-By Diana Maiola
Travelling is a wonderful thing. If you are able to simply pack your things, lock the door and get to the airport, you are fortunate. If you have a household with children and pets, getting away in a smooth fashion can prove to be a challenge. Not impossible!! But just the same a challenge.
So, what do we do when we have furry family members that need to be taken into consideration while travelling. Fortunately, there are wonderful pet hotels that will board your pet while you are away. They provide a safe and warm environment with professional supervision so that you are more at ease while on vacation. It is always good to read reviews and ask friends and family for referrals before deciding where to lodge your sweet pets. Many provide a pet cam that will allow you to check in on your loved one via live stream video. This is most helpful when you are missing them! Of course, if you are fortunate enough to have a friend or relative pet sit that is also a great option.
If you decide to engage in air travel with you small pet, make sure to carefully review all of the rules pertaining to that specific airline. As well, consult with your vet to make sure that your little one can handle the journey. I have personally travelled on several occasions across the Atlantic with my 8 pound Maltese, Marcello. The first time I did it, I was nervous. Each time afterwards was easier and easier. Marcello is registered as an ESA or Emotional Support Animal. On most airlines, this allows your pet to travel on your lap or at your feet in the flight cabin. Marcello loves it and I am at ease knowing that he is right with me. A month or two before departure, make sure to have all of your documents in order. Your vet will need to verify and sign off that said pet has had all necessary vaccinations within the required time of departure. Each airline has a set of forms which must be completed and then attached to your reservation no later than 48 hours before departure. By doing this, you actually will receive a pet boarding pass upon check-in at the airport. Make sure to confirm that the documents have indeed been received. Sometimes things get lost in the shuffle. Upon arrival at the airport, make sure that you also have hard copies of all of your docs, just in case.
What I have experienced is that most people in the airport and on board the aircraft are very open to getting to know your furry travel companion. I have had fellow travelers offer to walk him up and down the aisle while on board, hold him while I go to the restroom and ask to take a selfie with him. A few passengers may give you a less than pleasant glance, but that is totally their problem. For me, snuggling with my little guy while travelling makes me happy and the time pass quicker.