Pet-free Travel Tips: What to Do With Your Pets When You Travel

Where to Leave Your Pets When Traveling

Pet owner’s guilt is a real thing. And a terrible one at that. The guilt over leaving your pet behind can cause stress over what to do with your furry friend, or, even worse, make you not want to travel at all. Aย  survey conducted in the USA byย TrustedHousesitters.comย that was covered by the media in May this year shows that half of pet owners do not travel because they can’t find any satisfying pet care solutions.

If that wasn’t enough, the majority of pet owners who do travel feel guilty over leaving their dog behind. And that majority is overwhelming, a whooping 72% of those who own a pet.ย And don’t I know it! Ares’ first trip abroad happened because my mom was in tears (and I was sick with worry) over the possibility of leaving our dog at a pet hotel for three days. We have nothing against pet hotels, we just hand’t had any experiences, so we hadn’t tested any. This was, after all, a last minute trip that eventually led to us taking him with us.

To help those new at either owning pets, or travelling while having them, I’ve come up with this handy inphographic that gives you a few ideas of what to do with your furry friends while you travel. It makes it easy to save and remember what options you have, and there’s a code for you to copy paste if you want to share it on different blogs.

Check it out and read below for a more detailed review of all three options, with pros and cons, because I’ve tried them all!

Infographic: Where to leave Your Pet When Traveling

where to leave your pet when you travel

Code to Share

<a href="http://wp.me/p6RG5l-2i"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-144" src="http://pettraveltales.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/pet-free-travel-inphographic.png" alt="where to leave your pet when you travel" width="800" height="2000" /></a>

Now, let’s analyze each of these options (base on my thoughts and experience)!

1. Have a Close Friend or Relative Pet-Sit

This is the alternative of babysitting for your pets. You ask someone you trust and who’s at ease with the pet to come and stay with them. I love this option, because the pet does not have to be taken out of their home and taken somewhere else. So they only have to deal with you not being around for a while, not with a new place as well. Depending on your relationship with them, this might only cost you the food in your fridge and a favor or two down the line.

If you don’t have friends or relatives who can help, you can hire a dog sitter. Unless you have someone tested and approved, if this is a spur of the moment trip, it will still stress you out. You’ll worry about pets and property and it will cost you more.

2. Leave Your Pet With Friends

This is a great option when you can’t have someone pet sit at home. If your friends and pet are comfortable with each other, then this works like a charm. More so when they have a pet of their own. Your beloved furry companion will have a friend to play with, loving humans around, and an adventure when traveling to their house.

As in the previous case, costs are low and the guilt is severely reduced. Plus your friends will keep you updated on what the dog does.

I’ve used this option once when I traveled for two weeks for business. Ares went outside to play three times a day with his sister, Kira. He was delighted, and not really stressed about my not being there, after the first couple of hours without me. It proved a great choice because he got an ear infection, which my friends were quick to deal with.

3. Find a Reliable Dog Hotel

When you have no one to pet-sit and no friends or family who can take your dog in, a good dog hotel is a life saver. This however requires research and testing. It does not work very well with last minute trips. Even when you have a dog hotel that you’re comfortable with, things might change, and you need a few options ready.

This is by far the most expensive option you have, so if your budget is limited, it won’t really work. A good dog hotel means a lot of play time, professional care, and a vet on standby. I did this a couple of times, at a great hotel in a village ten kilometers from my city. It’s where Ares’ trainer works, so I had tested it quite a bit. However, this did add pressure to my travel budget, and I felt the need to find a better option.

What Am I Doing When I Travel Without My Dog?

Whenever I am away and I can’t take Ares with me, I now have a near-perfect solution. The dog stays at home with my mom. Ares is used to being home with her, they keep each other company, so that part is settled. The only problem? My mom has serious back issues which prevent her from being able to walk him. If he ever pulls just a little, it would be too much for her, and she also walks really slowly. So when i am away, she feeds and cares for him, while my friend Magda and her son take turns in walking Ares. Magda and I walk our dogs together every day, so this is amazing for Ares, as he gets to see his buddy Pufy when he goes outside to play.

Of course, no solution is perfect, I have to make sure Magda can actually take care of the walks when I am away. It’s a hybrid that works for us though, and so far, after three tries, it’s the best solution I’ve had so far.

What about you?

Have you had to leave a pet home while you traveled? What have you tried, and which was your best solution? Did it help reduce guilt?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

48 thoughts on “Pet-free Travel Tips: What to Do With Your Pets When You Travel

  1. In India, it’s a bit difficult to find a pet friendly hotel, but nonetheless, I have seen all my friends with pets, mostly opting for leaving them with relatives or a pet care center…

    1. Romanian hotels aren’t much better at that. It’s said, really, but that’s reality. I am super excited whenever I find a place where they allow larger dogs ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. We currently travel less because we do not have a reliable dog sitter. Previously, we had a great free-range (no kennels or cages) policy. The dogs has separate fenced areas, or could all play together, plus walks. It is tough to find the right arrangement for pets, but worth it to have a pet!

    1. Oh, I know, the more pets, the harder it gets. I only have the one, but he’s huge, so not easy to bring him along to most hotels…

      That is the main problem though, finding someone you trust. There are plenty of offers out there, but they need to be properly vetted.

    1. Yeah, i think so too! From what I’ve tried so far, my dog’s the happiest with friends and family. And it’s the least expensive option.

  3. I don’t have a pet but I understand this problem of leaving a family member behind. Really sad for them. Some of my pet owning friends do follow the tips you mentioned.

    1. Yeah, leaving someone you love behind makes you feel guilty. I am at my happiest when I can travel with my dog, especially if I am gone for longer.

  4. This is so on point. I have faced pet owner (dogs) guilt so many times. I think this is some excellent advice and suggestions for any pet owner and it is always hard leaving them. No matter where you decide to leave your pet you always want to be sure they are in safe and caring hands.

    1. So glad you enjoyed this, Sheri! Yeah, the guilt is a huge problem :) And even if you deal with that the best you can, you’ll still miss the hell out of your pet. I know I do!

  5. Even here in Manila, it is hard to leave pets at home (unless you have relatives who are kind-enough to babysit your pets, and just bride them with a lovely staycation), pet-boarding also works here, and at least being accommodated with professionals.

    1. Yeah, finding the right sitter is not that easy. It took me four years of trial and error to come up with a satisfying solution ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. My dog was a rescue and is very shy so we have someone come care for her at home. It serves the added benefit of someone keeping an eye on the house! There are lots of companies that do that here in the US, so we’re lucky!

    1. We have more of the dog hotel type than sitters coming to stay with the dogs. Luckily I have friends and family willing to do it ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. I don’t have pets since im a frequent traveller. So it can get a little bit complicated. But i think it would be easy if ypu have reliable friends or relatives who can watch over while you are travelling

  8. This is very true. Some of my friends have a hard time leaving their pets to travel. The information shared on your post is very helpful for pet owners the world over. But for me, whenever possible, I offer to babysit my friends’ pets.

  9. The joy and happiness a pet brings inte one’s life surely helps overcome the difficulties in finding places for them to stay when we travel :) We usually leave them to some of our friends or neighbours :) Nice list, thank you for sharing it

  10. I have a pet cat. when I travel I always leave my cat at home. I’m not afraid of my cat starve, because I thought my cat could find food. My cats like to hunt birds and mouse. Hehehehehehe…

    1. If the cats go outside and hunt, yeah, you’re safe. Plus as long as you have someone checking in on them every few days, leaving them enough food and water, they’ll manage. I have a dog, so no such luxury ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. I have noticed this in mnay pet owners that their mobility reduces when they have pets. In india its too expensive to travel with pets and it becomes difficult to leave them behind as well. This post provides great insight as to how pet owners can also enjoy their share of travel instead of feeling ‘stuck’ and immobile.

    1. I noticed it too. I tried hard not to let that happen, and when I can, I take my dog with me. For the rest of the time though, I had to come up with a few solutions.

  12. We have been through this guilt of leaving our Dog behind during our travels, keep worrying about how its been taken care and have also cancelled our trips but fortunately we have some good pet care facilities here which has never caused us any problem yet.

    1. Glad you found a solution for your dog! Yeah, guilt sucks and it can sometimes make you give up the idea of the trip altogether.

  13. I used to have a cat and I did feel guilty when I traveled! I would sometimes hire a catsitter and sometimes have my roommate care for him. Cats hate being boarded so I never really considered that as an option.

    1. I think cats are a bit easier though. They’re a lot more self-sufficient, and you don’t have to take them on daily walks to make sure they exercise. But I know what you mean, with them, you kind of have to find a way to keep them in their home.

  14. I have a guinea pig and a dog. This summer we had to leave both behind. What we did was leave our guinea pig with a friend that was willing to take care of her and take our dog to a petsitter. My dog is adopted so this petsitter is a friend of the veterinarian that took care of my dog before we adopted her, that’s why we trusted her and felt really comfortable leaving her with the petsitter. She also sent us daily pictures and updates on our dog that made us feel even more relaxed about it! So I really recommend you to ask the person who is taking care of your pet for updates and pictures to feel more relaxed.

    1. If you have someone you trust, things are a lot easier ๐Ÿ˜€ And the daily pics do help a lot. Even if, in my case, they sometimes make me miss my dog more.

  15. While I love to travel a lot, I don’t really think I’ll ever be a long-term traveler or nomad because of my dogs! I love spending time with my dogs and I haven’t tried traveling with them, so after some time, I do start to miss them a lot. It’s not really more of the guilt — luckily, I have a big family and someone can always look after my dogs. It’s just that I miss them a lot. :)

    1. I like having a home base to return to, really, and I prefer more trips and coming home than being completely nomad. I do love traveling with my dog, but he’s huge, so that isn’t always an option. You are right, missing him is more of a problem. Guilt comes in when you’re not super happy with what arrangements you made for them.

  16. Nice one. Well, i don’t have a dog to leave behind but have pet fish. Since there is holiday food available, I don’t feel guilty leaving them behind ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Yeah, I remember having fish when I was younger. With the timed feeders, they could be fine on their own for quite a bit.

    1. Yeah, being away most of the time can be hard if you don’t take your pet with you. But if you ever do get one, hope this helps :)

  17. Since we have moved to Europe and we have two dogs… we have left them with a neighbor. We don’t leave them in our house. Our dogs are very comfortable at their house. One of their puppies is there too. But they are moving away so we have to find a new sitter. Oh the joys. But we don’t ever leave them in a kennel unless we have no other option.

    1. I was really reluctant of the whole dog hotel concept. The only reason I did it was that I took my dog for training there and got to see it. The paddocks,the large yards where they dogs played, where they kept them, the works. And they also had a vet’s office there, which helped, even if it wasn’t a round the clock thing. Still feel more comfortable when he is home with my mom or staying with friends.

  18. As a housesitter and petminder I am always happy to read about this as an option for pets. Our friends had a horrendous experience leaving their dog in a ‘kennel’ in Mexico and that alone convinced us to continue on this journey. We get to spend great time with furry friends and it can be difficult to part at the end but at least we know the animals are loved and cared for. I would recommend this to anyone. There are also tons more places where you can sign up as a homeowner or housesitter, from housecarers.com to mindmyhouse.com to housesitmatch.com I find Trusted Housesitters very busy and very difficult to get housesits or sitters from as you are inundated with replies so check out these others.

  19. I totally agree with Faith, there are lots of Housesitters out there (us included) who will stay in your home and look after your pets whilst you’re away! In our experience this minimises their separation anxiety as they’re still in familiar surroundings, with the same routine, just different “hoomans”. We love being able to spoil them rotten for a few weeks, whilst checking out the surrounding area. Plus you know your home is being well looked after too.

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