Dog on the beach

Road trips are super exciting – but they’re not quite the same without your pet by your side, are they? Hitting the road together is totally doable, but it’ll take some planning to make sure traveling with pets isn’t a nightmare. From prepping their space in the car to planning rest stops, here’s how to make traveling with pets simple in 9 easy steps:

1. Go on practice runs

This is especially true if you’re planning on bringing your homebody of a cat: Make sure they’re familiar with your car and are used to riding in it before going on a long trip. Take them with you on short errands so when it’s time for your trip, they’ll already be waiting for you by the door.

2. See the veterinarian

Pet friendly travel means making copies of all your pet’s medical records before hitting the road. If your pet gets sick on your trip, it makes it much easier for another health professional to treat them if they know your pet’s medical history.

3. Make ID tags

You never know when little Scruffy will decide to make a run for it, so make sure you’re prepared by putting a collar on your pet that includes an ID tag with your cell number and hotel contact information.

4. Book pet friendly accommodations

Find pet friendly hotels along your route. If you’re staying with friends and family, make sure to let them know you’re bringing your pet along on your adventure.

5. Pack your pet’s favorite things

Being away from home, especially if it’s not something your pet experiences very often, can be stressful on them. To help lower their anxiety, pack their favorite blanket, pillow and toys so they have familiar things around them to make them feel more secure. A great way to do this is with a mobile pet bed like Sleepypod, which is a carrier/bed hybrid: Simply zip the lid off and use it as their bed at home and abroad, giving them a comfy place to hang out when they’re feeling uneasy.

6. Bring your own water

Bottle your water from home or give your pet bottled water during the trip. Tap water from places your pet’s not used to can upset their stomach and cause accidents on the road. Make hydration a snap by bringing along a BPA-free bamboo silicone travel bowl that collapses to less than a 1/2 inch for easy transport.

7. Feed lightly

The key to a pet friendly road trip? Avoiding accidents at all cost. Feed your pet light meals before hitting the road to steer clear of carsickness. When you’ve stopped driving for the day, you can go back to your pet’s regularly scheduled diet.

8. Make frequent stops

It’s natural for us to want to drive with as few breaks as possible to get to our desired destination faster, but the scenic route would do a number on your pet’s itty bitty bladder. Make sure you stop at rest stops and parks frequently on your drive (shoot for every two hours minimum). Give them ample opportunity for bathroom breaks, stretching and blowing off steam.

9. Keep your pet’s routine in tact

By maintaining your pet’s feeding and exercise schedule as much as possible, you’ll help reduce their anxiety about being away from home.

How do you go about planning your pet friendly road trips?

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Image: Randy Robertson