Your pet is part of your family, and as such you want to be able to include it when you go on family vacations. While it may seem easy to put your dog or cat in the backseat and hit the road, there are actually several things to bear in mind when traveling with your pet. Car travel with a pet can be difficult at times, but if you are fully prepared and have planned for the unique needs of your cat or dog you will be able to enjoy the time together as a family.

When driving long distances with your dog, you need to make sure that you make regular stops and walk your pet. For the safety of you and your family, only stop in well-lit areas with other people around. Also, make sure that you bring enough bags to clean up after your dog, as you do not want to leave a surprise for the next people who walk through the area. Plan ahead by looking at a map and determining how much distance is between each rest stop. By knowing where the rest stops are, you will be able to plan your trip and provide for the needs of your animal.

In addition to being walked, pets need to be fed while traveling and it is not as simple as going through a drive-through. Feeding an animal in a moving car can be extremely difficult, and if you do not want your backseat covered in water and puppy chow it is best to pull over when feeding time comes around. Plastic Tupperware bowls are perfect for holding food and water while on the go and clean up easily when your cat or dog has finished the meal. If possible, try and let the whole family eat at the same time. If the weather is nice, you can picnic in your vehicle by opening the doors and windows. This will allow your pet to feel a part of the family and will minimize the number of stops you have to make while traveling to your destination.

If you and your family are traveling overnight and plan to stay in a hotel, call ahead to find out if the hotel allows pets. Many hotels will accommodate this, but they charge a variety of fees. To get the best deal, choose a town you would like to stay in and call all of the hotels in the area. This will allow you to book a room with a hotel that offers the best pet fee and is located in the town of your choice. By planning where you wish to stop and shopping around for the best deal on a hotel room that allows animals, you will save both time and money. By making a reservation ahead of time, instead of walking in the night, you wish to stay, you will also be guaranteed a room, as many hotels fill up quickly as evening approaches and you won’t run into any unexpected  “no animal”; policies.

When traveling with pets, keep in mind the unique needs of your animals. If you plan appropriately and are adequately prepared, you will be able to have an enjoyable time driving to your destination with your entire family in tow.