How to Prepare for Traveling with your Pet

Photo Credit: Better Business Bureau

Evan Arnold-Gordon
Golden Gate Better Business Bureau

For some people, leaving a beloved pet behind can ruin a holiday. However, having a furry friend doesn’t mean you can’t leave home. It may be possible for you to bring your pet along for the trip. If not, boarding your pet or hiring a pet sitter may be an option.

Keep the following BBB tips in mind when planning a trip with your pets:

  • Traveling by plane. You have two options when you take your pet on an airplane with you. If your pet is small enough, you can keep it under the seat in front of you. If your pet is too large, it will go in cargo. No matter what, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a BBB Accredited Charity, recommends making an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup to make sure they’re fit to fly the friendly skies. In 2017, consumers nationwide filed more than 7,400 complaints against airlines with BBB, so do your research. Look up airlines at to see their BBB Rating and if there are complaints or reviews from past customers on file about flying with pets. Regulations and fees for bringing your pet on a plane vary by the airline, so make sure to double check.
  • Road trips. Before bringing Fluffy or Fido on a long car trip, make sure your pet responds well to car rides. The ASPCA recommends keeping them safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier with plenty of food or water. Put together a pet travel kit, and prepare for the worst. If you’re renting a car, make sure that the company allows animals and ask if you’ll be charged extra. Consumers nationwide filed more than 10,000 complaints with BBB against auto renting and leasing companies in 2017, so make sure to find a trustworthy business at
  • Make sure accommodations and destinations are pet-friendly. Wherever you’re staying, whether it be a hotel, vacation rental, or with friends or family, ensure that pets are welcome. Ask if there are extra costs or regulations. Research pet-friendly activities ahead of time – do the local beaches or natural areas allow pets?
  • If necessary, leave them behind. Traveling with pets can be stressful for both you and the animal, and sometimes it’s just not feasible. Thankfully, you have options. You can hire a pet sitter to visit your animals in your own home, letting them stay in their natural environment where they’re most comfortable. You can also opt for a traditional boarding facility, like a kennel or pet hotel. In 2017, BBB received hundreds of complaints from consumers nationwide against pet boarding, sitting, and kennel companies. Complaints allege injuries to pets and poor customer service. It’s important to leave your pet in the care of someone you can trust, so look for BBB Accredited Businesses at

Remember to always report scammers.  If you’ve been the target of a scam or suspect scam activity, report it to authorities and  BBB Scam Tracker  to warn others. 

You can reach your BBB at or (510) 844-2000, or by visiting