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Roving with Rover? 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling with Your Pet

Small dog maltese sitting in the suitcase or bag wearing sunglasses and waiting for a trip
Written by Suzy Guese

This blog post was updated on April 5, 2023.

From poodles to Persian cats, traveling with your pet can be challenging. When you simply just can’t leave your beloved pup at home or you want your kitten to experience new places with you, you’re bound to make mistakes when hitting the road with your furry friends for the first time. Before you pack up the water bowls and squeaky toys, be sure you aren’t making these classic mistakes when traveling with pets.

You Don’t Make a Plan

Man with red backpack and small yellow dog sitting on a mountain and looking at sea horizon

Just as travel can be overwhelming for a person setting out for the first time, it can also be overwhelming for your pet. Your pet might be easygoing and low-key while at home, but getting them on the road is a whole different story. Travel can spook pets, especially if you’ve never traveled with them before. Whether you’re driving or flying, you need to be sure that they have time to get adjusted. Try going on on practice runs locally, such as day trips and long drives. That way you can see how your pet will react while you’re en route to your destination.

You Don’t Check the Hotel’s Fees and Restrictions

Traveling with dogs

Be sure to check out any fees and restrictions on pets that your hotel might have in place. You might just book a hotel that is advertised as pet-friendly only to show up and find that “pet-friendly” means forking over a pretty penny. Most hotels, even if they’re pet-friendly, will charge some sort of pet fee. These fees can vary. Some may include daily charges for every night of your stay. Others will require pricey deposits just to bring your four-legged friend.

Also, some hotels place restrictions on what types of pets they’ll allow. They may also have pet size requirements. Either way, you’ll want to check all of this beforehand. You don’t want to show up to your hotel with your new puppy only to find out that your puppy isn’t allowed.

RELATED: Flying With Fido? Pack These Travel Pet Accessories for Luxurious Trips

Your Pet Doesn’t Have a Clean Bill of Health

Cat sits inside pet carrier.

Most airlines won’t let you travel with pets if they don’t have a health certificate. This is usually issued by your veterinarian. To be sure your vet includes all of the proper information, check to see what your airline specifically requires. In most cases, these certificates are for pets who are going to be kenneled and checked on the plane. If you’re traveling with your pet internationally, be sure to research requirements specific to your destination. These requirements include immunizations, rabies certificates, and more.

You Book Your Hotel Room Last Minute

If you like flying by the seat of your pants or just book your hotel rooms on the fly, you’ll most likely run into issues when trying to find a room for you and your pet. While many properties are pet-friendly, they often only have a set number of pet-friendly rooms on site. If you don’t book in advance, they might not have any of these rooms available. To avoid being left out in the cold with your cat, be sure you book your hotel room well in advance.

Your Pet Lacks I.D.

man embracing his dog looking at camera at airport. Dog breed is Border Collie

At home, your pet might like to roam freely without a collar full of I.D. tags. But when you travel, not having an I.D. tag can lead to heart-breaking problems. Since travel can scare some pets, you don’t want to have your dog or cat bolt the second you get out at a rest stop. Also, if you haven’t already, now might be the time to microchip your pet. This can help someone identify you as the owner if your pet gets away.

You Don’t Have the Right Carrier

If you’re flying with your pet, your pet carrier has to meet certain guidelines. Before you run out and by the first carrier you see, be sure that it’s fit to fly. Even if you aren’t traveling by plane, you don’t want to take off on a road trip with a brand new carrier your pet has never seen. Your pet should get accustomed to the carrier well before your trip so that they’ll know it’s a safe place if they get stressed or scared in transit.

What mistakes have you made when traveling with pets? Share your stories with us in the comments below.

About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at