6 Easy Ways to Make Traveling Without Your Pet Easier

Published: 7/1/2021
 Like any devoted pet parent, you hate spending time away from your companion animal. You may often plan trips that include your four-legged friend, but sometimes, it’s neither possible nor practical to bring them with you. It’s not uncommon to feel guilt or worry when you have to leave your pet behind—in fact, a 2013 study found that 72 percent of people worry about their animals at least some of the time, while 24 percent worry during the majority or entirety of their trips. 

Some people even become so anxious about leaving their dog or cat at home that they stop traveling altogether, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Read on to find out how you can feel better when traveling without your pet.


#1 Let your pet’s comfort be your compass
If the thought of traveling without your dog or cat makes you feel bad, remember that not all destinations and experiences are appropriate for our companion animals. When planning your next trip, ask yourself if your furry friend would have fun if they tagged along. Would you be able to bring them to the places you’re going to visit, or will they have to spend all day cooped up in a hotel room? For example, are you going on a beach vacation, but your pooch isn’t a fan of the water? Or will you be doing a lot of walking tours, but your dog is elderly? In these cases, it would be better to leave your four-legged pal at home.


#2 Plan ahead, way ahead
Call your pet sitter as soon as you’ve finalized your travel plans to ensure that your furkid will receive the best care while you’re away. If you don’t have a trusted sitter yet, start looking for one a few months before your trip. This gives you enough time to explore your options and to set up a couple of meetings. It’s important that your cat or dog meets and becomes comfortable with their new caretaker before you leave. Pet sitting is especially recommended over traditional boarding kennels for pets with anxiety, as they get to stay in the environment that’s most familiar to them and not have to deal with strange sights, smells, and other animals. If you’re unable to find a pet sitter, home boarding is a good option too.


#3 Leave detailed instructions to your pet sitter

Create a pet care guide to give to your sitter. Even if it’s not their first time taking care of your dog or cat, providing written instructions will make things easier for them and prevent any confusion, especially if you have multiple animals. Some items to include in your guide are:

  • When you’re leaving and when you’ll be back
  • Your pet’s daily routine, including feeding, medicating, walks, and other activities
  • Some information about your pet’s personality, including any quirks
  • Your mobile number and email address
  • The contact information of the place you’re staying 
  • Your vet’s name and phone number
  • A trusted friend or family member’s contact info, in case of an emergency
  • Where important items such as your pet’s food, medications, and cleaning supplies are kept
  • Mail run times, trash pickup days, and plant watering schedules, if they’ll be doing some light housekeeping for you

Take some time to go over the instructions with your sitter and give them a chance to ask questions.


#4 Stock up on pet essentials
Make sure your pet has enough food and supplies to last them while you’re away. While your sitter probably won’t mind running to the store to pick up some items if needed, it’s better to have everything ready before you leave. If your furry friend will be boarding at their caregiver’s home, don’t forget to pack their favorite things too—having their bed and toys will make them feel better, which will make you feel better and less worried as well.


#5 Check in daily
Let your pet sitter know how important regular communication is to you and that you would appreciate daily updates. Be clear about your expectations from the get-go, but also be considerate of your sitter’s time. Though they’re staying with your pet 24/7, avoid texting them outside regular work hours and take note of any time differences. If you booked your sitter on Wag!, there is an in-app chat that makes it easy to stay informed about what your four-legged friend is up to.


#6 Look for souvenirs
Try to find toys and treats that aren’t available back home when you’re traveling. It may sound silly, but it’ll help you feel connected to your pet and ease your own separation anxiety. Plus imagine how happy your cat or dog will be when you return with new treats and toys from a faraway location!


Worrying about your furry pal when traveling without them is normal, but remember that doing so won’t do either of you any good. Be sure to follow the above tips for a stress-free trip!

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Wag!'s checklist on how to plan for traveling without your pet (#6 says to plan ahead and find the right overnight care or pet sitter for your pet's separation anxiety)