The holidays are here and for many, this means holiday travel to visit loved ones around the country. If your planning to be away from home for a long period of time, you may be considering bringing your furry friend along for flight rather than pay for boarding or a pet sitter. Unfortunately, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel has also affected pet transportation. Before you book your ticket, consider these five travel tips for traveling with your pet during the pandemic.
Tip #1: Get a Pre-Flight Check-Up
Before leaving on a jet plane with your pet, it’s a good idea to get a pre-flight check-up to ensure that they are physically able to fly. Your vet will be able to discuss any concerns you may have over anxiety or health issues and make sure the experience is as safe and comfortable as possible for both you and your pet.
Tip #2: Research Airline Policies
While TSA determines who gets through the gate, different airlines have different policies, so it’s important to check before you fly. For example, before the pandemic, United Airlines allowed online in-cabin pet bookings, while Delta requires that you call them. But with reductions in travel and an increase in economic stress for many airlines, pet transportation has become extra challenging. In many cases, airlines are even suspending the option or increasing the cost to offset the convenience and loss of space for other cargo. This is important to check before you book your ticket, so call your airline directly as many policies about your pet differ, especially on weight, season, breeds, etc.
Tip #3: Keep Cost in Mind
For travel with airlines such as Delta, United and American Airlines, fees for in-cabin pets usually start at $125 each way. This can be much more for checked pets and doesn’t count the cost of pet carriers. Budget for checking or shipping your other bags ahead of time, as a pet counts as a “checked item.”
Keep this in mind when traveling for a longer period of time, as the national average cost of boarding your pet is $40 per night.1 If you are going out of town for a week or longer, it may be more cost-effective to fly with your pet rather than pay for boarding services.
Tip #4: Arrive at the Airport Early
If you are able to fly with your pet, it’s a good idea to arrive at the airport at least two hours early. This will give you time to get through security, check-in, and allow your pet to become accustomed to all of the different sights, sounds and smells. If they are going to be out of their cage during this time, make sure you have packed a collar with proper ID and a leash. It’s recommended that they have their last meal six to eight hours before takeoff, but a little water before takeoff is a good idea too.
Tip #5: Pack the Appropriate Items
First things first, you’ll need an airline-approved carrier, so check out your nearest pet store, online or anywhere else that may sell pet carriers. It needs to be comfortable for your pet, but still fit under the seat in front of you. Some other items to consider packing are:
- Waterless shampoo
- Disposable diapers
- Pet-safe wet wipes
- A soft, nonsqueak toy (so the squeaking doesn’t annoy other passengers)
- Treats, water, bowls, and dog food
Travel is stressful during the pandemic, even if you don’t bring your pet along. But, if you plan accordingly, then it can actually be enjoyable for both of you. Even if it is not as easy as flying without your furry companion, having them with you during the holidays can make it all worth it.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Larsen Wealth Management, LLC. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.