We all know the benefits we get from a relaxing vacation. These breaks can, however, come with some stress if we are leaving our pets at home. It doesn’t matter if you know they are in safe hands, you’ll still worry over how they are doing. How do you think they feel about it? Well, you just have to experience of the exuberant joy of a welcome-home from your dog or the nonchalant ‘I’m ignoring you because you left me alone’ attitude from your cat to know that they actually missed you too.
Why take a pet on vacation?
Most pet lovers don’t see their pets as just animals; they are valued and loved members of a family unit. There is no reason why you can’t take them on vacation with you. They’ll love going out of routine and spending more time with you. It can actually help them relax too. This won’t work with every pet of course. You won’t get much mileage out of taking your gerbil on vacation. Let’s face it, your gerbil won’t much care if you leave it at home as long as someone keeps its water and food topped up. A dog, or even a cat, however, could have a good time and traveling together could reduce your worry too. What kind of options do you have?
Pet-friendly places to stay
It used to be almost impossible to find hotels or bed and breakfasts that would take pets that weren’t service animals. Things really have changed and there are plenty of options, both at home and abroad. You may prefer to stay in a small bed and breakfast run by pet lovers for a home-from-home experience. It is also possible to stay in some hotel chains. Best Western, for example, has pet-friendly hotels which automatically accept up to two dogs per room. They’ll also accept other animals, such as cats, birds, monkeys and snakes in some locations with prior approval. It is worth asking even if a hotel doesn’t have a formal pet policy (especially if you want to stay in a suite hotel) as this is often up to the manager’s discretion. Keep in mind that you are likely to be charged a separate cleaning fee in most cases.
Flying with pets
If you are flying abroad, you may still be able to take your pet with you, but this needs some planning and a little more thought. Airlines may have restrictions on the types of animals you can bring with you – some dog breeds are no longer accepted by some carriers at all, for example. They may also not allow pets to travel on long-haul flights. A short domestic trip could see you travel with your dog or cat in a carrier in the cabin. In other cases, you have to book a pet in the hold. This can be a step too far for some owners.
Cruising with pets
Some cruise companies allow pets on board for shorter trips of, say, a couple of hours to a day. This is great for a short scenic cruise, but what if you hanker after a real cruise that lasts a week or even a few weeks? In the past, you might have assumed that this would mean leaving your dog or cat behind. There is, however, an alternative here – it is now possible to book pet-friendly cruises as detailed in this guide by Iglu Cruises. The main company that offers this is Cunard. Its flagship cruise liner, the Queen Mary 2, has actually run a ‘Pets at Sea’ service for years. This complies with global Pet Travel Schemes, a system that helps owners take their pets to different countries, covering issues such as vaccinations, pet passports and health certificates. This experience is geared towards keeping your pet happy and occupied while you kick back and relax. They can stay in a special, and fairly luxurious, kennel area where they are looked after (and, to be honest, pampered!) by their own Kennel Masters. Most importantly for your (and their) stress levels, you can spend time together every day.
Taking your pet on vacation can be good for your wallet as well as your anxiety levels. You may have some extra costs that you wouldn’t have to pay for if you traveled alone; these may not be as expensive as paying for a holiday kennel that you – and your pet – will be happy with.