Travelling with pets - good or bad?

2013-06-04 15:18

Many pet owners feel as though their pets are members of the family, in fact many childless pet owners insist that their pets are as important to them as children are to other "parents".

That's why it has always been an issue when it came to theses families going on holiday.

What should they do with their furry friends?

When it comes time to take a vacation, it is hard for some people to leave their pets behind, but there are inconveniences that go along with taking pets on vacation.

• Accommodation:

The cons:

Many of the top of the line hotels and destination resorts have a 'no pet' policy. Not exactly something you want to hear if you happen to love your pets to bits and want to take them everywhere with you.

The hotel policy makes sense though. It eases the burden on the cleaning staff and also lessens the inconveniences on other guests who are not as tolerant of pets. Majority rules in this instance unfortunately.

The pros:

The upside to this is that if you are adamant on taking your pet with you, it gives you a chance to break out of the holiday norm that is hotels.

Maybe go on a bush or camping trip. Having a pet along can make a vacation more exciting, especially if it's an active vacation. Camping, kayaking, fishing or hiking are often more fun with an energetic dog along.

Your animal will enjoy the woods and can be your guard dog. Or cat. Or mouse... (You get the point).

If you are adamant about a hotel, finding accommodation that accepts pets is possible, it may take a little research and it might not be the first place on a traveller's list, but they do exist.

• Travelling:

1) When you travel on the road there are always pros and cons to the journey that one needs to be made aware of.

Remember that if you do decide to take your pet with, it is vital that they travel in a pet travel box that gives them plenty room to breathe and space to move.

The cons:

Bathroom stops for a pet compared to a human are very different. We can keep it in for much longer. With our furry friends it's not the case. When it's time, well, that's it. It isn't always easy finding a location where someone won't mind a pet relieving itself. 

The pros:

When you stop unexpectedly, it likely that you'll discover a place you could have easily driven right passed... a possible gem... all because your pooch needed the loo.

2) If air travel is desired, there are always pros and cons to the journey that one needs to be made aware of.

The cons:
The extra charges when it comes to taking a pet on vacation are never a nice thing for anyone.

The extra cost is not nearly the same as what it costs for a human to fly, but depending on the airlines and the destination it can be quite expensive. 

The pros:

There is an upside to taking your pet with. Good kennels can be pricey and pet sitters may be even more expensive. If you can't look after them you would want the next best thing.

Emphasis on the best.

You'll avoid these fees by bringing your pet with you.

• Meeting new people

Even though you may be holidaying with your family it is always a great thing to meet new people when you are there. That is one of the memories people bring home with them.

The cons:

Pets can cause people to keep their distance. Sometimes it's by choice and sometimes they can't help it. Some people are just allergic to our furry friends! When on holiday, sometimes your pet can limit you to making new friends. Still, getting friends who love pets as much as you do is so much better.

Remember, it's quality, not quantity.

The pros:

Pets help break the ice. If you've travelled with children, you know they are great ice-breakers.

Locals are often more willing to help out or just talk to a family with kids. Pets can create the same atmosphere of approachability and give you reason to strike up a conversation, even if it's just to ask where the nearest dog park is.

• Your conscience (Happier pets, happier family)

Leaving your pets at home can be unsettling. Then again, so can taking them along on vacation. Still, it's ones conscience that always wins out in the end. Should you listen to it or not?

The cons:
There is a possibility that your pet may be happier at home. Not all pets enjoy traveling. Many

pets get motion sickness and some pets just don't like changes in their routines. You may have to make a lot of clean up stops or have a moody pet because it is out of the environment it has grown accustomed to.

The pros:

Your family won't miss them. If your kids would be upset at the thought of leaving their pet, you might consider bringing your pet along and this could make the vacation a heavy burden on your conscience. This can also help a child unused to travelling feel more comfortable.

The pet may also be happier. If your pet likes travelling, a vacation may be preferable to being left behind. Even the best kennels aren't a replacement for home.

Animals usually spend more time indoors and more time alone than they do at home. Having your pet with you will give your family peace of mind during your trip.

• Activities

The cons:

Your pet may limit your activities which is never fun. If you're bringing along a dog, a backpacking trip may pose no problems. But if you want to visit a city for the day or just visit a local museum, you'll need to consider alternative care for your pet.

This doesn't mean you need to leave your pet at home. Maybe enroll your dog in a local kennel for just a day or two during your trip.

The pros:

You will be forced (in a manner of speaking) to do activities that will include your furry friend. This way, there will definitely be some bondage time happening between you guys on this vacation.

The choice is yours

As with everything, there is a good and a bad side to travelling with your pets.

While pets are an important part of people lives and in many cases are literally part of the family, there are often many reasons why they should either be left at home or placed in the care of a friend or licensed kennel.

Still, it is a great thing to have them tag along.

Do you have any good or bad experiences travelling with your pet? Post them in the comment box below.

Read more on:    pets  |  animals  |  travel south africa

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