This summer, many pet owners are taking vacations and bringing their four-legged family members along for the ride.  Before you decide to travel with your canine or cat companion, follow these tips to prepare for a smooth trip.

Call Ahead: Call your hotel and inquire about the pet policy. Be sure to ask if there are any restrictions. For instance, the hotel may have restrictions regarding the weight or breed of your animal. Some hotels only allow dogs under 50 pounds to be checked in. The hotel may charge a nonreturnable fee or require a deposit.

Take a Shorter Trip: Your dog may enjoy riding in the car to go to the park or to the store. But can your dog handle a longer journey? Take a shorter trip than the one you plan to make to ensure your dog doesn’t get car sick or anxious.

Update Your Information: Check your dog’s tag to make sure it includes your current address and telephone number. You can also add your hotel’s phone number or a friend or relative’s contact information, in the instance that you cannot be reached. Also make sure your animal’s vaccinations are up-to-date.

Click here to find out what you should pack for your pet and what to do in case a pet emergency strikes.

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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