Owning a pet always has its challenges. One of the challenges is whether to take your pets on the road with you when you travel. Whether you travel for work or for play the challenges is the same. There are considerations for safety and comfort that need to be part of your travel plan. When planning your next travel nurse assignment there are a few things to consider.
As someone who has traveled with my pets, I offer a few tips to lessen the stress of preparing to hit the road.
Communicate your plan.
When working with a recruiter to plan your next assignment make sure they know early in the process you intend to bring a pet or pets. If you plan on using the agency free housing they need to know breed and weight for dogs. Many rental properties have breed and weight restrictions for dogs. You don’t want to get to your new temporary home to find out your pet does not meet their guidelines.
Advance planning is recommended.
First, you need to determine the mode of travel to your new assignment. I personally like to drive and find it less stressful than planning to fly. No matter how you plan to get there advance preparation and planning is important.
If I am driving I plot out my overnight stops and reserve a room in a pet-friendly hotel. Some hotels require a pet deposit so find out when you reserve your room if that is the case and plan for it. Book your rooms early especially if traveling during the holidays.
If you prefer to fly make your pet reservations at the same time you make yours. The airlines have begun to clamp down on the number and type of pets allowed on board and in the cargo hold.
A visit to your vet before your travel is always a good idea.
A visit to the vet can assure you that your pet is good for travel. You need to obtain a health certificate and an updated shot record. Make sure to have copies handy in case they are required at a hotel or security checkpoint. Your new housing accommodations may also require a copy for their records and insurance purposes.
Your dog will need an up to date rabies tag, Also it is good to have contact information on dog or cat. the best thing is to have them chipped in case you are separated. At the least have a collar with contact info that is easy to identify.
Time to get acclimated to travel.
My dogs love a road trip, all I have to do is say let’s go for a ride and they are out the door. If you are driving consider a kennel for travel. If they are not used to being kenneled then a car seat or seat belt may be best. Make sure before you start on the road that your dog or cat will adjust to being secured. There are several options for securing your pet so find what you think will work and do a short test drive.
When traveling by air your pet must be kenneled. There are specific TSA-approved kennels you will need. Make sure whatever restraint methods you use that your pet is used to it before you travel. According to The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Your Pet you may want to rehearse with your pet. You will make your travel nurse adventure less stressful and more enjoyable if you get your pet used to traveling.
Give yourself time to get settled
You may want to arrive a couple of days before you report to your first day of a new travel job. Give you and your pet some time to settle in. I would not recommend leaving your pet alone in your new housing soon after arriving. A pet may need time to get comfortable and accepting of their new surroundings before you add the stress of leaving.
Be prepared in case of a pet emergency while you’re traveling.
I travel frequently with my fur babies. I make sure that I am aware of where to find an emergency vet if one is needed. On a recent trip, one of my babies suffered a sprain and I had to take him in for x-rays and treatment. I use a vet that has nationwide locations so they have my pets records on file. If this is not an option for you then make sure you know where to take them in an emergency.
Travel with your pets can make any trip more enjoyable. You can travel with peace of mind and less stress when you prepare. You can find more information on why it is beneficial to travel with your pet on our site.