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Consumer Reports: Cost of taking your pet on vacation

Posted at 6:18 AM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 11:31:36-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - When the Pilla family takes a vacation, they bring along Dizzy.

“Because then I don’t have to worry," says Clementina Pilla. "I know that I’m taking really good care of her. It’s more fun with her there.”

Consumer Reports says, get prepared ahead of time!

“Make sure your pooch is ready to fly and get a health certificate from your veterinarian, including vaccinations so you can show it to the airlines and anyone else who might require it," says Consumer Reports Money Editor, Donna Rosato.

If your pet doesn’t already have a microchip, get one!

Now let the journey begin! You can hit the rails on Amtrak with your pup for around $26, but only if your trip is less than seven hours. Airlines usually charge around $125 one-way to fly with a small dog in the cabin to many destinations.

“And since your pet carrier will count as a carry-on, you may need to pay to check your suitcase," says Rosato. "And a travel compliant carrier can cost you anywhere from $35 to more than a hundred dollars.”

Also, reserve a spot for your pet ahead of time with the train or airline.

“They only allow a certain number of pets to be under the seat," says Pilla.

Larger dogs often need to fly in the cargo hold, costing from $100 to close to $1,000 each way! Many airlines don't allow snub nosed breeds like French bulldogs to fly at all as they can have difficulty breathing at high altitudes.

Now where to stay? If you’re allowed to bring your dog, many hotels will charge a fee from $20-100. But some chains do let pets stay free.

Need a little more space? Check off the pet friendly filter on Airbnb and VRBO to find rentals that will let you bring your pets, but often there will be a fee.

Prefer to take your pooch on a road trip? A lot of car rental companies won’t charge extra for pets. Still, Consumer Reports says don’t forget about car safety. In an accident, pets can act as projectiles if they are not secured, injuring not only themselves, but the other people riding in the car. Click here for a special video from Consumer Reports with some advice on the best way for your pet to ride in the car!