How to Plan Your Next Vacation with Your Dog

Travel, last updated 11th, May 2017, ericagustafson

Planning and packing for a voyage by air can turn into quite a complicated process these days-- and if you'll be accompanied by your favorite canine companion, you will want to be prepared. There are many rules and regulations regarding dog carriers when it comes to traveling, flying and hotel requirements.

It’s especially important to know what they are so that our four-legged friend can be as comfortable and safe as possible on your trip.


Determine Your Pet's Travel Needs - Before you rush out to buy a dog carrier or crate for travel, it's essential to make a plan. Will your dog be traveling with you in the car, plane or train? Will he/she be riding in the cabin, car cargo? The size of your dog will most likely determine the answer to this question. If your dog is very small, the possibility that the airline, train or hotel will allow your dog to accompany you is probably do-able. Never assume that your dog will be allowed in-cabin or to stay with you at your 4 star hotel; call to verify your hotel reservations and confirm your pet has an approved stay. Make sure to pack plenty of food, toys and bones for your pet so he/she doesn’t disturb any of the other hotel guests, the last thing you want is to hear a knock on the door from security informing that you can no longer stay at their hotel because of your barking dog.

Airline Travel:


In-Cabin Carriers - For in-cabin travel, a soft carrier is what you will need to safely contain your pet. The IATA (International Air Transport Association) requires that the carrier must be large enough for your pet to lie down, stand, turn around, and stretch. The carrier must also be able to fit under the seat in front of you-- if it can't be easily stowed away under the seat, your dog will most likely be deemed too large for in-cabin travel. That's why it's very important to have accurate measurements and verify your pet's needs with your airline. The soft carrier should be made of waterproof nylon and with mesh sides for proper air flow allowing your pet to breathe comfortably. Make sure the bottom of the carrier is lined with a moisture resistant material in case of any accidents your pet may have while traveling.


Traveling with the Right Carrier or Crate - The IATA and commercial airline companies don’t recommend a particular brand of carrier or crate-- they simply require that it fits within their guidelines. Compare brands online and read customer reviews to help you determine which carrier or crate will be best for your pet. If you are unsure after researching the brands available, ask your dog's veterinarian if he or she could recommend a particular model.

Whether your dog will be with you in cabin or separate in cargo, be sure the carrier or crate is labeled with your dog's name, your name, and your contact information. Also be sure to display required health information and certificates on the outside of the crate-- consult with your veterinarian, airline, and government agency of your destination to determine what documents you will need to display.


Hotel Accommodations:

Well before your hotel stay, it's very important to verify and confirm the rules and regulations in place regarding canine hotel stay requirements. Regulations may change and it's better to learn of these changes well in advance so that you are adequately prepared. Each hotels guidelines and rules will be different. Generally, the 4-5 star hotels have strict specifications when it comes to animal stay-- know what to expect ahead of time to ensure a hassle-free vacation for you and your dog.

You and your dog's well-being is of the utmost importance when traveling and staying in a place that is, well – not home. Traveling may take your dog out of his/her comfort zone, taking the time to pack the right toys and treats for your dog will help for a smooth and more pleasurable vacation.

I, Erica Gustafson am a freelance writer and consultant for Expedia. I have traveled to many countries and most recently I brought my Dachshund with her to India as my dog sitter was on vacation. Only certain hotels in India allow dogs to visit and stay in the rooms, find out which hotels allow pets before traveling to India.