Preparing for Holiday Travel with Pets

Your pet is part of your family—and the last thing you want to do when traveling to visit family over the holidays is leave a member behind.

But while your feelings on the matter may be simple, traveling with pets in tow often isn’t. No matter how you’re getting from point A to point B, there are a number of guidelines, regulations, and fees to prepare for.


Consider these tips to make your trip more enjoyable for both you and your pet:


Before You Leave
A few weeks prior to a trip is a great time to take your pet to the veterinarian for a checkup. This is a perfect time to make sure your pet is in optimal health.

If your pet takes any medications regularly, be sure you have enough to last the full trip. If not, request a refill from the vet during your appointment. This is also a good time to make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations, so that s/he is protected against anything s/he might be exposed to while traveling.

And if your pet has not yet been microchipped, get onto it now–microchipping dramatically increases the likelihood of being reunited if your pet bolts out of the car or hotel door.


On The Road
If you’re taking your pet with you on a car trip, one of the first things to consider is how comfortable your pet is while driving. There are ways to help pets who don’t love a long ride get more comfortable in the car in the weeks before the trip.

ASPCA recommends feeding anxious dogs one meal a day in the car in the weeks leading up to your big trip, and going for several short rides together. If your pet exhibits signs of carsickness such as vomiting, trembling or drooling, mention it when you visit the veterinarian—they may be able to ease the symptoms with medication.

And don’t forget, a tired pet is a content pet—give your pet plenty of exercise prior to the drive to reduce anxiety, barking, and other problem behaviors.

Once you’re on the road, don’t let your pet wander the care while you drive; it’s a lot safer for you both if your pet is securely fastened in the back seat with a harness or crate.

You can help your pet get comfortable by bringing blankets and toys that are familiar and stimulating—kongs and other puzzle toys can be great for dogs. You should take a break to let your pet relieve him/herself and get some exercise at least every four hours while on the road.

Never leave a pet in a hot or cold car alone—the conditions inside a car in these temperatures can be life-threatening.


In The Air
Before flying with a pet, it’s important to be aware of the various rules and restrictions. The Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration all have regulations you must follow when flying with a pet. If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll also have to comply with rules from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the International Air Transport Association.

Don’t forget the the airline you’re flying on, too—each airline will have different requirements for crates, weight limits, and more. Be sure to look up airlines’ pet travel rules before booking tickets to make sure you are able to comply.

Most airlines’ availability for pets on a flight are very limited, so book at least six weeks ahead to avoid complications. A few days before your flight, call and confirm that everything is in order for your pet’s travel.

Flying is not considered an ideal way to fly for most pets. Never let your pet travel with the baggage, always take your pet on board with you in a carrier. Furthermore, consider anything that might make your pet especially vulnerable while flying—the American Humane Association recommends against bringing puppies or kittens, pets that are sick, or pets that are pregnant onto a plane.

Animals with “pushed-in faces” (think pugs, bulldogs, Persian cats) are at high risk of breathing problems while flying, and many animal advocate groups urge owners not to bring these pets on flights. Some airlines won’t even let them on board.


In The Hotel
When taking your pet to a hotel with you, always double check its policies and fees—that means calling the hotel itself, not just checking a website. Even pet-friendly hotels often have limits on what types of pets it accepts, and their own policies on pet-related fees. The last thing you want is to show up only to find out that your pet isn’t allowed, or to get hit with a massive fee you aren’t prepared for.

While you’ve got a hotel representative on the line, you may want to ask about the condition of the hotel’s pet-friendly rooms as well. Some hotels only allow pets in smoking rooms. If that’s going to bother you, ask before booking. Call again a few days ahead of your reservation to confirm it, and remind the hotel that you have a furry friend coming along.

To help your pet feel at ease in the hotel room, bring things such as favorite toys and blankets that will smell like home and keep your pet entertained. Most importantly, bring your pet’s crate. Dogs, cats and many other pets feel their crate is a safe place, so keep it open for them to rest in as they wish.

And always put your pet in a crate when leaving them alone in the room. Even the most well-behaved pet may act unpredictably in a new environment. 


Furry Friends Welcome
While traveling with a pet can be more complicated, that’s no reason why you and your pet can’t have a smooth trip. If you hate to leave your pet behind over the holidays, there’s plenty of pet-friendly options available.

Just be sure to plan ahead, know the requirements, and bring plenty of food, toys and anything else your pet might need.

Family Travel Shirts

Matching family t-shirts for vacations are not just for TV show families like The Simpsons or The Brady Bunch. More and more families and groups are opting to wear matching shirts when travelling for the following reasons:



When traveling in busy cities or theme parks, kids and adults in the group are more likely to stay within the group and not get lost. Wearing matching t-shirts enhances the visibility of your family making it easier for the children to spot you, and for you to keep an eye on them. It’s also easier when trying to do a head count as you can easily spot the members of your travel group. In the event that someone does get lost, it’s also great to be able to describe what the family member is wearing – if you have matching t-shirts, you can simply show tour guides or resort staff your own t-shirt so they know what to look out for. If you are wearing matching t-shirts for safety reasons, you might want to consider ordering your t-shirts in a bright or fluorescent color, so that each member of the travel party stands out as much as possible.



Whether you are travelling as a family, as part of a sports team, sorority or other group, wearing matching shirts will help each person to bond as a group and will maximise the fun! If you are travelling as part of a sports team or group, you may want to consider having your team name printed on the back of each shirt, along with individual names or numbers to represent each member of the group.



Matching shirts can be a really fun way of preparing for your trip. Those who have planned fun family vacations in the past will know how difficult it is to get through that period in-between booking and planning for your vacation, and actually leaving for it. Matching t-shirts are a fantastic way to enhance that limbo period and get everyone excited about the trip while the wait is on! Creating your matching t-shirts will also help to pass the time while you wait for your vacation, as you shop for your shirts, or work on the design for them.



Matching shirts are a fantastic way to remember your vacation for years to come, and make a sentimental, memorable keepsake that you can keep and wear over and over again. If the vacation is in celebration of an event such as an anniversary or family reunion, then putting the name of the event and the date on the shirt will also help to commemorate the event, and can then be worn on following anniversaries of the date as a way of honor the occasion and remembering the fun of the past trip.



Lastly, one of the best reasons for wearing matching shirts is for photographic purposes. In the digital age, most people make photos a priority on vacation, ensuring that they snap lots of great pictures to share with their social networks and to help them remember the trip in years to come. Matching t-shirts are a terrific way to ensure that everyone on the trip is color co-ordinated, and that nobody’s clothing will clash in any pictures. Matching t-shirts are also a great way to clearly see who is on the trip in a printed photo, especially when photos are being taken in crowded places.