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How to Make Traveling with Your Dog Easy

Never leave man's best friend behind again

Vacation doesn't have to mean leaving your best friend at home. (Mlenny/iStock)
pet travel

Never leave man's best friend behind again

With more pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and outdoor activities popping up in our favorite destinations, it’s easier than ever to bring your dog adventuring. But getting there with your pup in tow can still pose a challenge. To help take the hassle out of traveling with your four-legged friends, we sifted through the fine print of pet policies for Amtrak and multiple airlines to find the easiest way to get there and rounded up our favorite Fido-friendly travel gear.

The Transportation

WestJet

With pet fees that start at just $38, WestJet is the cheapest way to fly with your pooch. But beware: It has slightly smaller in-cabin size restrictions for your pet’s travel container if you plan to carry them on. The airline limits the number of pets permitted on each flight, so book early.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska has a set fee of $100 whether your check your dog or keep it in the cabin with you. But the real sell is the max weight of 150 pounds for checked animals, making Alaska one of the few airlines that allows truly large dogs to fly. If you have small dogs, you can take up to two pets in one carrier into the cabin as long as there’s adequate room for both to stand up and turn around and together they don’t exceed the 20-pound weight limit.

Amtrak

With routes servicing many regions of the United States and super-cheap fees for pets, Amtrak is a great option for traveling with small pups. It costs just $25 an animal per seven hours of travel time, including train transfers. There’s a max weight of 20 pounds for the animal and its carrier, however, and your dog must be able to sit and lie down without touching the sides of a 19x14x10.5-inch container. Pet reservations are first-come, first-served, and they can sell out.

The Gear

pet travel
(Courtesy Petsfit)

Petsfit Expandable Travel Dog Carrier ($40)

This airline-approved, soft-sided carry-on container folds flat and features an expandable mesh pocket that can be deployed for extra space.

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pet travel
(Courtesy 4Knines)

4Knines Seat Cover ($60)

When a road trip turns out to be your best bet, this water- and mudproof cover will protect your back seats. Plus, the nonslip backing and adjustable straps keep it in place no matter how excitable the pooch.

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pet travel
(Courtesy Gamma2)

Gamma2 Vittles Vault Travel-tainer ($8)

The best part of this compact pet food container isn’t the six-cup capacity or that it comes with two integrated bowls for food and water. It’s how it seals tight to keep your dog’s dinner fresh for the long haul.

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pet travel
(Courtesy Ruffwear)

Ruffwear Highlands Bed ($60)

Whether you’re relaxing in a lodge or hunkering down in a campsite, your dog will love this 12-ounce, durable, waterproof, insulated bed that rolls up to just 12 by 4 inches.

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