How I Travel with Pets (And How You Can Too!)

Hey y'all!

I'm a 21-year-old college student with two pets. It's a little hectic at times, but I wouldn't trade it for the world! I have a 20 lb cat and a 5 lb dog (yep, you read that right). Both of them have traveled a ton and I'd like to think that I have a pretty good routine down.

Now that I'm thinking about it, they've both been to 7 states, and I've only had my dog for 4 months. And most of the time that I'm traveling, I'm usually doing it solo. So if you're heading on vacay soon and want to take your fluffy friend with you, seriously, take my advice.

Also, just for reference since I will be talking about them a lot -- Denny is my cat and Peanut is my dog!

I always drive when I have my furries with me. Whether it's 3 hours to Nashville or 9 hours to Houston. I probably won't ever fly with my pets unless I absolutely have to. I personally think they would get too stressed, and they actually both enjoy car rides! So for the sake of this blog post, I'm going to be referring to traveling with your pet road trip style.

This sounds a little silly, but try to figure out what kind of music your pets like. Denny absolutely hates instrumental music (seriously, we tried playing "Cat Music" on a road trip, and he cried until we switched to a normal radio station). Peanut is easy and doesn't really care what we are listening to. We also listen to a lot of podcasts because I think that Den just appreciates the sound of voices and it calms him down a lot.

Be mindful of how you travel with your pets in the car. God forbid that you get into an accident and your pet isn't secure. A $40 crate now will save you lots of money and heartbreak later on!


Small dogs:
So as I mentioned above, I have a 5lb chihuahua mix which makes traveling with her pretty easy. Although I would love for her to lay in my lap the whole ride, it's not safe or practical. I tried putting her in her cage on the way to Texas for her first road trip. I felt pretty guilty because she was crying and clawing at the wall pretty much the whole time.

My mom and I had the smart idea of purchasing her a doggie car seat so that she would feel less stressed about being in a cage for 8+ hours. I made the mistake of buying it from a pet store for $50, but then returned it once I found one for under $25 at Walmart. She absolutely loved it! I just clipped her in with her harness on. It took her a little to realize she couldn't get out but after that, she fell asleep for pretty much the whole ride. I linked one from Amazon above because of #AmazonPrime. Not a member yet? Try Amazon Prime with a 30-Day Free Trial.

Medium + big dogs:
If you don't have a little dog (which I also have a 90 lb rottweiler/bloodhound mix at home in Texas), then I recommend still getting some sort of seatbelt holder. They're such a smart invention, and are super affordable! Basically, you attach the holder to your dog's harness (don't use a collar, it can cause the dog to choke if your car takes any sudden movements). Then you clip it into your seatbelt buckle holder. It allows your dog to be outside of their cage which is great for when you have to take extra long trips.

I have a large-and-in-charge sized cat so we use a medium sized dog kennel when we travel with him. It's actually our dog's crate, but since she travels in the car seat, Denny gets to use it instead. If you're going to use a crate (whether for a dog or a cat), make sure that it's the right size for your pet. They should have enough room to stand up! Our crate also has a bed in the bottom of it, which Den really likes to slip underneath and sleep with, so I recommend having some sort of blanket or bed that your cat can cozy up with!

I know that traveling with a cat can be much more difficult than a dog because of the litterbox situation. Any time that I stop for gas, I let Den out for a few minutes and he usually does his business no problem if he has to go. I also recommend immediately scooping it because no one wants to smell cat pee for 4 hours while trapped in a car. I try to avoid giving him too much water throughout the trip, but I give him a little every few hours. He's been traveling since he was 3 months old, so he's pretty used to it. If your cat is on the anxious side, talk to your vet about medication! It will help mellow them out so much which makes travel better for you and kitty.

Did you know that most La Quinta hotels are pet-friendly with no extra pet fee?? That's right, there's no need to shell out any extra money just because you wanted to take little Fido with you. Just be sure to double check that the location you're staying at is pet-friendly, but so far, I haven't had any issues!

If you need other options check out No one likes leaving their pet in their hotel room, so you can also use the site to find fun things to do, places to eat, and lots more!

Always remember to take your pet's paperwork with you! In case of an emergency, it is important to have all of their records on hand. If you don't want the hassle of carrying paper with you, take photos and keep them on your phone. You never know what can happen so it's always best to be prepared.
This may seem obvious, but I've definitely forgotten to pack a bowl for the pet's food and water before. I recommend purchasing one of the collapsible dish sets and just leaving them in your car for whenever you're traveling. That way when you're on the road, you can grab a water bottle and just fill up a bowl instead of trying to pour it while your pet drinks. Been there, done that. 

The number one thing I cannot stand is when people don't clean up after their dog. Like HELLO!!! That's part of being a responsible dog owner!! You never know when you might have to pull over for your pet to go to the bathroom, so I recommend bringing along some bags. Just be a decent human so that no one has to ruin their day by stepping in dog poop.

That's all I have for you, friends! If you have anything that you think I forgot about or a travel hack that I should know, please leave it down in the comments below! I love hearing from my readers and I can always use more advice for making travel with my pets easier. Thanks for checking out this post!


1 comment

  1. Yay, another college student with pets! I have two bunnies (Aspen and Stan) who are fab and the cutest things ever. I only travel with them when I have to bring them back and forth for breaks. I put them in a carrier together so they can cuddle during the 5 hour car ride! Otherwise, I ask my roommates to look after them if I'm just going away for a weekend. Rabbits and hotel rooms probably don't mix well! Your dog is adorable!

    Lauren //