Sign in

The Essential Pet Travel Checklist

Taylor Machuca-Koniw
The Essential Pet Travel Checklist

If you’re like the majority of pet owners, you regard your pet as one of the family! And as such, a family vacation or weekend holiday isn’t complete without your furry companion. The problem is, travelling with pets can be a bit of a challenge. From finding pet-friendly destinations to making sure your pet remains safe and comfortable along the way. You and your pet can breathe a sigh of relief. This article is your go-to guide for travelling with your pet and includes essential tips and checklists for easy, stress-free, pet-friendly travel!

Before you leave

Before you book that holiday, you need to make sure that we’re you’re going is pet-friendly. It’s no good booking accommodation then later finding out they don’t accept pets or that the local parks and attractions don’t allow dog or animals! 

Luckily, there are plenty of pet-friendly destinations with more and more places catering for pet holidays. From Airbnb rentals to pet-friendly caravan parks and boutique hotels, a quick search online will turn up thousands of destinations where you can take your pet on holiday!

Pet travel checklist

Before leaving:

  • Take your pet to their vet for a general health check-up and get them up-to-date with vaccinations
  • Book your pet in for a professional wash/grooming
  • Keep your vet’s contact details handy in case you need to quickly obtain advice while away
  • Consider getting pet insurance just in case anything happens while away
  • Feed your pet before you leave
  • Lay out seat covers and prepare your pet seatbelt/dog car harness if travelling by car
  • Fill a large bottle with fresh water and pack that in the car with a dish for water breaks along the way
  • Pack a ziplock bag full of your pet’s favourite treats to have along the way
  • Take your pet’s favourite toy in the car with you or in their crate to keep them comfy during the trip
  • Have a toilet break before hopping into the car

Pet travel bag:

  • Pet medications (e.g. flea and tick control, heartworm pills)
  • Documents including pet insurance, microchip registration etc.
  • Pet bed, kennel or carrier
  • Leash/walking harness
  • Poo bags for cleaning up after your pet/litter box/portable toilet mat
  • Can opener (to open pet food cans)
  • Stain remover/cleaning supplies
  • Pet brush and grooming tools including shampoo (if a longer stay)
  • Towels
  • First aid kit
  • Pet dishes/bowls
  • Pet toys for indoor and outdoor play (Kong, balls, chew toys, cat teaser wand, etc.)

Pet food/snacks:

  • Enough wet and dry food to last the length of the trip (plus extra just in case)
  • Pet treats
  • Bottled water

While travelling

If you’re travelling with your pet by car, make sure you schedule in plenty of stops for bathroom and water breaks and for your pet to get a chance to stretch their legs. Along the way, keep a close eye on your pet. Dogs who are used to road travel may have no issues at all except for boredom! Cats on the other hand, may not be used to travelling. If you’ve made their crate/environment as comfortable as possible with their bedding and favourite toys then they should settle down after a while.

There are different ways to travel with pets – including by car, train, plane, bus and ferry. Make sure you have done your preparation and have checked the route/requirements of your chosen mode of transport. For example, if you’re travelling by plane make sure to review the airline’s pet policy in advance. Some airlines allow you to bring a small pet in a crate or carrier as carry-on inside the cabin. It’s generally advised not to put a pet in cargo unless absolutely necessary due to safety and stress reasons.

Another priority during travel is to ease pet anxiety. Some pets may be good travellers, and if that’s the case for you then great! Otherwise, you may need something more than a snack or toy to calm your pet’s nerves. Firstly, it’s best to discuss with your vet the best approach for your indiviudal pet. Some non-evasive measures to calming stressed pets while travelling include:

  • Cat calming treats
  • Travel spray for dogs
  • Calming spray for cats

And if your pet is prone to travel sickness, there are natural remedies you can purchase from your vet or local pet store. 

At your destination

You made it! Hopefully everyone had a comfortable and safe trip. Once you have arrived at your destination, there are some things you can do to make your stay more enjoyable:

  • Set up a dedicated toilet area and show your pet where they can go
  • Set up your pet’s bed. Try to keep their sleeping arrangements as familiar as possible. If they share your bedroom at home, then place their bed in the bedroom.
  • Set up your pet’s food and water dishes
  • Let your pet ease into their new environment by allowing them to sniff, snoop and explore
  • Ensure all escape routes are blocked off, gates/doors are locked etc. 
  • Get familiar with your destination’s travel handbook/guidebook and familiarise yourself with any of their rules (for example, most pet-friendly hotels require your pet to be on a leash when walking through common areas)

Now that you’re on holiday with your pet, it’s time to explore! Research some local attractions including parks and dog-friendly beaches where you can visit with your furry companion. And even though you’re on holiday, keeping your daily schedule similar to your normal at-home routine will help your pet feel more comfortable while away. Have a similar wake-up routine and evening wind-down to prep your pet for bed. Happy travels!

Taylor Machuca-Koniw
Zupyak is the world’s largest content marketing community, with over 400 000 members and 3 million articles. Explore and get your content discovered.
Read more