One of the biggest decisions we have to make as dog owners is what to do with our pets when we travel. Some people worry that traveling with their dog is too expensive, but with a smart plan, bringing your dog along can actually cost less than paying for a sitter or boarding. Careful planning not only saves you money, but it also helps avoid travel mishaps.
Stock Up on Essentials
Having the right travel gear for your dog can make the difference between a fun getaway and a disaster. Even if you need to get a few items just for travel, you can save money by shopping for affordable gear (harnesses, travel bowls, etc.) on sites such as eBay. And to help your budget further, use eBay coupons whenever you checkout.
In addition to the everyday things you use at home, investing in gear that’s made for pet travel can make the whole trip go more smoothly. For example, The Points Guy recommends safety items like an LED collar, as well as multi-use products like a four-in-one leash with attached food and water containers. Multi-use items are ideal for travelers on a budget because they replace several products with one, and the convenience of having everything in one place is an added bonus. Depending on your dog’s size and how you’re traveling, you may also need a pet carrier to keep your pooch safe and contained anytime you can’t be with them on the trip.
Explore Transportation Options
Airfare is obviously more expensive than driving, but when you need to fly with your dog, be sure to research fees ahead of time. Researching pet-friendly airlines also allows you to compare costs and choose the one that’s most affordable. According to the Travel Channel, some airlines also offer frequent flyer miles for pets. If you travel with your dog frequently, these can add up to serious savings over the long term.
Taking a road trip is a more affordable option if you don’t have to fly. The most important thing is to make travel safe and comfortable for your pup. If you don’t travel with a crate, using a dog safety harness is an affordable way to keep your dog (and yourself!) safe on the road. You can also make road trips easier for everyone by planning plenty of stops for potty and water breaks.
Choose Pet-Friendly Accommodations
If you plan on staying in a hotel, search options ahead of time to find one that’s dog-friendly. Some hotels charge extra for pets, but you can find some chains and even boutique hotels where pets stay for free. You may also want to consider a resort. When you’re on a budget, staying at a resort may not be the first option that comes to mind, but pet-friendly resorts can actually be affordable, especially if you travel offseason.
As an alternative to a hotel, many vacation rentals are pet-friendly, and they are often priced lower than the cost of a hotel room. For outdoorsy travelers, you can save even more money by camping or renting an RV. Camping is a way to explore that opens up all kinds of activities you and your dog can do together, which is way more fun than being stuck in a hotel room!
Pick a Pet-Friendly Destination
Of course, camping isn’t for everyone, and picking a pet-friendly destination is another way to make sure your dog doesn’t end up bored in a hotel room. Check out overall pet-friendliness in the locale you’re considering. For example, if you’re visiting a city, search for one that has lots of public spaces where pets are welcome. If you’re going to a coastal spot, make sure there are dog-friendly beaches where your pooch can run and play.
The last thing you want is to feel like your money has been wasted on a trip where your dog can’t come along on outings. After all, travel should be fun for everyone — canines and humans alike. Researching all your options is the smart way to stay under budget and avoid unexpected setbacks that could easily ruin everyone’s fun.
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