The holiday season is typically one of the busiest travel periods in the United States. Each year, millions – some with pets – board airplanes to travel across the country, visiting family and friends along the way. It does not appear that trend will change much this year; nearly half of all Americans traveled for Thanksgiving last week, and even more are likely to visit home for Christmas and New Year’s. But what does this mean for pet travel amid the pandemic?

If you’re bringing Fido or Fluffy home for the holidays, you might have a slightly harder time getting them there and back safely. Here are a few hiccups you might encounter during this strange holiday season.


Triple-Check Your Travel Plans

The day before Thanksgiving was the highest-volume travel day since March, before the pandemic began. But, despite this increased demand for air travel, some airlines are still blocking out the middle seat on planes to allow folks to socially distance while in the air. If you already have your ticket booked, you’re likely safe, but you should check in on the status for Fido or Fluffy. If you plan to bring your pet inside the cabin, check to see whether your airline has imposed additional restrictions on pets. We recommend calling the customer service line as soon as possible, as well as one week before travel.


Bring Enough Food for Fido

2020 has been a year of surprises, and the holidays will not be an exception. If you contract the novel coronavirus while visiting friends and family, you will need to quarantine for 14 days. In some cases, this may require extending your stay. If this is the case, and if you’ve brought your pet along, you’ll want to be prepared. Even if you’re only visiting for a few days, bring enough pet supplies to last you the full two weeks. You don’t want to be stuck away from home without access to your pup’s specialty food or prescription medications.


Reconsider Your Holiday Travel

Health and government officials are continuing to urge Americans to stay home for nonessential travel. Despite what your parents might say, visiting their house for Thanksgiving or Christmas isn’t always essential. Though flying on airplanes does not seem to produce super-spreader events, there are still many opportunities for you to get sick – as well as for you to transmit the virus. Adding a cat or dog into your travel equation could provide unnecessary stress and additional hurdles. If you’re traveling for the holidays, and especially if you’re bringing Fido, think seriously about staying home. Travel will still be there when the pandemic is over.