Dog in a car

Summer Pet Travel Tips- The ABCs

Summertime means vacation…and TRAVEL! After being cooped up last year, more of us than ever are hitting the road or flying the friendly skies to enjoy a little rest and relaxation away from home this summer. Whether it’s flying with Fluffy or driving with Daisy, we have some summer pet travel tips to make your journey as easy as ABC!


A Is for Air Travel Policies & Restrictions

Before booking your tickets, contact the airline you’ll be flying with to find out about their pet policy.  This includes looking into any specific restrictions/requirements or summer “blackout” dates that might affect/prevent pet travel or completing any necessary paperwork or obtaining health certificates that might be required in advance (sometimes even 2-4 weeks).  You don’t want to show up at the terminal on departure day with Luna or Wrigley and have to be turned away!

Other air travel tips include:

  • Book early, as cabin space for pets can be extremely limited.
  • Try to leave a few days before/after the holiday rush.
  • Avoid layovers and book direct flights if at all possible.
  • Consider an early AM or red-eye flight when temperatures are cooler and fluctuate less.

B Is for Booking Your Hotel, Campsite or Vacation Rental


When booking your summer campsite, hotel, or house rental, make sure to confirm that their pet policy is up-to-date on the website or booking site.  Make sure you also know about any potential weight/breed restrictions, pets-per-room limits, or a list of pet rules for the property.

Other accommodation-related tips include:

  • Book ASAP- hotels usually have a limited number of pet-friendly rooms that can go fast during the summer travel season.
  • House rentals often require a non-refundable pet deposit or cleaning fee, so make sure to read the fine print.
  • Ask about any areas on the property that are off-limits or “leash required” for pets.

C Is for Car Safety Tips

If you want to help make your pet’s car ride more enjoyable and less stressful, plan and prep before your summer road trip so that you’ll have a successful journey. 

If your pet hasn’t spent much time in the car, start out by taking them on a few short drives leading up to the trip.  With each car ride, try to make it a little longer than the one before.  That way, when you hit the open road, your pet will be ready for an extended period of riding in the car.  Don’t forget to reward their good behavior with treats and positive reinforcement! 

Additional summer pet travel tips for trekking by car include:

  • Map out your drive so you know where regular “pit stops” will be available for your pet so that they can get out, stretch their legs, and do their “business”.
  • Avoid feeding pets one hour prior to your road trip to prevent motion sickness.
  • NEVER let your pet roam free in the car.  For the safety of your pet, use a carrier/crate that is properly secured or a harness restraint designed specifically for pets.
  • NEVER leave your pet unattended in a car. Even at temperatures as low as 70 degrees, a car interior can heat up to dangerous levels for pets.

Regardless of how you travel to your summer destination, make sure your travel pet checklist includes:

  • ID tags & vaccination information
  • Litter box/poop bags
  • Food (enough for two extra days), water, and treats
  • Water/Food bowls
  • Regular medications
  • Leash and collar/harness
  • A pet first-aid kit
  • A few favorite toys

***Don’t Forget- Make sure your pet’s up to date on vaccines and in good health before heading off on vacation.  If you’re unsure about anything, make sure to contact your pet’s veterinarian, and if necessary, book an exam prior to your travel date to make sure everything checks out from head to tail.  Happy trails and enjoy your summer adventures!