It’s Time To Start Thinking About Traveling With Your Pets This Summer

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

As I write this, the view from my office is pretty depressing. It is a cold, damp, dreary spring day and the little taste of nice weather we got last week is nothing but a fading memory. But somewhere in the United States, the sun is shining and it is actually warm. And that can only mean one thing. Summer is almost here, and it is time to start thinking about traveling with your pet. So here are a few things to keep in mind.

Getting there

Flying in the lap of luxury

Not too long ago, I came across this really cool story about the new service for pets and their owners offered by the private jet charter company, VistaJet. It’s called VistaPet, and it sounds awesome — if you can afford it.

Because a lot of its members fly with their pets, the company says it created the program to facilitate the experience. Benefits include an inflight care package called a pochette. Basically this is a travel bag containing pet care items, such as bio-organic good, treats, toys, shampoos and wipes  for use during and after the flight.

On certain flights, pets can feast on gourmet meals featuring “prime cuts of fresh meat and fish.” For instance, the company says a “typical meal” could include  “an entrée of roast tenderloin, baked salmon or roast chicken served with steamed, roasted or raw vegetables and whole grain brown rice.”

The company also says its Cabin Hostesses will offer  “natural flower essences” that can be  mixed with your pet’s drinking water to help them relax during the flight.

But that’s not all. Through its partnership with The Dog House, VistaJet  also offers help for dogs that are afraid of flying. The month-long course, which is only available for pets belonging to members,  helps canine participants cope with common experiences while traveling such as the smell of jet fuel, the noise generated by jet engines, cabin air pressure and turbulence.

Speaking of turbulence, VistaJet cites regulations stipulating that pets — who can otherwise hangout on handmade “sleep mats” must be on their leashes or in carriers “during take-off, landing and any turbulence.” However, the rule does not apply to Guide Dogs.

If you recently hit a mega-lottery and you want to learn more about VistaJet and the VistaPet program, you can learn more here.  If you’re already a VistaJet member but you’ve never flown with your pet before, the company recommends calling customer service. Here’s the information you should have on hand:

  • Type of pet
  • Breed
  • Weight
  • Microchip info
  • (Your) passport details
  • Information about your pet’s most recent rabies vaccine
  • Information about your pet’s treatment (if any) for tapeworm and other parasites
  • Flight history

Pet friendly accommodations (for the rest of us)

VistaJet says it can also arrange pet-friendly accommodations and excursions. But even if — like me — you’re still in the, “I wish I could afford to charter a private jet” stage, you can still take your pet on vacation. All it takes is a little planning and a willingness to go someplace fairly close (so you don’t have to subject your pet to a cross-country drive or a near-death experience on a commercial flight). Amtrak train photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

You can find plenty of information about pet-friendly hotels online. But here are a few things to keep in mind about this important aspect of your trip.

  1. Be sure to book a room on the first floor or near an exit if at all possible.
  2. Don’t leave your pet in the hotel room by itself unless absolutely necessary.
  3. If you do have to leave your pet in the room, take proper precautions
  4. If you are traveling with your dog, make sure it’s on a leash in common areas of the hotel
  5. Remember, courtesy goes a long way; make sure you cleanup any “accidents” in the room thoroughly and promptly.
  6. Be sure to take your pet to the vet and/or groomers before the trip to ensure they’re in good health and aren’t likely to shed all over the room.
  7. Follow applicable hotel rules about outdoor areas where your pets are allowed to relieve themselves.
  8. If you’re traveling with a cat, the bathroom (in your hotel room) is usually the best place to put the litter box.
  9. Don’t forget to let your pets get some exercise.
  10. Have fun!

And on that note, happy travels, everyone!

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Passport, please: convicted sex offenders fight tougher travel rules

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

I rarely read The Wall Street Journal, but every so often, I come across interesting articles there during my endless search for new stuff to write about. Last week I found an intriguing piece about a controversial law called the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking.

From what I understand, the law allows the government to issue modified passports for people convicted of certain sex offenses involving children and adolescents. Specifically, the essential travel documents issued under the law include some sort of symbol identifying the holder as a sex offender.

Pros and Cons

Those who like the idea say it can help combat the worldwide exploitation of  children. Specifically, they say the use of a passport mark promotes awareness and communication between authorities in different countries. If nothing else,  it is a simple and effective way to let them know when people who have engaged in criminal activity with minors are entering and leaving their countries, proponents claim.

On the other hand, opponents say the law is unfair. They claim it makes life even more difficult for people who already face hardship resulting from their inclusion on sex offender registries. They argue that it wrongly targets some people found guilty of relatively minor transgressions. Some even question whether or not the law is constitutional, and a federal suit has already been filed in California.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the suit is the first of its kind. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Cry Me a River

For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the issue. I am a firm believer in the old saying, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. And nothing bothers me more than a criminal with entitlement issues.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

I don’t care if you’ve been convicted for something as simple as sharing inappropriate photos on your cell phone or social media and I have no sympathy whatsoever if you’ve engaged in something as reprehensible as child molestation or abuse. There is simply no excuse for any kind of criminal activity involving or targeting minors.

As far as I’m concerned, the second you decide to target, prey upon, and exploit someone else, especially someone vulnerable, someone who can’t fight back or defend themselves, you’ve lost whatever right to “fair treatment” that you think you’re entitled to.

So if you’re worried about being branded as a sex offender and you don’t think that having a symbol on your passport identifying you as one is “fair,” here’s a tip: don’t break the law. It’s that simple.