Flying with Pet Rodents: The Rules for Traveling With Your Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, or Rat

Flying with Pet Rodents

Most travel agencies address traveling with pets such as dogs and cats, but tell an agent you’re bring along a pet rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, etc. and you’re likely to get a confused pause and then be passed among numerous people, none of whom know the proper procedure for bringing your furry friend aboard an airplane. But, if you’re slightly knowledgeable about the rules for your carrier and have allotted extra time before your trip to make arrangements, traveling with a pet rodent can be easy and relatively stress-free for both of you.

You’ll want to take your pet as a carry-on in the cabin with you as most rodents are too fragile to travel as checked luggage. Of course it goes without saying that your pet should be in good health before you attempt to travel with it. So, the first thing you must do is determine what the restrictions are as far as traveling carriers go for your airline. Most airlines post the dimensions on their websites, typically under the “Special Needs” section. For example, Continental’s maximum dimensions for hard sided carriers are 22″ Length x 14″ Width x 9″ Height. These dimensions are very important to follow because if your carrier is too large to fit under the seat in you will have to check your pet. Personally, I prefer a soft-sided carrier for my guinea pig as I’ve found that fewer people in the airport (children mostly) approach it asking what I have inside and peering into it.

The fewer people poking at your pet’s carrier the better as travel is already fairly stressful for them and you want to create as calm an environment as possible. You should also be aware that you might only be able to bring one pet per person in the cabin and that advance arrangements or notifying the airline are usually a requirement. Most airlines will be able to accommodate two small rodents if you make advance arrangements and if both animals travel in the same carrier, but it’s best to call your particular carrier’s customer service to ensure this is an option. When you do call to make arrangements be prepared to explain exactly what type of animal you have and how large it is (both size and weight).

Once you’ve got your pet’s carrier and advance arrangements have been made you’re ready for the actual day of travel. You’ll want to feed your pet at least 4 hours before your flight. A full stomach can be uncomfortable for them with the pressure changes, so it’s best to feed them well ahead of time. Water, however, should be available before the flight. I typically bring along a small bottle and allow my pet to drink before boarding the plane and during any layovers we might have. Putting a soft towel, or t-shirt that smells like your pet or you inside the carrier will also help with stress as well as providing an absorbent layer for any “messes” that might happen along the way. Most rodents burrow when frightened, so a bit of extra fabric allows them to tunnel should they begin to feel unsafe. You will not be able to check-in from a self-service or curbside and will want to allow plenty of extra time for checking in at the counter. Most, if not all, airlines have a fee for bringing pets on board so be prepared to shell out extra cash at check-in in order to get your live animal sticker and the ok for your pet to board.

Security checkpoints are not a hassle if you know what to expect. Know that you will need to take off your shoes, jacket, and take your pet out of its carrier and hold it as you walk through the metal detector (the carrier goes through the x-ray machine, sans critter). I recommend wearing slip on shoes for ease and letting the guard know you have a pet before you start opening the carrier. Your pet might be frightened by all the new sounds and smells so you’ll want to be as calm as possible and speak in a soothing voice to help them know everything is ok. It also helps to hold your pet close to your chest and support both its front and hind quarters to repress their natural urge to flee. Once you make it through the metal detector place your animal back in the carrier and give your boarding pass and any papers you were given for your pet to the security representative. Then, you can head to the gate to await boarding. Please note that you will not be able to take out your pet on board the plane and possibly while in the airport.

Once you reach your destination, open the carrier and coax your furry friend out of it’s carrier with its favorite treat. Know that it might take awhile for your guinea pig, mouse, hamster, rabbit, rat, etc. to become accustomed to its new surroundings. If you’ve done everything you can to be well prepared for your trip however, it should be a fairly hassle-free experience for both you and your pet. Happy Vacationing!

Travel Tips for the Budget Conscious

Travel Tips for the Budget Conscious

Traveling this summer? Are high gas prices causing you to rethink your travels? Not sure if you will have enough money to get to your destination after filling up your tank? Are airline tickets too pricey for your liking? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. Many people are rethinking traveling altogether because of budget concerns. If thought out carefully and with a budget in mind, you can take a great trip this summer you just have to know how to plan accordingly, to save yourself that much needed money!

Once your destination is decided, it is important to start thinking about lodging. If lodging is too expensive at the particular city you are visiting, try looking at surrounding cities. Often times the smaller surrounding cities have much cheaper lodging than the larger cities. Begin your search for budget saving lodging by scouring the Internet. Many times websites such as Priceline.com, Hotels.com, and Expedia.com have excellent hotel deals on most major tourist destinations.

Another secret that many may not know is to actually call the hotel you are interested in. Many times booking directly with the hotel can save you money over booking online. If not calling the hotel directly, get as many different quotes from all the different online sites as possible, then compare who can get you the room the cheapest. The obvious answer would be to book with the cheaper site, since you are traveling on a budget.

Once you have found quotes on a hotel, the decision needs to be made as to how to get there. Will you be driving, flying, taking a bus or a train? For many people, driving this summer will be expensive it may end up almost as expensive as flying. If choosing to fly, think about how you will go from place to place once you reach your destination. Will you rent a car, take a taxi, or will you easily be within walking distance of each attraction you wish to see? If you know that walking won’t be an option and decide to fly and then rent a car, think about this added expense. Renting a car can be expensive especially when added onto to your airline fare; it may be cheaper to drive to your destination.

If flying, there are ways to not break your budget. Many websites do offer cheaper flights. However, another little unknown tip is to call the airline directly or book through the specific airline’s website. I have found numerous flights directly on an airline’s website that are much cheaper than booking through an online travel site. Many people are not aware of this secret, but it can save an airline passenger quite a bit of money, especially if booking early.

If flying, most of the time it is much cheaper to fly out of major metropolitan airports than smaller city airports. Try flying into a major city also; this cuts back on budget busting airfare prices. If you absolutely cannot fly into our out of major cities, many smaller airports offer airlines such as Southwest, Air Tran, Jet Blue and Frontier. Flying one of these airlines, if possible, can be much cheaper than booking a flight with one of the bigger airlines.

If renting a car once you arrive at your destination, know that you need to book a car rental at least 14 days in advance to receive a discounted rates. Car rental agencies also offer coupons for travelers and many agencies give discounts if renting the vehicle for one week. Another tip on car rentals: don’t rent from the airline car rental terminal. These terminals may charge you an airline fee to rent the car. If possible, rent a car from an agency not located at the airport. This little bit of information can often times save you from 10 to 15 dollars a day.

With gas prices so high these days, many people may think flying or taking a train is cheaper. Train travel can actually be expensive, if you choose to purchase a sleeping car. These cars are much more comfortable and allow for a bed to sleep on, but are much more expensive than just renting a chair in one of the travel cars. If comfort isn’t important to you, and you have extra travel time, than train travel may be for you. Keep in mind that train travel can go very slow, with many starts and stops throughout your journey. If your wish is to get to your destination more quickly, than train travel may not be the right choice for you.

If you choose to drive to your destination, no matter how far it may be for you, remember that you may need lodging throughout the trip until you reach your destination. If you are brave, many people choose to drive straight through until they reach the city they want to vacation in. This can be tiring and it can mean a grueling amount of time in the car. But, it can also save you the cost of extra hotel stays on the way.

Gas prices are high. A good way to decide if it would be cheaper to fly, drive, or take the train is estimate how much each form of travel will cost you. Make sure to add in extra hotel lodging, car rentals, etc. if needed. Once you have determined which form of transportation is cheapest, then you can begin to actually book your flights. If driving, a good website to find the cheapest gas in each city you may be driving through is the following: www.gasbuddy.com. This website should be able to tell you where the cheapest gas is found in many cities throughout the country. The best part is, it is absolutely free!

Traveling, especially with the high price of everything these days, can be expensive. Knowing some important tips can help to save you money, and may even allow you to take a much-needed vacation to a place you thought you couldn’t afford!

Travel Tips for International Vacations

International Vacations

International vacations can be extremely fun. There’s just something about traveling to a different country in a different part of the world that is exciting. You get to experience a different culture, different food, sometimes even an entirely different lifestyle than your own. When you travel on an international vacation it is important to follow some general guidelines and safety tips.

Safety is one of the most important things to take into consideration when you travel on an international vacation. When you travel on an international vacation you should do whatever you can to keep from becoming a victim of theft. This is important regardless of the part of the world that you travel to on your international vacation. Make sure that you do not wear expensive jewelry or clothes. If you travel to a poor neighborhood, do not have your camera out.

Try to secure your belongings as much as possible when you travel on an international vacation. When there is a safe available at your hotel or hostel, use it only if it looks secure. When you travel with money on an international vacation, use a money clip only when you have to and use the kind that is worn on the inside of your clothing.

When you travel on an international vacation you should never leave your luggage unattended. This is one of the most important things to do when you travel on an international vacation. As long as your luggage is with you, no one will get a chance to steal it. Use padlocks if you can to deter thieves from breaking into your luggage when you are on an international vacation.

Make sure that you are always aware of where you are going. Many people that travel on an international vacation tend to wander around aimlessly. This makes them a target for muggers and thieves. Use a map to determine where you will be going on that day. Memorize the route so that you know what streets to look for. If you travel on an international vacation and walk around with a map in your head, others will know that you are lost. If you need to refer to your map along the way, you should move out of traffic and place your back on a wall that is still in or near the bustling parts of town. Look at the map and try to memorize the next few steps that you will make. Once you have done this put the map away and continue on.

Always be aware of your surroundings when you travel on an international vacation. Feel free to enjoy the sites and the culture because that is the purpose of the international vacation. Just make sure that you also pay attention when you travel. Trust your instincts and gut feelings about where you are. If something seems wrong, then it probably is. It will be hard to know the unspoken rules of the place that you travel to on an international vacation, but try to be as sure of your surroundings as you possibly can.

Road Trip Travel Tips for Maine Vacations

Road Trip Travel

Maine is a beautiful vacation destination for anyone who enjoys wildlife, breathtaking mountain views, picturesque coastlines, and outdoor activities, but before you take to the roads of Maine, you should know what you’re getting yourself into.

Road Trip Travel Tips for Maine Vacations

Roadside billboards are illegal on Maine highways, so ugly ads will never distract you from the natural beauty of the land. The passenger (not the driver!) should always have a camera ready. Some of the best scenery in Maine can be seen from your car and in most areas, it is safe to pull over to snap a few pictures.

Road Trip Travel Tips for Maine Vacations

Leave your shiny new BMW at home. Rent a car if you plan on traveling anywhere outside of the big city of Portland. Driving along Maine’s roads can be quite an adventure. Everyday behind the wheel is exciting when the roads have potholes, frost heaves, wildlife, mud, dirt, dust, falling rocks, logging trucks, old pick-em-up trucks that seem to throw objects under your tires, and big rigs that spit rocks at your windshield.

Road Trip Travel Tips for Maine Vacations

Be extra cautious of our road signs and take them seriously. ‘Falling rocks’ really does mean that rocks are likely to fall down a mountainside and hit your windshield. In the Greenville area, “Moose Crossing” means that moose are likely to not only cross the road, but stand in the road, lie in the road, and sleep in the road. Also beware of beavers and porcupines. Even though they have not been given the honor of official road signs, these smaller animals can be just as dangerous if you swerve to avoid hitting them.

Road Trip Travel Tips for Maine Vacations

When driving up and down hills, you must adjust your vehicle’s gas peddle accordingly. Tourists from Florida are easy to spot because ‘flatlanders’ go 20 mph up the hill and 90 mph down the hill. It takes some getting used to, but it is possible to maintain a steady speed while driving over hills.

Road Trip Travel Tips for Maine Vacations

The spring frost indicates many things. Summer is right around the corner, flowers will soon be in bloom, mud season is here, and road construction must begin. Maine roads have improved drastically over the last decade or two, but that improvement also comes with a cost. Road construction in Maine can cause tardiness, stress, confusion, and the occasional mental breakdown.

Road Trip Travel Tips for Maine Vacations

If you’re traveling to Maine in the winter, be courteous and cautious around plow trucks. If you’re traveling to Maine in the spring, don’t bother going to the carwash to clean the mud off your car until the end of your trip. If you’re traveling to Maine in the summer, be prepared to spend hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic in popular areas, like the one and only road to Bar Harbor. If you are traveling to Maine in the fall, try to pay attention to the road ahead of you. I know the changing leaves are pretty, but leaf-peeper rubber-necking can be dangerous and my car’s bumper can’t handle another rear-end collision!