How to Make Traveling with Your Dog Easy
Never leave man's best friend behind again
Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bring Fido (Free; iOS and Android)
Search the database on this website and app for dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, parks, beaches, events, and more.