It’s a common misconception that frequent travelers can’t own pets. Quite the contrary! Many pets make great little nomads and are quite happy to join you on your travels. However, not all pets make for good travel companions, so it’s important to know what’s what before getting a pet if you’re a person who travels a lot.
While many larger pets can easily handle the stress of traveling, smaller pets aren’t always so adaptable. Being small in this big world is hard enough, so adding change and loud noises to the pile is understandably difficult for the little guys! So, what’s a nomad to do when you want a small pet, but like to travel?
Not to worry, I’ve got you covered. I’ve made a list of some of the best little travel buddies around, so you can take your pick. Be sure to read to the end, as I’ve also added a section of small pets that are ok to leave home for extended periods, too!
Cats are one of the airline-approved pets that can accompany you in-flight, meaning they can be in the cabin with you (versus in the cargo bay with the luggage). There are of course rules and regulations that must be followed if you’re taking kitty on your flight, and certain countries don’t allow this so it’s always wise to check these before planning your trip.
If you’re driving to your destination, the rules are much more relaxed — unless you’re planning to cross borders, which also have rules regarding bringing in pets depending on where you’re headed. Again, it’s always wise to check all the details before setting out on your trip.
While any cat can be a travel companion based on their individual personalities, there are a few breeds that are super chill and might make better travel companions. Check out these options if you’re looking for a kitty travel partner:
Ragdolls are super Zen-like as far as cats go, and easily adapt to changes in environment. As long as they’re with their people, there’s not much that bothers them at all! These guys are naturally easy-going and get along well with children and other animals, including dogs. If you’re a regular traveler and want a buddy that won’t be put out by a regular change of scenery, this breed could be for you!
Abyssinians are another breed that are super people-focused, and are known for their funny, stress-free personalities. They do require a good amount of exercise to keep them happy and healthy, so make sure your destination can accommodate their natural need for playtime and fun. If you’ve got that handled, the Abyssinian will likely be happy to go wherever you are, bringing you some much-needed stress relief along your travels!
Siamese cats adore their people and are as smart as they are loving. While they may be a tad vocal for an airline cabin, they’re not stressed out as easily as some other cat breeds and will happily follow you to the ends of the earth once they’re bonded to you! Like Abyssinians, their superior intellect requires a good amount of attention and play to keep them happy, so keep this in mind when planning your trip.
While dogs aren’t typically considered small pets, some of them are the perfect size for traveling. They’re also one of the airline-approved pets that are allowed in-cabin, so you may want to consider a small breed if you’re looking for a travel companion. It’s important to note that puppies must be over 4 months old to fly, as they’ll need their rabies shot if you’re traveling internationally.
Dogs are great road trip buddies, too, and will likely be much happier traveling with you than they would be at home without you around. Make sure your travel pal isn’t prone to motion sickness before heading out, though — that’s not a surprise you want to find out about in the middle of a long trip!
Surprisingly, dogs make up 58% of pets travelling the world. You can even stay in a dog hotel if your nervous about where to find accommodation.
While dogs of all shapes and sizes can be great travel buddies, this article is about small pets, so I won’t include the big guys this time. If you’re looking for a pup that’s perfectly sized for traveling, here are a few small breeds that makes great nomad pets:
Frenchies are super easy-going dogs and rarely bark, making them perfect little travel companions. Their compact size and relaxed nature make it easy for them to chill in their carrier under the seat, which is a requirement for airline travel. They’re also super adaptable and will be happy wherever they are as long as you’re close by. They’re the perfect canine travel buddy, whether by road or air!
Shih Tzus are another small breed that love their people to bits and happily follow them anywhere. They also aren’t prone to barking like some other small breeds are, so they’re easy to travel with by plane or by car. These “little lion dogs” have a happy-go-lucky disposition that makes them a joy to be around, so they’ll definitely make your trip more fun if you bring them along!
While Chihuahuas aren’t the quietest of dog breeds, there are always those that are more the exception than the rule. Their small size makes them perfect travel buddies for airplanes, as long as your individual dog isn’t a nuisance barker, that is! Early training and socialization as puppies can help with this — teaching your tiny friend that the world isn’t a scary place will help avoid excessive barking.
I can hear you thinking that rats wouldn’t make good travel partners but let me explain. Rats are actually super fun to own as pets, and have a calm, loving nature about them that might surprise you. They adore being held and sitting on your shoulder and are pretty easy-going when it comes to change. While you might not be able to get away with flying with them on certain airlines, they make perfectly good road trip buddies!
Ferrets also make pretty good travel companions, provided you handle a few details beforehand. You’ll need to make sure Ferrets are legal where you’re going, as well as have their permit and vaccination information handy. It’s also a good idea to take breaks on your journey so they can get some exercise, as they don’t like being cooped up for too long! Sadly, these little comedians are limited to road trips only, but they can still make great little nomad pets!
If your trips are generally of the shorter variety, you might want to consider Guinea Pigs for your travel companions. They’re not usually allowed on airplanes, but that’s ok — car rides are safer for them and are better tolerated by Guinea Pigs anyway. They’re not great for rides of longer than 2-3 hours, so if you’re going on a longer trip, you’ll want to break it up a bit. However, taking extra steps to keep them calm and happy can turn them into great little travel pets!
If you’re after a nomad pet that loves to travel, consider a bird as your travel companion. While smaller birds will be too stressed by traveling, bigger birds often enjoy it, and would rather travel than be left at home without you! It’s important to make sure your bird species is legal where you’re going, so do that before planning your trip. Also, make considerations for your birdie friend’s health and safety first, to ensure everyone enjoys the trip.
Small Pets That Can Stay Home While You Travel
There are plenty of pets that are great travel companions. However, if you’re looking for a pet that will be ok at home without you for a few days to a week, try one of these guys:
Generally speaking, most reptiles don’t need daily feeding. Unless you have baby lizards or something similar, your reptile pets should be fine for a few days while you’re gone. Adult snakes can often go weeks without eating in the wild, but should always have fresh water available, so don’t leave them for too long — or have someone check on them weekly if you need to be away longer than that. Find out how often your chosen reptile species requires feeding before heading out and plan your trip around that.
Tarantulas make great pets for several reasons, one of these being that they don’t require daily attention or feeding. They’re quite happy to be left alone in their enclosures for days at a time, provided they have fresh water and enough space to move around comfortably. They generally only need feeding once every 7-10 days as adults, so you should be able to plan a nice trip with that amount of free time!
Fish generally need feeding every day or every couple days, which might make you think they’d be difficult to leave home alone. However, they don’t require much else from you on a daily basis, so if you can find a friend or pet sitter to come by regularly, they’ll be fine to leave at home. There are also automatic fish feeders that can handle daily feedings for as long as two weeks, so you’re free to enjoy your vacation without worry!
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