Vacation Pet Care Without Breaking the Bank

Deciding who will care your pets while you are on vacation is big decision, both for personal peace of mind and financial reasons. Because pets are members of the family, it is important their needs are met and that you feel comfortable that they are being cared for so you can enjoy your vacation. But pet care while you are away can be a considerable expense depending on the length of time and the number of pets.

Here are four options to consider when planning pet care for your next vacation:

Take Your Pet with You

Many pet owners decide to take their pet with them on vacation, especially for extended trips or trips by car. Consider your pet’s personality. Would they would enjoy the trip or would rather stay at home and sleep on the couch? Does your pet love to go for car rides or do they get car sick? Think about where your pet would stay while you are sightseeing and if Fido would be happy in hiscrate in a strange place. Check out or search on to find a pet friendly hotel. Be sure to ask about any additional pet charges or deposits for lodging.

Swap with a Neighbor

The most economical option is to find a friend or neighbor to trade off caring for each other’s pets for free during vacations.  “The best pet sitters are those people that your pets already know and love,” said Candi Wingate, President Care4Hire. This may be more feasible for low maintenance pets like cats rather than a puppy that needs to be walked several times a day. Be sure that the person that you swap with is someone you trust to be in your home and to care for your pets in an emergency. Discuss how often each neighbor is comfortable caring for each other’s pets in case one person travels more than another.

Board Your Dogs at a Kennel

While many people hesitate at the image of their dog in a kennel, many kennels now offer private rooms for dogs, playtime with other dogs and hand walks. Since prices can vary greatly, call several nearby kennels to find out rates and be sure to ask if there are any discounts for multiple pets. Inquire about additional fees, such as walks, play times or medication fees.  Remember if you board your pet at a kennel, you will most likely still need someone to get your mail and water your plants at your house.

Hire a Pet sitter

While many people assume that a professional pet sitter is the most expensive option, in many cases it can actually be cheaper than a kennel.  “If you have multiple dogs, the cost of boarding can really add up,” said Lindsay Stordahl, pet sitter with “Most kennels will only give a small discount for boarding your second dog. But many pet sitters do not charge anything extra for multiple pets.”  Compare the cost of a kennel  vs. a pet sitter to come to your house before making a decision. Another way to save money is to hire a trusted teenager to take care of your pets since they typically charge much less than professional pet sitters.

The cost of a pet sitter is largely dependent on how many times you have the person come to your house each day.  Stordahl also recommends giving your dog access to a fenced backyard while you are gone, such as through a doggie door, to help reduce the number of visits you need. Many pet sitters will also get your mail, water you plants and even feed any fish that you have.