Traveling With Your Pet: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid


Jason is an adventure travel writer with a passion for exploring the world's most beautiful and remote destinations.

Travelling with pets is hard. From navigating airports and keeping them safe on the road to recognizing potential dangers and keeping them cool in the heat, there is a lot to plan and prepare for. 

The upside is that traveling with pets is incredibly rewarding. Who doesn’t want to visit new places and make lasting memories with their best friend? 

If you’re thinking about going on vacation with your pet, this quick guide will show you five common mistakes pet owners make while traveling and how you can avoid them. 

Mistake 1: Choosing the Wrong Destination

confused puppy standing on sandy beach

Millions of people love traveling with their pets, so pet-friendly accommodation is becoming easier to find. However, that doesn’t mean all destinations are good vacations for pets. 

If you’ve got a pampered pooch that prefers the indoors, a hiking holiday with hilly, rocky terrain is probably not the best choice. 

Likewise, just because you find a pet-friendly hotel doesn’t mean the location is suitable. If your pet is used to colder climates, hot destinations are going to be overwhelming for them. 

“Western Australia is a great place to vacation with your dog. There are plenty of dog-friendly beaches, easy walking trails, and tons of cafes that welcome pets. Even during summer, the sea breeze keeps temperatures comfortable, which is great for dogs.” – Nadia Cuthbertson from Perth Weekend

Whether you’re planning on visiting Australia, Europe, or somewhere new in the States, here are the top considerations for choosing a pet-friendly destination:

  • Will the weather/temperature be safe for pets?
  • Is the terrain suitable for my dog?
  • Are there plenty of pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and cafes?
  • Are there any local dangers I should be aware of (e.g., poisonous plants, predators, etc.)?
  • Are there any local laws regarding pets that I need to follow?

Mistake 2: Not Considering Air Travel

Airports are stressful enough for us humans; now, picture it from your pet’s perspective. It’s unfamiliar, loud, and you’re stuck in a cage the entire time. 

If you’re planning on flying with your pet, there are some extra considerations you need to make that many pet owners overlook. 

Talk to your vet

You should never assume that your pet is fit to fly – always consult with your vet first to ensure your pet is healthy and fit for air travel. If your dog is on meds or has a health condition, it could make flying a no-go. 

Cabin vs. cargo hold

Some airlines allow small dogs to travel in the cabin, which seems like the better option. They get to sit with you, and you can keep an eye on them, right?

Actually, most dogs don’t do well in the cabin, especially if they have a short temperament. The cabin is loud, full of unfamiliar people and sounds, and they won’t be allowed to roam around (which they will want to do!). 

Although the cargo hold seems harsh, it’s usually a safer option for pets. Contrary to popular belief, cargo holds are temperature controlled, ventilated, and at the same pressure as the cabin. 

“If you’re traveling with a bird, it will need a spacious cage that’s large enough for it to flap its wings and stretch. Most airlines have specific requirements for bird cages, so check with your airline provider to avoid long waits at check-in.” – Dr. Daisy A. May from All About Parrots

Mistake 3: Not Planning Pet-Friendly Activities

Disappointed puppy not wanting to be in the cold hiking.

While you’re on vacation, you’ll want to make memories with your pet! Rather than trying to find pet-friendly activities once you arrive, plan an itinerary in advance so you can make the most of your time away. 

It surprises people to learn that many attractions allow pets (as long as they’re on a leash and well-behaved), so do some research and see if you can find local museums, play areas, and events that welcome furry companions. 

“Although you can’t take pets into theme parks at Disney, there are four pet-friendly hotels that have green spaces and outdoor walking trails for pets. You’ll even be greeted with a Pluto’s Welcome Kit!” – Michael L. Moore from Countdown to Magic

It’s frustrating arriving at your destination only to find that your pet can’t go places with you. But by planning a full itinerary in advance, you’ll ensure you have plenty of things to do with your pet while you’re away. 

Mistake 4: Having Unplanned Animal Encounters

No matter where you travel around the world, you’re going to encounter different animals and fauna that are unfamiliar to your pet. We love to let our pets explore, but it can be dangerous if you’re not careful. 

Interestingly, there are only a few plants native to Australia that are dangerous to pets, but they can be deadly, so it’s important to know what they are and what they look like. Acacia, Australian Ivy Palm, and Eucalyptus are the three most dangerous. 

“Did you know that Australia isn’t home to the most venomous animals? In fact, it’s Mexico, then Brazil, and then Australia. Although you’re unlikely to run into a Gila monster or an Inland taipan on your vacation, it’s always good to know what to look out for when you’re traveling with a pet.” – Alex vad der Walt from Animals Around the Globe

Mistake 5: Adopting a Pet While Traveling

Adopted mixed breed pup

Adopting a dog isn’t ever a mistake, but travelers tend to overlook the huge responsibility that comes with adopting a pet while away on vacation. 

In countless cities around the world, you’ll come across stray dogs that are hungry and in need of care. India has the largest stray dog population – about 62 million. 

But remember, dogs living on the street have a higher chance of carrying diseases, such as rabies, and could well be aggressive. If you do find a stray dog while traveling with your own pet, seek help from local shelters or authorities. Don’t put your own pup in danger. 

“We have a massive stray dog problem around the world. In Mexico, there are around 18 million stray dogs that have often been abandoned by their owners, so don’t know how to look after themselves. You’ll find inundated shelters with dogs looking for new homes around the world, so if you have the resources to adopt, you’ll make a lonely pup very happy.” – Dr Cheri Honnas from Bon Voyage Dog Rescue

If you do fall in love with a stray while traveling, you’ll have to pay for its medical bills, vaccinations, time in quarantine, and airfare back to the States. 

You’ll also be taking on the responsibility of training and acclimatizing your new dog to its new home. It can take some time for them to settle into a new home. 

Make sure you go through the right channels and always keep your pets safe around stray animals. 

Have a Great Vacation!

There is nothing better than traveling with your pet. We get them for such a short time that making memories with them is so important. 

No matter where you go, focus on being a responsible pet owner. Research the destination, plan for emergencies, and take everything you’ll need to keep your pet safe and happy on your travels. 

The better prepared you are for traveling with your pet, the better your vacation will be. 

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