All pet owners have different opinions when it comes to what to do with the animal during vacations. Leaving them at a kennel or dog hotel can be expensive, and it can also be stressful for both the dog and the owner. Pet sitting is more relaxing for the dog, but it’s still pricey if you don’t have a friend or family member to do it for free.
What about taking your pup on the road with you? It can be a wonderful way to bond with your dog and give them exciting new places to discover, but it’s not without its own stresses and expenses. And while these expenses can frequently feel insurmountable, there are a number of ways to significantly lower those costs.
Get Deals on Gear
You will need some travel-friendly gear for your dog, whether its a crate for riding in the car, a new leash, or a set of portable food and water bowls. You can save a significant amount of money by searching online for coupons and promo codes on sites like RetailMeNot.
Skip the Airfare
Most airlines charge for pet travel, and these fees can sometimes be higher than the airfare itself. A fee of $100 is standard, but some airlines like American and Delta charge $200 for a pet. Your pet carrier tends to count as your carrier bag, and flights usually have a limit of animals they are allowed on the flight.
Perhaps most importantly, flying can be stressful for pets and does have some danger associated with it, which is why the Humane Society recommends against air travel for pets wherever possible. Take your dog on the road instead — it’s safer, less stressful for everyone, and easier to control the pace of the journey.
Go Into the Wild
Camping can be an incredible dog-friendly vacation, and it is also super budget-friendly. As long as you have most of the kit, there are very few costs. Most of your dog camping packing list will consist of things you already have, such as a leash, extra towels, plenty of food, scoop and poop bags, and a pet-friendly first-aid kit.
You can easily sleep with your dog in your tent, but do make sure you get a tent that is well-suited to the task. A dog-friendly camping tent should be large enough for both of you, with sturdy flooring and good ventilation, and it should be easy to clean.
Stay in a Pet-Friendly Hotel
If you’re more of a city traveler, that’s okay too. Luckily, there are a lot of budget-friendly hotel chains out there that are also genuinely pet-friendly. Red Roof Inn, for instance, is a favorite with dog owners since it does not charge for pets and is genuinely committed to its animal-friendly policy. Another great choice is Loews Hotels, which have a lovely pets program that comes with complimentary treats and a dog bowl for your room.
Consider Investing in Insurance
Buying insurance may not seem like an obvious money-saving strategy, but if something goes wrong, you’ll be glad to have thought of it. Most travel insurance policies do not cover pets, but you can get specialist policies that provide coverage in case of injury.
If you are flying, bear in mind that most insurers will not cover cancellations due to “pet overbooking,” so you may want to select a “cancel for any reason” policy.
Traveling with a dog is not just a matter of bringing them along — you need to specifically design the trip around your dog. Everything from the mode of transportation to the type of trip, the destination, and the activities you do when you arrive will depend on their needs. This is not just a matter of their comfort and safety (although this is, of course, the most important part), but also of saving some money. When you take the time to design a dog-friendly trip, you can save on almost every step of the way.
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