Travelling with Pets: Your Ultimate Guide


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Dreaming of a beautiful, busy, beach-side break? Or, maybe you’re keen for a relaxing roadtrip that ends with you kicking back around the campfire. Perhaps it’s a city escape that floats your boat. Like the 62% of Aussie households who own a pet, your furry best friend is a beloved member of your family… Do you hate the thought of leaving them behind for a holiday and are wondering if travelling with pets can be fun and fuss-free?

The good news is, taking your pet on your next beach getaway, countryside camping session or multi-stop road trip is easier than you think. In this blog, we’ll give you the keys to making traveling with your pet fun and fuss-free.

If you’re keen to explore the ins and outs of travelling, overnight stays and more with animals, check out our article on travelling with dogs, cats and horses.

How Well Does Your Pet Travel?

When you’re travelling with pets, it’s worth remembering that animals rely heavily on their senses to make sense of their world. Different sights, smells and sounds can cause excitement or stress. Each animal responds differently depending on the environment and the length of time travelling.

Also, when it comes to travelling interstate, some exotic pets are restricted or require permits due to quarantine. This could mean your original travel plans need to change.

Some of the most common travel companions are dogs, cats and horses. According to our latest research, of the 26% of pet owners who will take their pet road tripping in Australia in the 12 months to April 2021, 91% will take their dog/s and 12% their cat/s.

Pets like guinea pigs, rabbits or reptiles are best left with friend, neighbour or at a boarding house because they usually don’t travel well. Besides, how would you explain the loss of your pet rodent or snake in the holiday house?

Travelling with a bird? Your pet budgie or cockatiel might be playful and happy at home, but the stress of travel can be fatal for them. Having said that, larger birds such as parrots, cockatoos and macaws can suffer from separation anxiety so a well-planned trip with you might be something they love.

The best approach? Arm yourself with knowledge to make the best decision for you and your friend. Whatever species they may be, it’s always best to ask advice from your vet beforehand and to have your pet’s health checked. Animals are their profession, after all.

vet with cat in cat box

Destinations Friendly to Travelling with Pets

When deciding on a destination for you and your purrfect pal we recommend you balance your needs with those of your pet and other holiday goers.

It’s also important to note that pets are not permitted in Australia’s national parks. Why? This is due to the effects they have on the flora and fauna while you’re there (the only exception is assistance animals).

Some of the best places to venture together on that much needed break are:

  • Camping and caravaning
  • Regional beach holidays
  • Ranch and farm stays

Alternatively, you might want a city break. With research, that will work too – there are plenty of choices available these days.

Thanks to a plethora of pet-friendly accommodation options that cater for a wide range of pets, booking the right place is a cinch. If their website doesn’t outline what pets are accepted then call ahead to double check.

Calm, Comfortable Car Travel

The key to stress-free car travel with your furry BFF is planning and safety.

The first thing to remember is that animals can get motion sickness just like people. It’s a good idea to pack some travel sickness remedies just in case, along with any other medication they usually take. And put a towel down just in case.

As for safety, while there’s no law saying you need to secure your pet in the car, you will be fined if they cause you to lose full control while driving and it is illegal to drive with an animal on the driver’s lap. For good reason.

It makes sense to reduce driver distractions inside the car. You don’t want your pup to be one of the 5000 who get injured or killed each year after falling or jumping from a moving car. You also don’t want them to be a projectile when you have to brake suddenly.

On the Road Essentials

You need to avoid dehydration by planning to stop around every 2 hours or so and this applies whether you’re travelling in winter, summer or somewhere in between. This allows your pet time to stretch their legs, use the toilet and have something to eat or drink.

Keep a close eye on them for travel sickness signs and tend to it as soon as you see it occurring. If you’ve ever been seasick and stuck out on the water you know how debilitating it can be. You also know how much you just want to return home once it hits.

Importantly, never leave your pet in the car, even for just a few minutes. Our pets can’t regulate their body temperature like humans and a few short minutes in a hot car can be fatal. Not a holiday to remember.

Does My Car Insurance Cover Pet Travel?

This is a great question. You won’t be covered if you’re travelling illegally with your pet – if you “carry more passengers than permitted by law, loaded above the legal weight limit, or loaded in an illegal way.” Make sure your pet is safe and secured. See our PDS for more info on being covered in an accident.

When it comes to rules, demerit points and fines, each state or territory is different. Refer to these links for more information:

Top Tips to Travelling with Dogs, Cats and Horses

Are you taking your journey with a dog, cat or horse? Explore what to pack, where to stay, which checks to make before you leave and the 5 essentials of travel with each type of animal, in this blog post. Between that and this article you’ll be travelling much more confidently.

Not to mention including pet insurance in your arsenal – then you’ll be covered for a whole range of illness and injury costs if your fur kid is unlucky enough to run into trouble while on hols.

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