June 16, 2024

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5 Tips for Traveling with an Emotional Support Animal

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For the 61 million adults in the US with a disability, traveling with an emotional support animal might change your world. Review these tips before you leave home.

According to the CDC, more than 61 million adults in the US alone live with disabilities. For those with mental or emotional disabilities, such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression, emotional support animals are beneficial. Because many people with those conditions can find it challenging to travel and be around other people, traveling with an emotional support animal can make the traveling experience easier and more enjoyable. However, before you plan on traveling with an emotional support animal, you should take note of the following five tips.

1. Find Out How Much Fees Cost Before You Travel

Not long ago, you could take emotional support animals on flights leaving the United States free of charge. But in 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation eliminated the requirement for airlines to provide free services.

While you can still fly with service animals, such as hearing dogs and dogs that assist people with visual impairments, if you’re traveling with an emotional support animal on an airplane, you’ll have to pay the same fee as for any other type of pet.

Traveling with an Emotional Support Animal

There are usually fees to carry emotional support pets on airlines. Photo by humonia via iStock by Getty Images

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Those fees can be hefty. Major airlines tend to charge between $100 and $125 each way. So, you should always find out how much the fees are for traveling with your pet before you book a flight.

While you will have already applied for emotional support dog registration, you no longer need to prove the status of your emotional support animal when flying because the free service has been eliminated.

2. Make Sure Your Pet Is Healthy Enough to Travel

When traveling by air, many airlines require you to provide proof that your pet is healthy enough to travel. Delta and American Airlines are just two airlines that require health records from veterinarians to be provided for emotional support animals.

Traveling with an Emotional Support Animal

Ensure your pet has the proper paperwork to fly. Photo by SeventyFour via iStock by Getty Images

The last thing you want is to arrive at the airport only to discover you don’t have the right documentation to fly with your pet. So, be sure to find out what the rules are for the airline you’re traveling with ahead of time.

3. Find Out About Destination Restrictions

Whether you fly to another country or travel by sea, you need to ensure your emotional support animal is allowed to enter the country you’re visiting and find out what the rules and restrictions are.

When flying, depending on the country you’re traveling to, you could be required to place your pet in the cargo area of your plane, rather than take it as a carry-on pet.

If you suffer from something like anxiety, you may need your pet in your arms during the journey, so you need to find out what the regulations are before you book your trip.

4. Check Ship Restrictions

If you’re traveling by sea, you also need to check ahead of time to find out what the rules and regulations are concerning traveling with emotional support animals.

Service dogs are welcome on cruise lines, but emotional support animals may not be. For normal pets, only a few cruise lines allow them on board.

Traveling with an Emotional Support Animal

Only a very few cruises allow pets. Be sure to check before you book. Photo by Kristiinatammik via iStock by Getty Images

If you’re allowed to travel with your emotional support animal, you also need to find out whether your pet can stay in your cabin, whether it can have its own cabin, or whether it needs to travel in the ship’s kennel facilities.

5. Be Prepared for Road Trips

You can avoid airline and cruise line requirements by going on a road trip. When traveling by car, make sure you have enough food and water for your emotional support animal to last the duration of the journey.

If you’re traveling with a dog, you can best ensure its safety by placing it in a crate that’s anchored to the car with a seat belt. If you’re taking your cat, keep it in a carrier so that it doesn’t bounce around and become distressed or injured.

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Traveling with an Emotional Support Animal

Emotional support animals can offer great companionship to people with emotional and mental disabilities. While traveling with an emotional support animal can be a great benefit for you, be sure to check out all of the details before you set out on your trip. Once you’ve made the proper inquiries, have the proper licenses, and understand the costs and responsibilities, you’re able to set out and explore. Be sure to check out Wander for some of our favorite pet-friendly travel destinations.

61 million adults in the US have a disability. If you're traveling with an emotional support animal, review these tips before you leave home.

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5 Tips for Traveling with an Emotional Support Animal

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