School holidays are always a lot of fun. Or, at least, they should be.

It’s a time when schools are out across the nation, and families have a chance to relax and enjoy themselves away from home for a while. Many people enjoy vacationing during this time, and the idea of travel with a little pet companionship is becoming more commonplace every day. But, like most things worth doing, enjoying your school holidays with pets requires some forethought to keep everyone safe… and sane.

Basically, you need to plan ahead for every activity you’re thinking of doing. Have your holiday mapped out, know what you want to do and what day you plan to do it on. If possible, call ahead to each location and determine if they are pet friendly or not, as well as checking out the fine print involved.

If accommodation is involved, call your hotel or rental property and make sure you’re on top of their rules in detail, including whether your fur baby is allowed inside, on furniture, or if you need to bring vaccination certificates with you.

Some hotels won’t allow you to leave your pet in your room or house unattended, which can make for some awkward trips to the zoo or nature reserve if you suddenly have to pretend you have an extra child in tow…

If you plan to travel with pets, you’ll also need to keep them away from any group that is visibly partying. Alcohol is poisonous to most household pets, including dogs, but it unfortunately tastes rather sweet to them. To keep your pet safe, make sure that he stays away from any liquid that you do not pour for him yourself.

With parties also usually come a whole host of other scary substances, like chocolate, allergy-inducing foods like nuts or onion, and scary sounds like fireworks, loud noises, or children who might not be… erm… trained for the correct handling of pets.

Even if an area is pet friendly, you should be prepared to deal with the massive increase in crowds that school holidays bring about. Tourist attractions of all sizes are going to see an increase in the number of people visiting, simply because it is school holiday. If in doubt, it’s a good idea to keep your dog on a short leash at all times, and have an escape plan in case the little guy wigs out.

Use your website to find areas that are more likely to be less crowded during holidays, like less popular beaches, quieter parks and reserves, or shopping and dining strips away from the main strip.

And remember, like with kids, if your pet isn’t enjoying itself, the holiday can quickly become miserable for everyone involved. (There’s nothing like a guilt trip to ruin even the best vacation mood.)

Keep your pet’s comfort in mind and stay alert for anything that could turn your school holiday trip into a nightmare away from home.

Oh, and have fun. Won’t you?

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