Traveling with Pets Part One: Hitting the Road. There’s no point in booking a stay somewhere if traveling there is going to be a bust. Sometimes, however, you must travel. What if you have to relocate halfway across the country? So if you have a pet, read on because you never know when you might have to pull up roots and find a cozy place to sleep along the way.
If you’re considering taking your pet on a vacation with you, think first. Does your cat or dog adjust well to new surroundings? Does your pet have separation anxiety? How well behaved is your kitty or pup? How much are you able to relax when you have your pet in tow? Would you be more stressed leaving your beloved at home or bringing him or her with you on your travels? There’s so much to ponder.
Lining up the right lodging might be a factor in considering whether or not you bring your pet along. Do your research and find a good place for you and your faithful companion. The good news is that we are experiencing the golden age of pet-friendly travel. And that’s not just for Goldens (although they are some of the best-loved dogs around). When planning your travels, you’ll discover lots of pet-friendly places of lodging but know that pet friendly takes on different meanings at different places. Pet friendly is a broad brushstroke of a term, so you’re going to need to pick up the phone and start chatting with the hotels. In the case of rentals such as airbnb, you’ll likely do a lot of messaging.
First thing to know is that the term pet friendly typically means dog friendly. Many places that are supposedly pet friendly don’t allow cats, presumably due to their dander. That’s certainly a bias because lots of people are allergic to dogs as well but that might be a tough one to take to the Supreme Court. (One can only hope that cats' day will come!)
Keep in mind also that if a place of lodging is not marked as pet friendly that does not mean that they won’t make exceptions. This canespecially be the case with small, family-run hotels and rentals. (All you need is to find a feline-friendly person that really wants to fill their hotel room or rental. This is especially the case during off-peak times and also if you present yourself as a very responsible pet owner.) Some places might be so delighted with opening their doors to you that they won’t even ask for a pet deposit. The Map Geek has had this experience with airbnb so remember, it never hurts to ask.
Pet deposits vary as much as dog breeds at a Westminster Dog Show. There, too, it’s best to shop around because it’s not always necessary to pay exorbitant amounts for the privilege of having your pet stay with you. Often, in fact, particularly high fees indicate a lower level of enthusiasm that the establishment might have for lodging pets. Sometimes this fee covers all kinds of amenities such as doggie bowls and beds, special treats and even dog-walking services. (Once again the anti-discrimination case for cats needs to be pleaded at kitty court.)
When communicating with a place of lodging, be sure to ask all kinds of questions to find out about how accommodating the establishment is to you and your pet. What is provided for them in the rooms? How about in the public spaces? Is there an outdoor deck available to pets? What about nearby green space or dog walking/sitting services? You can also take the opportunity to ask about what the pet-friendly scene is like near the place of lodging. Maybe there’s a nearby brew pub, for example, where you and your pet can while away some time, sipping a cold and frosty on the patio. How about outdoor recreation? Try to pick a spot where you and your pooch can take some great walks. Remember that it should be a vacation for both of you.
For both dogs and cats, you’ll want to pack some familiar items, including beds, toys, food and water bowls and anything else that will help them settle into new surroundings. You might also want to bring some heavy throws to place on the bed and furniture; these not only bring in a familiar scent but they can also serve as protection against possible accidents. (This is, of course, easier on a road trip when you pack your vehicle to the max.)
Cat travel is not only possible but it also can be most enjoyable. The Map Geek has traveled with her cats many times (a few times with both) and they have brought both comfort and amusement to the trip. Despite popular belief, many cats adjust well to new surroundings and it’s super fun to watch them explore. They, like dogs, can also help us relax when we’re stressed out from travel or other circumstances.
The litter box component is extremely important when traveling with cats because they can be crazy particular about where they do their business. The Map Geek usually travels with a small amount of kitty litter and either a small plastic bin or a cardboard box with a plastic bag, both of which can provide a good litter box setup. Once, however, when my bag was especially stuffed, I left out the litter and thought I could just substitute it with shredded newspaper until I was able to run out and purchase the goods. (Traveling with litter can be onerous, particularly since it always sends up a red flag at airport security.) Well, that was a mistake that the Map Geek will never forget.The poor
kitty turned and sniffed a gazillion times over in the box and refused to go. The plane had arrived later than expected and all of the stores in the little resort town were closed. Although supposedly full of understanding, the staff was not able to produce a single grain of rice, a sometimes suitable replacement for kitty litter, in this luxurious property where the kitchen had already closed. Kitty and mama only half slept for a handful of hours until this bad mama woke up at 6am, took a shuttle into town to be at the grocery store for its 7am opening. And, of course, as soon as the real stuff was poured into the litter box, the kitty scratched a few times and relieved himself. Mon dieu, the perils of travel.
So let that anecdote serve as a lesson for you and your pets: always be prepared.
For newbie traveling-with-pets peeps, you might want to do a dry run before you leave for an extended stay. And yes, camping poses a whole new set of circumstances to consider.
Most of all though, be mindful that you always need to take responsibility for your actions and those of your pets. Don’t leave your cat or dog in your hotel room if he or she is going to yowl once you’re halfway down the hall. And above all, if there is any kind of damage, be
It’s important to remember that we should act like ambassadors when we travel and so should our cats and dogs. Most fortunately are a delight.
For more tips about traveling with cats, check out this story.
Check out Smarter Travel and The Dog People for more information on how to travel with your dog.