Taking your pooch when you travel can be expensive, but if you prefer to travel with your beloved best friend, finding ways to reduce the cost can save you money and stress. The first thing you should do before you start searching for pet-friendly hotels or pet-friendly airlines is to make a list of things you will not compromise on. For example, if you want to keep your dog in the cabin instead of the belly of the plane, you will have to search out airlines that can accommodate your size dog.
Price of Flight
The most obvious option for traveling under budget is driving a car to your destination. But, that might not be feasible for your situation if you don’t have a car or are too long of a drive away. So, the next best travel option is airplanes. No, it’s not cheap, but there are ways to keep the price low.
The average dog fee for domestic travel can range between $150 to $1,000 depending on if they’re in-cabin or in cargo, and the weight of the dog according to A-Z Animals. Some airlines will charge a flat pet fee in the $200 range.
You might already have a crate or kennel already for your dog, but it might not be airline approved. If you have a smaller dog, usually up to 20 lbs., he or she can accompany you in the cabin. You can have a soft-sided carrier, but it has to be able to fit either in your lap or in the foot area below in front of your seat. For pets riding in the cargo area, you’ll have more requirements to keep in mind for their crates. They have to be made of hard plastic, and they can only holes for ventilation at the top, and marked “LIVE ANIMAL.” These crates are pricey, and can cost up to $1,000. This is an unexpected cost that most dog owners might not even think of.
Is Your Animal in Tip-Top Health?
During air travel, your ears pop, the acceleration of the plane upwards can make your body feel like you are glued to the seat, and it’s just not always a comfortable experience for many reasons…. your dog will have those same feelings. Only they won’t have an understanding of where they are, or what’s going on. So, if they’re physically disabled or ill, the flight will be painful and more anxiety-inducing. To help make sure your pet is air-flight ready, go to the vet and tell them you need to get a health assessment for your furry friend. This should be done a couple of weeks before boarding the plane for in-cabin pets, and at most 10 days for pets going in the underbelly.
If your pet has breathing problems, such as pugs with short snouts, they might not be able to fly due to potential respiratory distress. Remember: shortness of snout equals shortness of breath. Also, if your dog is prone to anxiety or you think he or she might feel better in a more relaxed state, you can ask your vet about drugs to help them make it through the experience.
Airlines: Price v. Safety
One way to get the cheapest price is to look for the airline with the lowest dog fee and cheapest total price flight, once all taxes and fees are added. If there’s an airline you prefer over others, or if you are a frequent flier, then look to see what saving options are available for you through that airline. However, keep in mind that just because a ticket may be cheap, it doesn’t mean they’ll be accommodating. Also, some of the preferred airlines don’t have great accommodations for your furry friend. The top five airlines are Delta Air Lines followed by JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines according to Trip Savvy. However, the top five pet-friendly airlines are Alaska Airlines followed by American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Frontier and Southwest Airlines according to data from NerdWallet. (Their list says that United Airlines and Delta are the least pet-friendly.)
If you want to have a getaway with your dog or cat, room and board is the next part of the checklist. Some hotels charge by night, while some with a flat fee. The price can range from $10 to $100 per night, but you can tack on a potential charge between $50 and $250 for any damages and cleaning, if problems arise. So, if your pet has a tendency to nibble on furniture, you might want make room in the budget for damages. Or, just keep them cuddled beside you 24/7… no complaining there!
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