Do You Travel With Your Pets?


It’s just not packing their favorite toy, leash and bowls…

Here’s a list of great pet-friendly apps for your travels.

Pet Crash Tests

If you take your pet with you on a car trip (even if you are just going to the park), do so safely. Cats should ride in pet carriers, and dogs should be secured in harnesses or crates.

The Center for Pet Safety has conducted crash tests on pet harnesses, crates and carriers. Visit the Center for Pet Safety website for their findings. 

The videos are a bit horrifying – even if they are just stuffed animals. After watching, I ordered the Sleepypod Clickit Utility for my pup. At the time, it was the only harness that passed the crash test. There was a learning curve to get it on and clipped in the seat (it uses fasteners to child seat hooks in the backseat), but with practice I am much quicker. And she is safer. Although, I miss her sitting up front with me. It was a good investment for her well being and my peace of mind.

They also conducted carrier and crate test, too. Make sure you check this information out before traveling.

icon-catWhat to bring when traveling with a pet…

Who knew pets were so high maintenance?  Just wait until you take them on vacation with you. But don’t fret, I have put together this checklist for you to use as a guide on what to pack.

  • Portable carrier and/or crate (make sure they passed the crash tests)
  • A sturdy leash.
  • An extra collar.
  • An old blanket or sheet for the back seat of your car or wherever the pet’s carrier will be secured to make cleanup easier.
  • Two old sheets to cover bedding and furniture at your destination.
  • Some of your pet’s bedding.
  • Food. If you do not feed a brand you are certain will be available at your destination and along the way, bring enough for the whole trip (I put each meal into small storage bags). If you feed canned, bring a can opener and spoon.
  • Two gallons of extra drinking water from home. When you are down to the last half gallon, begin mixing in equal parts with the water supply at your destination. If your pet is especially sensitive, use distilled water.
  • Food & water bowl set.
  • Portable water bowl or bottle for use when away from your lodging.
  • Treats.
  • Toys and chew items.
  • All required medications, supplements, and preventatives.
  • Health records, including vaccination records
  • Instruction for feeding schedules and diet, medications and any special needs
  • Name/phone number of your veterinarian
  • Tweezers to remove foreign objects from fur or paws.
  • Brush or comb.
  • Lint and hair remover.
  • Baby wipes or moist towelettes to wipe off paws.
  • For cats, a full litter pan with extra litter, liners, and newspaper to place underneath.
  • Waste removal bags.
  • Old towels, carpet cleaner, disinfectant spray, and trash bags for accidents (carpet cleaner – really?).
  • First aid kit.
  • Flashlight for nighttime walks (or just use the flashlight on your phone).


  • Keep up-to-date identification on your pet at all times
  • Keep current color photos of your pet with your supplies or on your phone



Who ya gonna call?

Not that I am a dooms day traveler, but I like to be prepared.

Here are a few phone numbers you should add to your contacts before leaving home.

  1. Your vet – my vet’s number is ingrained on my brain, but if you don’t know your vet’s number by heart, add it to your phone’s contact list.
  2. Poison Control – ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center
    I’ve used this one. My dog is a vacuum – indiscriminately
    eating everything in her path.  Just so you know, it’s not free. Keep a credit card handy.
  3. Microchip registry – if your pet is mircochipped (and if it’s not –  it should be!) add the phone number to your contacts.
  4. Emergency Vet – of course you should have your local emergency vet listed in your contacts,  but before you travel, check for emergency vets along the way. Unfortunately, emergencies do happen and they often happen when regular vet offices are closed. Take it from me, I know.








Road Food

icon-theresanapp-tnWhether it’s snacks in the car or a favorite roadside eatery, you have to eat! After years of experience on many road trips and tons of food consumed, I can safely say that I can recommend the following items as perfect road food snacks.

icon-chipsIn the car…

Make sure you place perishables in a cooler (I avoid coolers all together). Steer clear of foods that are messy and hard to handle.

Avoid melt-ables like chocolate. Although a favorite candy – peanut butter cups do not travel well. They melt, they’re messy and hard to unwrap. Several candy bars fall within the melt-able category. The best traveling candy is M&Ms. As the saying goes, they melt in your mouth, not in your hand.

Make your own trail mix – choose bite sized treats. I try and stay away from yucky dried fruits, but if you’re a health nut – knock yourself out. I prefer a good mix of M&Ms (plain, peanut, peanut butter – it’s all good), mixed nuts, pretzels, sunflower seeds, Chex Party Mix, Cheez-It or Nabs, Bugles… you get the idea. It’s great to grab a handful.

Always bring along bottled water. You can drink it cold or tepid. Soft drinks aren’t very tasty unless they are cold. Try to buy soft drinks during pit stops – gas, lunch, or rest areas – and drink them then.

If it’s cold outside or you just need a burst of caffeine to keep you going, make sure to bring along a thermos of hot coffee (or cocoa). Don’t be shy at fast food restaurants – ask them to refill it when you’re running low.

Cookies, individually wrapped snack cakes and crackers and chips are all good bets, but avoid chocolate coated cookies (see meltables above). Krispy Kreme glazed donuts are a yummy treat and will last for a few days (this only works if traveling through a low humidity area)! Make sure to look for the hot sign!

Okay, okay… you say I only list junk food. Well, as a rule that’s what makes a good road trip. But if you must, bring along something healthy try apples, bananas, grapes – the less messy fruits. But remember, they don’t stay fresh forever. I’ve been in a car that smelled like a brewery when leftover grapes were not disposed of and banana peels are nasty creatures. If you don’t want the processed foods, bring along homemade goodies – muffins, cookies, pack sandwiches – whatever sounds good. Just remember, keep it simple and avoid a mess.

icon-drinkLooking for a quick meal?

Combine your fill-up stops with a meal. Fast food drive-thrus are a quick alternative to a road trip on a schedule and now many gas stations have combined with fast food restaurants. However, eating and driving can be messy and dangerous. We don’t recommend it, but if you do… Don’t order a huge sandwich with lots of toppings or you’ll find half the contents in your lap. Fries are an easy fast food to manage, just limit the ketchup.

icon-eatWant to sit down for a meal?

There are several restaurants lined along Interstate exits. For something quick, stick with the fast food chains. You’ve eaten it before, you know what you like, they all taste the same. But if you have a little extra time, relax and be served. My favorite road trip eatery is the Cracker Barrel – good country cooking and a little country store to boot. You can’t miss with the chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes and sawmill gravy! And if you’re there on Wednesday or Saturday, make sure you try the potato soup. Plus you can pick up a free map inside that lists all the Barrels throughout the country.

If you’re near a well populated area, you can find chain restaurants right off the highway. Look for areas with shopping malls and college campuses. You’ll likely find Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Chilis, Roadhouse Grill, Outback Steakhouse to name a few.

And for those of you more adventurous, stop off at a little Mom & Pop restaurant or even a truck stop. You don’t know what you’ll find but it could be good (or not so much…).

Here’s my last tip…always bring along a package of disposable wipes (anti-bacterial is a smart choice). I always keep a package in my car for every day use. They’re handy for quick clean ups after pumping gas or messy snacks. Remember… good hygiene is always important, even on vacation!

Tell us about your favorite roadtrip staple, or a not to miss roadside restaurant.