In 2016, it was estimated that over 40% of the UK population share their lives with a pet.* It comes as no surprise then, that increasing numbers of us are holidaying with our furry friends in tow. It only takes a little bit of extra planning and prep to ensure that everyone enjoys a happy holiday, so here’s the Lintbells guide on how to travel with a dog or cat.
Follow our preparation guide and look forward to endless summer evenings on holiday with your furry friends
Practically speaking, there are a few things to consider before your pet joins you on holiday. Where can you go? How will you get there? Will your preferred accommodation welcome pets? And, will a happy holiday for your pet be good fun for people too? Let’s take a look at these considerations one by one:
Where to go?
Travelling with pets is far easier than it used to be. With more and more pet friendly holiday cottages, campsites and even hotels, a UK-staycation is a great option if you don’t want to wave goodbye to your furry family member. If you’re looking to venture further afield, the Pet Passport scheme makes holidaying overseas a viable option.
What’s a pet passport?
Dogs, cats, and ferrets can now get their own passport to travel within the EU, and to a surprisingly large number of other countries – find the full list here. Before you book flights or ferries, think about your pet’s temperament and physical fitness – how will they find the destination temperature and lifestyle? And how will they handle the journey?
How will you get there?
If you’re planning on travelling within the UK, transport is straightforward – jump in the car or book your seats on the train – more details below. Follow this link for ideas, tips, and advice for a great trip in our blog: Travelling with dogs - our top tips for happy journeys.
Is it possible to travel with a dog on public transport?
Yes. But you'll need to be committed and organised, and your dog will need to be confident and outgoing. Unfortunately, you can’t take a dog on the St Pancras foot-passenger Eurostar, but you can book a kennel on some foot-passenger ferry services, including DFS.
Cats and dogs by ferries and channel tunnel
The easiest way to travel within Europe with your pet is to take a short ferry crossing or use the Eurotunnel. As you'll be travelling in your own car, they simply stay in their travel box or crate in your car during the crossing. For longer crossings, it’s sometimes possible to book dog-friendly cabins – with access to a deck for short walkies and toilet breaks. Some ferries also have on-board kennels, but these can be quite an unnerving experience for more sensitive dogs – it’s worth taking time to do your research and be sure your pet can cope before booking their place. For cats, don’t forget to take their litter tray to keep them comfortable in your car. If you’re planning a journey to somewhere further afield, read on for more hints and tips.
The extra preparation it takes to travel with your pet is worth it for the memories.
Pets on planes
Both dogs and cats can travel on planes, though different airlines have different rules about how and where in the plane your pet will be travelling – ‘cheapflights’ regularly updates this overview guide. A small number of airlines allow smaller pets (under 8kg including carrier) to be carried in the cabin with you, whilst the most common means of travel for pets is in the hold as ‘cargo’. If your dog is older, or of a nervous disposition, this isn’t always the kindest option. Weigh up the options and consider whether your pet may be happier staying at home with family, friends, or a pet sitting service, or having a little holiday of their own in kennels.
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) overseas
BSL varies from country to country, so be sure to check the rules before you book your holiday. Restrictions vary from country to country, and sadly often includes popular breeds like Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and English Bull Terriers. However, your dog may still be able to join you on hols – they just might have to stay on-lead and wear a muzzle. The best place to find more details is your destination country’s government website or embassy.
Where to stay – pet-friendly accommodation
There are more pet-friendly accommodation options out there than ever before. Look out for the ‘pet-friendly’ filter on accommodation search sites, or go with the tried and tested self-catering option from pet-friendly specialists like Dogs Trust Cottages.
AirBnB can also be a great place to find unique pet friendly accommodation, and we’ve had some brilliant stays through Canopy and Stars. It’s also good to know that some major chains have a pet-friendly policy too; in the UK, Hotel Du Vin properties, and many Best Western hotels are dog friendly along with Travelodge who ask for £20 a night extra to bring along your furry friend. The rather brilliantly named PetsPyjamas offers a concierge service if you’re feeling flush, and at the other end of the scale, we’d recommend checking out Pitch Up’s dog friendly campsites.
Having fun travelling with dogs and cats
Perhaps the most important thing to consider before including your pet in your holiday plans is – will you all have fun? This depends on what you – and your pet – enjoy doing. If you’re an outdoorsy sort with an outgoing dog, it’ll be happy holidays all round.
Equally, if you’ve got a confident cat who enjoys exploring new places, the pleasure of being with you will likely outweigh the potential stress. However, if your ideal holiday is a bustling city break and your dog is nervous in traffic, they may be happier staying home.
With the right preparation, holidaying with your furry friend can be double the fun.
Regardless of your journey plans, or destination, it’s always worth planning ahead to ensure that you are as prepared as possible to holiday with your pet. Though we live in an increasingly pet-friendly world, there’s no downside to being overprepared. It’s advisable to keep food and water handy wherever you are and pack a pet first aid kit which can be kept within easy reach. We’d recommend stocking your first aid kit with natural supplements that can support your pet before they travel, on the journey, and during your stay.
An adventurous cat will love exploring a new environment with you.
Keep calm and travel on!
You may consider supporting your dog with a calming supplement like YuCALM Dog. Dogs can find new things a little stressful, and the clever combination of scientifically proven ingredients make a tail-wagging difference by supporting natural calming pathways in the brain. It’s an effective way to help reduce stress and support dogs to become more happy and playful. What's more, it's all natural. To see best results, start a YuCALM course 4-6 weeks before you set off.
It’s also worth packing some YuDIGEST Plus for Dogs which is a natural probiotic supplement for dogs and cats facing digestive problems. Much like people, pets can struggle if they eat something they shouldn’t or aren’t used to, so we like to keep YuDIGEST on hand, so everyone can quickly get back to having a happy holiday.
Do you travel with your pet? What are your top tips for happy travels with your dog or cat? Please do leave a comment below – or say hello on our Facebook page.