Pets Travel

The Comprehensive Pet Travel Guide

Learn How You can Travel Safely by Car, Airplane, Ship or Train

With pet travel and pet-friendly businesses catering to animal lovers at an all-time high in America there’s never been a better time to hit the open road with your furry friend in tow.  However, before you head out, you want to consider what is the most comfortable and low-stress method of travel for your pets. As a pet parent you’ll want to associate pet travel with a lot of positive reinforcement, love and treats. Otherwise, your pets will howl and hiss every time you take out your suitcase. This pet travel guide will cover how you can easily prepare for any upcoming trip.

Car Rides / Road trips 

Air Travel

Ship Trips

Train Rides

car pet travel

Car Travel

Plan a route

Be prepared  to take a 15 – 20 minute break every 4 hours. This will allow your smaller pets to relieve themselves on a regular schedule, as well as give them an opportunity to stretch their paws.

Watch the weather

Did you know that many pets become stressed during events like thunderstorms and fireworks during  the 4th of July? As a result, be sure to review the upcoming weather patterns and try not to travel during a thunderstorm or any other natural disasters. If you want car rides with your pet to be associated as a fun activity in the long term, be sure to steer clear of those cloudy skies.

Bring their Favorite Crate

If you’ve already trained your pet, they probably have a comfy bed or crate that they love more than any other. Be sure to pack their crate with some comfy bedding. Some bigger dog breeds may require a special lift gate for safe back seat car travel. Conversely, if you are traveling with a cat you want to make sure that they are crated throughout your road trip.

Pack a Bag with the following items: 

A Leash


Chews and Treats

Food & Food Bowl

Car Booster Seats (for smaller dogs) 

Poop Bags

Litter Box

Car Seat Cover

Bottled Water

Cat with Pet Passport Pet Travel

Air Travel

Bring an approved Air pet travel Crate

Soft shelled crates that are collapsible are currently not approved by the TSA. Instead, opt for a hard shell case to keep them safe during the flight. That way your pet is protected in case anything heavy shifts toward them during the flight.

Your pet must be at least 8 weeks old

Prepare documents and be prepared to present your pet’s health certificate during the check in process

Get to the Airport Early

Flying with your furry loved one could add another 1 – 2 hours of pre-flight time to your travel itinerary. As a result, give yourself more than enough time to check both you and your pet’s into the airport well before your flight takes off.

Check the TSA’s website for updated information

The rules and regulations of the airways change rapidly. You may want to take a peep at the TSA’s website to see if there are any restrictions on flying with certain breeds and what areas you can’t travel to with your pet.

Food and Food Dish

While pet travel may seem like a complicated process, it has become increasingly more popular over the last several years.  Just be sure not to forget the basics. Make sure to pack your pet’s food dishes in your carry-on and be sure to feed, hydrate and relief them before and after their plane ride.


beach day pet travel

Boat Travel

Bring and sunscreen

Humans aren’t the only ones that need to put on some sunscreen before heading to the beach. The risk of sunburn and skin cancer is increased if your pet doesn’t have sunscreen applied. Dogs that are most likely to be susceptible are dogs with white coats, hairless dogs, and dogs with light colored fur.

Consider switching to a harness

Depending on if you are taking your pet on a cruise ship or a speed boat you will probably want to play it safe and not use a collar while on the boat. That way, if they should fall or slip across the boat they won’t run the risk of breaking their neck.

Get a life jacket

While it’s true that our pup’s have a swimming technique named after them, it would be prudent to pick up a dog life jacket to pack in your pet travel kit.

Get a Potty Pad or Potty Grass

This tip is vital if you are thinking about going aboard a boat for an extended period of time. Given that your pet won’t have the ability to find a nearby patch of soft grass to relieve themselves on, you will need to dedicate a space on your vessel for your pet to do their duty.

Bring fresh water

Even though you and your pet will be surrounded by water, you do not want to encourage your pet to drink any salty or dirty water. Depending on the size of your dog, bring enough water to sustain your pets throughout your aquatic escapades.


dog on train pet travel

Train Travel

Contact the train operator first to make sure that you will be permitted to bring your pet.

For instance, Amtrak does not allow for pets unless they are service dogs. However, some smaller train travel providers allow for smaller pets in carriers. Sorry, bigger dogs!

Updated health records are needed.

As with most other commercial transportation options, you will need to provide updated health records for your pets.

Consider getting a rolling pet carrier.

If you plan on doing some additional traveling once you arrive, having a easy to transport pet carrier will be a life save. This pet carrier has the ability to be used as a backpack, a tote and even a car seat. This accessory is versatility at its finest. Check out the video below:

Pack a Bag with the following items: 

A Leash

Chews and Treats

Food & Food Bowl

Poop Bags

Litter Box

Bottled Water

Make sure that the lodging at your destination is ‘pet-friendly’

Be sure to call ahead and just ask if the hotel that you’re staying at will accommodate your cuddly tag along? Trust me, you don’t want to find this out when you show up at the hotel after a long day of travel. Although, if your pet is authorized to ride the train with you, it can be a lot of fun. Since your pet can sit close to you during the trip, it can be one of the least stressful travel methods on this list.

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patrick jonesMichelle Corriveau-CarlinoDanielle McKee Recent comment authors
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Danielle McKee
Danielle McKee

I travel all the time, after reading this, it doesn’t seem to hectic to travel with my furry little friend.

Michelle Corriveau-Carlino
Michelle Corriveau-Carlino

Great tips.. Less stress is besy when traveling with our furkids.

patrick jones
patrick jones

i try to not travel with pets, usually have enough of my own things to deal with vs adding more to my list!