Traveling with a pet can be a fun and enjoyable experience for any animal lover. Unfortunately, even as pet travel becomes a more common and popular trend, accommodations for your furry friend are lacking in many ways. From airline fees to extra hotel expenses, travel services don’t make this a cheap way to travel.
However, there are a lot of great options for those looking to travel with a pet that can help you avoid or lower fees and make your next trip with your pet as stress, and cost-free, as possible.
The earlier you plan for your trip, the more you’ll be able to strategize the best ways to avoid fees. Plus, having extra time to shop around for hotels, restaurants, and flights allows you to find the best deals!
Before you take off on your journey, create a budget to plan out all the expenses you’re expecting to take on during the trip. List everything by priority, by having necessities such as airlines, hotels, and food (for both you and your pet!) at the top of your budget, with things like souvenirs and tourist attractions lower on the priority list. This will allow you to better decide what you can cut out if you need to reallocate funds.
Also spend time looking for any alternatives you have available to you, which will allow you to save as much as possible. You might even find services that are super pet-friendly and perfect for your trip.
Find the Most Pet-Friendly Flights (Or Alternatives)
No matter what flight you take, you’re going to be charged extra fees for pet carry on. However, these don’t need to break the bank. At the current time, Frontier and Southwest have the cheapest pet fees at $75 and $95 respectively. Keep in mind that for these cheaper alternatives, your pet may not be allowed on as your “checked baggage,” and must ride in cargo.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable with this idea, you’ll need to find an airline with a bit of a higher cost, that does allow bringing a pet with you as a carry-on. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll need to spend too much! In fact, you can use this as a way to save more in other areas. Consider traveling light, by packing only the essentials for you and your pet. If you can fit all of your necessities into a carry on instead of checked luggage, you’ve just saved yourself a lot on your flight!
If you aren’t traveling overseas, consider finding alternatives to airlines, such as cross-country trains, buses, or even by car. While these methods of travel take longer than planes, they have an added benefit of being cheaper, both for the ticket and for bringing your pet. Another benefit is that, for those traveling between states, they can allow you to enjoy the journey more than the destination. Those who choose to travel this way say that the views you can see while taking a train or car are second to none, and you won’t have to pay too much extra to bring a pet.
Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees
Even with advanced planning, you’re inevitably going to need to spend more than you prepared for. Pets are a wild card while traveling, and anything from your pet getting sick to needing more pet food could cause you to spend a little extra. It’s always a good idea to prepare extra cash ahead of time. Depending on the country you’re in, you can usually get good rates on the foreign exchange market before you leave, giving you a good amount of cash to carry.
However, in a situation where you need to spend more than you have the cash for, you might run into foreign transaction fees when using your debit or credit card. While these fees might start off small, depending on the amount you need to spend, they could add up quickly.
If you want to avoid these costs, consider finding a debit card with no foreign transaction fees. These are linked to online accounts and can be set up before your trip with emergency funds, for any instance that you’re worried about overspending. They can also be valuable if you want to carry less cash on you, and in the unfortunate case that you lose your card, the account can send digital payments as well.
Find Fee-Free Hotels
Hotels tend to be a bit more lenient than airlines when it comes to pet accommodation. While some charge a fee, many are switching to a pet-friendly business model as more people begin traveling with pets. Spend some time researching the hotels in the area you’ll be staying in and call and ask about their pet accommodations or policies. Hotels, both local and international, have different policies on this, so chances are you’ll find a perfect fit!
In addition to their lack of pet fees, some offer extra services for pets, such as caretakers, or pet-friendly room service. However, remember to check no to these options if you’re trying to save as much as possible.
Finally, no matter where you stay or the airline you take, having your pet leave a mess behind is going to come with some extra fees. Everything from rental cars to hotels that claim to not charge extra for pets will have some fine print, in the form of cleaning fees. These often come at a surprise to those enjoying these accommodations, as these fees are sometimes not explicitly stated. However, anything left behind, such as pet hair or stains, could come with an extra charge.
To avoid this, always remember to pack essential cleaning supplies for your four-legged friend along with your other pet-travel essentials. This includes a lint roller, cleanup bag, and even a mini vacuum cleaner if you have room for it. By packing the essential cleaning supplies this could save you hundreds on fees. You should also always take a photo of your accommodations before and after you leave, as proof you didn’t leave it in any worse condition as when you first went.
While pet travel does come with some extra expenses, these don’t need to break the bank, and in many cases, you can find ways to avoid fees altogether. Proper planning and searching for good deals can make your money go a long way and make the experience enjoyable for you and your furry friend. Safe travels!