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Travel Checklist: Book Tickets, Pack Bags, and Reserve Pet Hotel

Let’s face it: you love your pets more than anything. But sometimes (or often), places other than home call, and you have to answer your travel impulse. Sometimes you can bring your furry friend, but sadly that’s not always the case. In the event that you’re unfortunately unable to hang out with your pet yourself, here’s how you can make sure that your dog or cat (or both) have safe, happy, and entertaining places to stay while you’re on a well-deserved vacation or necessary work trip.

One of our favorite options — which offers myriad pet boarding options in itself — is Rover is a huge network of thoroughly vetted and experienced pet sitters who are dedicated to the best care for your pup or kitty. One of the best parts? Rover sitters sign up because they love doing it. The service affords several different ways to give your four-legged love(s) care on those occasions when you can’t. There’s the standard pet boarding, where sitters house your pets in their own home. Many sitters are also willing to house-sit, if you prefer for your pets to remain in a familiar environment. The Rover network means you can personally vet each sitter option through their site, as each sitter profile provides details on their pet sitting experience, testimonials from happy previous clients, and more specifics about the kind of care they provide and the pet breeds they’re most comfortable with and skilled at watching. With Rover, you know that your furry friend is getting the most personalized care.

More traditional options for pet boarding include kennels and other brick-and-mortar boarding facilities. The benefit here is establishment: since these businesses are such public presences, there’s transparency and reviews from the public. Some kennels even provide webcams that allow you to check up on your pet’s daily activity. But while the employees working at these establishments are all hired for their skill and experience caring for pets, you’re not going to get the same level of personalized care as you would if you hire an individual sitter. The rates at kennels are also likely to be higher than they would be for a sitter from a place like Rover, where each sitter sets their own rates and you can search by price per day. If your dog is a social one, though, having him or her stay at a kennel where they can play with other pups could be the perfect choice.

Then there’s always the option that’s closest to your heart: asking friends and family. This is an easy choice in the sense that you trust your own people implicitly. Plus, we’re willing to bet that they love your pets as much as they love you. When it comes to requesting the help of people already in your life, though, there are some risks involved. First of all, since the relationship is a little more relaxed than the one between you and someone you’re officially hiring, the chance of them cancelling last minute is greater. A lot of people are also wary about crossing certain lines in their personal relationships, and as delightful as your pets are, some don’t want to burden their friends and family with a weekend sitting task that may intrude on their plans.

Ultimately, if you do your research and thoroughly consider each of your options for pet boarding, you’re bound to land on something that will work best to keep your four-legged love safe and happy, and you free of worry. It all comes down to the specific needs of your pet, what each sitter or sitter service can offer, and what’s available during the dates you’ll be travelling.

Author byline: Written by Casey Dickson, community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.