Vacationing with pets means added cost

SAN ANTONIO – If you’re a pet owner, it’s no secret that leaving your dog or cat home with a sitter or in a kennel is a pricey addition to your vacation costs. But don’t assume that bringing your pet on your trip will always be cheaper.  

If you do plan to take your pet along, Consumer Reports says the first step is to plan ahead. 

“Make sure your pooch is ready to fly by getting a health certificate from your veterinarian, including vaccinations, so you can show it to the airline and anywhere else who might  require it,” said Consumer Reports’ Donna Rosato.  

If your pet doesn’t already have a microchip, travel experts say you should get one. 

As for costs, 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 to many destinations with a small dog in the cabin. 

Because your pet carrier will count as a carry-on, you may need to pay to check your suitcase. And a travel-compliant carrier can cost you $35 to more than $100.

Also, reserve a spot for your pet ahead of time on the train or airline. They allow only a certain number of pets to ride under a seat. Larger dogs often need to fly in the cargo hold, costing $100 to close to $1,000 each way. Many airlines don't allow snub-nosed breeds like French bulldogs to fly at all because they can have difficulty breathing at high altitudes.

As for lodging, if you’re allowed to bring your dog, many hotels will charge a fee from $20 to $100. Some chains let pets stay free.

If you need more space, you  may find a larger accommodation on Airbnb or VRBO that will let you bring a pet, often for a fee.    

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