The family vacation.
By: Nigel G. Worrall
It’s our long-awaited chance to relax with loved ones, spend time together, escape everyday stresses and enjoy some good old-fashioned family bonding. But more often than not, there’s one particular loved one who has to stay behind while the rest of the clan takes off for some sun and fun. That someone? The family pet.
As much as we love our cats and dogs, many of us have never even considered taking them on vacation – or if we have, we don’t really know how to plan a trip that includes them. Which is a shame, because taking your pet with you on vacation can save you a lot of money in boarding costs, not to mention the stress of worrying if your “best friend” is healthy and happy while you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Today more than ever, our pets really are part of our families. Shouldn’t they be able to join us on our family vacations too? In a word, yes. These days, it’s easier than ever to plan a vacation that includes the family pet. The secret is knowing a few simple tips to make sure your trip goes smoothly and everyone is happy.
These Eight Easy Tips will help you plan the ultimate pet-friendly family vacation – so give them a try when you’re getting ready for your next holiday.
TIP #1 DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
A pet-friendly vacation is not the kind of trip where you just throw Spot or Fluffy in the car and head off in the general direction of your destination hoping to find a motel when you get tired. Taking a trip with a pet takes some advance thought – even if you’re a die-hard, spur-of-the-moment kind of traveler. You’ll need to do a little research and maybe, yes, make a reservation. But don’t worry. The results will be worth it!
TIP #2 VISIT YOUR VET
Is your pet healthy enough to travel? Is Mr. Whisker’s flea-prevention up to date? Does Daisy get carsick, or have trouble sleeping in strange locations? Before you take your pet on vacation, take a drive to your veterinarian’s office to discuss any concerns you might have and make sure your best friend is in top shape before the trip.
TIP #3 SAY “I DO” TO I.D.
Imagine losing your dog or cat in a strange city. It can happen, which is why before taking your pet on any sort of trip, you need to make sure their I.D. tags are up to date. Ensuring that you can be contacted immediately if your pet is lost will make for a much more relaxing holiday for the entire family. It might also help to attach a temporary I.D. tag with contact information at your vacation accommodation.
TIP #4 PACK PROVISIONS
If you’ve ever taken a road trip with a baby or small child, you have some idea of what hitting the road with a dog or cat will be like. Traveling light is simply not an option when pets are involved. For the car ride itself, you’ll need plenty of water, as well as a dish to serve it in. Depending on the length of the drive, you may also need food – or at least some treats to make the time go by faster. Bring your dog’s leash, so you can break up the monotony of the drive with a brisk walk – and don’t forget the pooper scooper and bags to dispose of the waste!
If your pet sheds you may want to protect your upholstery with a blanket or some towels. This is also helpful to protect the leather interior from kitty’s claws. And if you use a pet carrier, don’t forget to pack it.
Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll want to make sure you have your pet’s favorite toys, blankets, a bed if it uses one, your pet’s regular food and a food dish, grooming utensils and any medication your pet either takes regularly or might need.
TIP #5 MAKE SURE THE SKIES ARE PET- FRIENDLY
If you’ll be traveling to your destination by plane, you’ll need to contact the airline to research its pet policies. How much will it cost to transport your pet? Can your pet travel with you, or will he need to make the trip in the cargo hold? Get answers to your questions well in advance so you can plan accordingly.
TIP #6 RESEARCH YOUR DESTINATION
Find out where there are parks and beaches in your vacation area that welcome pets – that way you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when you get there instead of poring over maps or the internet. If you’ll be spending the day away from your pet at an amusement park, look into local pet sitters or dog walking services to add to your pet’s comfort away form home.
TIP #7 BE A GOOD BOY (OR GIRL)
A pet is only as good as its owner – so do your part and look after your dog or cat, keep her out of harm’s way and away from things she shouldn’t touch. Make sure to clean up all messes and leave your accommodation ready for the next family to enjoy.
TIP #8 BOOK PET-FRIENDLY LODGING
This is probably the most important tip of them all. Because while it’s relatively easy to find accommodation that welcomes pets, finding a place to stay that is truly “pet friendly” is a different story.
There’s nothing pet-friendly about a cramped hotel or motel room that gives your entire family no room to move. Ditto accommodation located in the middle of a busy city or town center, where there are cars everywhere and little quiet space for you to take your best friend for a walk. Your family AND your pet deserve accommodation with room to spread out – especially if your pet likes to sleep outside – in a peaceful location.
One great choice – that you’ll find in the middle of a choice vacation spot – is to book a pet-friendly Florida Leisure Vacation Home, where you can find accommodations with all the comforts of your own home in the Orlando, Florida area. From their layout and amenities to their great locations, these homes are specially chosen to provide the very best in pet-friendly accommodation – check them out at this website with pet-friendly vacation rentals.
That’s really all there is to it. With a little planning – and the right accommodation choice – your next family vacation can include the entire family. Follow these simple steps and you can ensure a fun and relaxing vacation with your pet.
Follow these eight tips, and your trip with your pets will be exciting, memorable AND affordable. For more information about vacation homes, call 407 870 1600.