It used to be quite rare to find a pet in the cabin of a plane; but according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 2 million pets are transported by air every year in the U.S. Out of curiosity, I went to a couple websites to see how much it costs to travel with a pet:

  • Southwest – $95 per pet carrier
  • Delta – $125
  • American – $125
  • Jet Blue – $100 (non-refundable, but the fee also earns 300 points/segment)

So if your holiday plans include a trip to see family or a well-deserved vacation, you can take Fifi along for another $190 to $250. If you’re staying at a hotel, tack on another $10 to $85/night at a Holiday Inn.

Hypothetically speaking, a family flying with a pet next week could pay an extra $260 to $845 if they stay at a hotel for the week.

Southwest           –              $190                                    Delta                    –              $250
Holiday Inn          –              $  70                                    Holiday Inn          –              $595

Other options

Some pets do better in their own environment, though. So if traveling with your pet doesn’t really work, a pet sitter will be more than happy to take care of your pet in your home (or theirs) for around $25 to $60 a day. That puts the bill at between $175 and $420.

Another option is to board them at a kennel. Boarding fees start at $12 and usually go up to $26/day, according to So that comes to $84 on the low end and $182 on the high end — but I’m sure the fees don’t end there with kennels.

The least expensive route — and one that could help you keep that money in your savings account — may be to ask a relative or family friend to pet-sit for you. I loved taking care of Sasha (a perky Pomeranian) and Oreo (another friend’s kitty) when my friends traveled.

You can have some fun experiences helping someone manage pet care expenses. One time, I kept an African parrot for a week. Sitting opposite the cage to watch the bird on the first night, I ate my dinner and found myself in a staring match. When I lost, I started to look out the window instead – and that’s when it finally spoke to me: “Is it good?” Ha! I went over to the cage and shared some of my food, but it wouldn’t eat until I looked away. After a while, it spoke again: “Want some more?”

Is this what you’re accustomed to paying for pet care when traveling? What is the most you’ve paid for pet care while you’re gone? How do you minimize the cost of pet care on vacation?