Traveling With Companion Animals
Plan to Make Your Vacation Worry-Free and Animal-Friendly
Whether you’re leaving the country, the continent, or just your city, a little bit of planning can go a long way in helping your trip go smoothly. We all want to relax during our time off from work, school, and other responsibilities, but it’s always important to be prepared to assist an animal in need—being away from home doesn’t take away your power to prevent suffering.
Know Your Destination
One of the best ways to be a compassionate traveler is to be aware of the animal mistreatment you may encounter during your travels. Some destinations, for example, are home to abundant abuse of animals or cruel live-animal markets. In some areas, the streets are rife with unwanted, abandoned, or sick stray animals. You can avoid fueling abuse by knowing ahead of time where you don’t want to spend your money, or keep an eye out for animals who need immediate help. Familiarize yourself with animal protection groups (WorldAnimalNet.org has an extensive list) that operate in that location so you’ll know where to report a problem.
Make Your Preferences Known
If you’re working with a travel agent to plan your trip, explain that you are interested in animal-free entertainment and vegetarian-friendly accommodations. Most agencies will work with you to tailor a trip to your exact specifications—it’s their job. You can make the planning as easy as pie by sharing our travel resources with your agent, who may not have worked with a “compassionate traveler” before. This will give the agent a better idea of your humane vacation vision. If you are participating in a group tour, ask for the itinerary ahead of time so you won’t get the unpleasant surprise of showing up to a bullfight or circus. You can also arrange to stay at a hotel or other facility that does not keep exotic animals captive to amuse gawking guests.
Traveling With Your Companion Animal
If you are taking your companion animals along on your vacation, please make sure that they are outfitted with identification—legible tags on collars, microchips, and tattoos can help other people identify animals who accidentally get separated from their families, and you should have a photo tucked in your wallet to show people who may have seen your little wanderer. Remember that many places are not as welcoming to animals as your home is, so contact the place where you’ll be staying ahead of time to verify that furry friends are allowed. For a sure thing, consult our guide to animal-friendly accommodations or TravelPets.com. Review our vacation tips to ensure that your animals will enjoy the trip too. If your travel is part of a permanent move to a new home, read our information on trouble-free relocation.
Your companions may want to follow you out the door every time you leave the house, but many animals aren’t suited for traveling. If your companion animals can’t join you on your jaunt, it’s important to ensure that they’ll be safe and happy at home, which means finding a reliable sitter. You can look up sitters in your area at PetsWelcome.com. Be sure to screen sitters carefully and ask for—and check—references.