Even as governmental regulations fluctuate around which service and emotional support animals are cleared to fly, traveling with pets is becoming more and more commonplace, with accommodations, restaurants and parks allowing access to man’s best friend – and even tailoring their experiences accordingly.
While it can be fun to have a furry companion along for the ride, loud crowds and unfamiliar spaces like airports, train stations, and hotels can be distressing for sensitive critters, so we’ve rounded up a few items to make your journey as smooth as possible. From cat harnesses and dog socks to GPS trackers and anxiety jackets, these are the goods to get you to your final destination – and let you enjoy the journey too.
Our writers independently select the best products to help you have amazing travel experiences. If you purchase through links on our site, Lonely Planet may earn a commission from the retailer.
1. Wild One air travel carrier
If you’re taking to the skies with a small pup or cat in tow, the proper carrier can make all the difference. Wild One’s version is ideal for animals up to 16 pounds, with mesh walls for breathability, a shoulder strap that doubles as a leash, and a padded interior that folds out to serve as a bed. Most important, it’s airline compliant, sized to fit underneath a standard economy-class seat, and comes with that all-important sleeve that slides over your suitcase handle for ease of carry. Air travel carrier, $125; wildone.com
2. Spruce dog bed
For road trips and train travel, you can afford to pack those items that make your canine companion feel at home – even if they take up a bit more room. Not only is Spruce’s portable bed extra cozy, with memory-foam padding, side bolsters, and removable, washable, waterproof sheets, it also folds up to hold all of your dog's accoutrements, from toys and food to leashes and bowls. Plus, it’s made from the same materials as luggage designed for humans, so it’ll withstand plenty of wear and tear. Spruce portable dog bed, from $170; sprucepup.com
3. Kitty Holster cat harness
On the whole, cats tend to be less well-traveled than dogs – it’s just the nature of the beast. But if you leash-train your kitten, they’ll be primed to join you on your adventures, as long as you have the proper equipment. Some harnesses go on over the head and secure with clips and adjustable straps, but for cats that have a tendency to slip out, Kitty Holster’s lightweight model relies on Velcro closures to keep them locked in and a breathable cotton fabric to keep them from overheating. Kitty Holster cat harness, $24; amazon.com
4. ThunderShirt anxiety jackets
Some pets take to the open road like champs, while others need a little help to feel at ease. Much like swaddling can calm a fussy baby and weighted vests or blankets can chill out an anxiety-prone person, ThunderShirt’s jackets apply mild, constant pressure to soothe the savage beast. A vet-approved, low-tech alternative to meds, they’ll get your dog or cat into their carrier with minimal fuss and make their time in transit less stressful as well. ThunderShirt anxiety jackets for dogs and cats, from $40; amazon.com
5. Whistle Go Explore GPS tracker
There’s little more gutting than losing a pet, especially when they take off in an unfamiliar place. Whistle’s Go Explore tracker uses WiFi, cellular data and GPS to keep tabs on their whereabouts, and it’s waterproof when submerged up to six feet, so an impromptu jump in a lake shouldn’t put it out of commission. Plus, the battery holds a charge for 20 days, so if your cat or dog has been on the run for awhile, you should still be able to find them. Just a few caveats: because the device uses AT&T’s cellular network, it does require a monthly subscription, and it won’t work outside of the US or in areas without coverage. Go Explore GPS tracker, $130 plus monthly subscription fees; whistle.com
6. Saltsox dog boots
Dogs need protective footwear when streets and sidewalks are strewn with a wintery mix of snow and salt, but they also need it during those steamy summer months, because if it's too hot for you to be barefoot, it's also too hot for your dog. These boots from Saltsox will keep them covered year-round: with breathable mesh uppers and a built-in radiant heat barrier in the rubber sole, the Lavasox block out heat from pavement and sidewalks, while the eponymous winter version offers a thin, lightweight layer of defense against icy, salty walkways. Saltsox dog boots, from $56; saltsox.com
7. Billy Wolf Dash travel bowl
Hydration is just as important for animals as it is for humans, and Billy Wolf’s collapsible Dash bowl helps deliver their H2O no matter the setting. The flexible canvas construction allows it to fold down, snap closed and slip into tight spaces with ease, and it’s suitable for dinner service as well, thanks to a waterproof nylon lining and a food-safe paraffin wax exterior. It holds up to three cups of puppy chow at one go, and it’s hand-washable, so no worries about toting around any crumbs between meals. Dash travel bowl, $32; billywolfnyc.com
8. Cycle Dog dog-waste pickup bags
Cleaning up your pup’s messes isn’t the most glamorous part of pet parenthood, but it’s an essential one nonetheless. To keep things sustainable, look for an option like Cycle Dog’s biodegradable waste pickup bags – made from corn- and plant-based materials, they’ll break down in 10 to 45 days when buried or composted in a controlled environment, but you can also dispose of them via your local composting service if it handles pet waste. Dog-waste pickup bags, $6; packagefreeshop.com
9. DryFur pet carrier insert pads
The US Department of Transportation advises against feeding your pets solid food in the six hours prior to a flight, instead recommending a moderate amount of water and a walk before and after boarding – but accidents happen, even if you’ve taken every precaution. DryFur’s absorbent travel pads dry quickly, wicking away moisture, with a rigid core that keeps them from shifting and bunching under foot, and they fit most soft carrier bags and some hard-sided kennels too. DryFur pet carrier insert pads, $28 for two; amazon.com