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Best Bags for Flying With Pets

12 Aug

There’s Amazon affiliate links here. I have to tell you that. You probably don’t care.

My little Bear is quite the traveler – in under three years he’s clocked twenty four flights for a total of about 30,000 miles. In all of those flights, I’ve used just about every combination of bags you can imagine. I put in the grunt work (and the pinched nerves) so you don’t have to, because I’ve found the perfect combination. Oh yeah, and just in case it’s not obvious, Teddy always flies in cabin with me.

Anyone who flies can tell you that you never check a bag, and even when I fly with Teddy I’m still not willing to waste that extra time and money at baggage claim. Teddy counts as one of my carry-ons, which means that I only get one bag. That’s right, no purse, no laptop bag, just ONE BAG. But it’s possible. In fact, I pride myself on being able to get myself, Teddy, liquids, and at least one laptop through security without breaking a stride. (More tips for that at the end of this post.)

First things first, you’ll need a carrier for your pet. Check with your airline for the exact dimensions required before buying a bag, please don’t just go by my word. After trying several different bags, I finally found one that works the best for me – the ARGO Action Petpack Carrier. Here’s my tour of this Teddy-approved bag:

Now, this bag has been discontinued. Because of course it has. But the Pet Gear I-GO2 Traveler Roller Backpack is similar. The most important thing to look for in a carrier is a backpack with heavily padded straps. Your pet may feel light at home, but after trekking through an airport with one of those duffel bag style carriers slung over one shoulder, it will feel like you’re carrying a Great Dane. The backpack really makes a huge difference – I don’t get pinched nerves anymore, and my neck/shoulders/back don’t hurt on arrival.

Next up: your bag. You need a bag that will fit all of your stuff while allowing you easy access to your phone, ID, e-reader, etc. Plus, it needs to be easy to maneuver, because when flying with a pet you really need to have everything as streamlined as possible. Enter the Elleven rolling backpack. (You’ll notice a giant Purina logo on mine. Yeah, I got it for free from Purina. But I would have paid probably any amount of money for this bag. I love it so much.)

This bag is perfect for long weekends, but I’m still searching for that mythical perfect week-long rolling bag.

Carrying on with the theme of this post, this bag isn’t readily available either. It looks like it’s a promo special, but you can order single blank bags from Leeds. The Elleven Compu-Backpack and the Other Elleven Compu-Backpack are pretty much the same bag, but they don’t roll. The High Sierra Freewheel and the California Pak Winder are very similar, but the low price makes me question the quality; I don’t know how well those would hold up to heavy travel.

So how’s that for a remarkably unhelpful post? But enough of my “this bag is great oh wait you can’t buy it” rambling. Here are some of my top tips for successfully flying with a pet.

1. Plan ahead, and know your pet’s schedule.

How often does your dog usually go out? How much water do they normally drink? How much and how often do they usually eat? Do your best not to disrupt this schedule too much. You will want to limit food and water before takeoff. (You don’t want to deal with dog diarrhea in an airport. Ask me how I know.) Check the airports you’ll be traveling through to see what kind of pet accommodations they have – most airports have a place where you can walk your dog. Make sure to bring some dry food, and a small cup for water, so you can offer them to your dog.

2. To drug or not to drug?

Talk to your vet before you fly with your pet. After talking to my vet, and knowing my dog, we decided that it would be best for Teddy to take a sedative before flying. He doesn’t take enough to knock him out, just enough to get him mellow and chill. He typically sleeps through the flight, and because he’s so drowsy he usually doesn’t want to eat or go to the bathroom.

3. Collars and leashes.

Even if your pet is microchipped (and they totally should be) you want to have a collar with tags on them while you’re traveling. And make sure to have your cell phone number on the tags. I personally have my cell and my Twitter handle on Teddy’s tags. When you go through security, you’ll have to take everything off your pet and carry them through the metal detector. In order to make this process go as fast as possible, you should already have your pet’s leash and harness off and stored in your bag. Have them wear either a loose collar that you can easily slide off their head, or a collar with a quick release that you can get off quickly.

4. The Security Line

This is where we separate the women from the girls. Getting through security with a pet requires a finely choreographed routine, planned in advance. Start before you get to the line. Make sure your laptop and liquids are easily accessible. Go ahead and take off your jacket and belt and put them in your bag. You know you’ll need your ID and boarding pass, so have those in your hand. After you hand them to the TSA agent, quickly store them in an easily accessible pocket in your bag. While you’re bent over, grab your liquids and your laptop. You’ll get a sense for the rhythm of the line, pause when the person in front of you pauses, move when you can, this way you’re not holding up anyone behind you. Now grab a bin, and put your laptop, liquids, and shoes in the bin. Do I really need to tell you to wear shoes that you can easily slip in and out of? Put your carry on on the belt, and swing your pet off of your back and onto the belt while unzipping the backpack. While you wait for the bags in front of you to go, remove your pet’s collar and put it in the bag while lifting your pet into your arms. It’s like an elegant dance. Once you’re through, grab everything and move to a bench. You can take your time getting situated again.

5. Getting on the Plane

Your pet will be under your seat, which means that your bag will be in the overhead bin. While you’re waiting on the jetway, go ahead and grab your book. When you get to your seat, put your book and your pet on the seat while you stow your bag. If there’s something else you need, you can get it out once you’re in the air and the fasten seatbelt sign is off. I like to keep my book with me so I have something to read before and during takeoff. You can also go ahead and grab your laptop and put it in the seat pocket if you want.

6. Keep Calm

Things probably will not go perfectly, especially the first time you fly with your pet. The first time I flew with Teddy, I broke one of my own rules and checked my bag to make things easier. It will be okay. Don’t get flustered, just take your time. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport before your flight, and make sure you reserve your pet’s spot when you book your ticket. To do that, call the airline’s reservation number and let them know that you’ll be flying with a pet. Airlines allow a limited number of pets on each flight, and you want to make sure your buddy gets on! Most airlines won’t let you pre-pay for a pet, so be ready to do that when you check in. You’ll also have to check in at the desk, not at a kiosk, so allow time for that.

Amazon items included in this post:

Do you have any questions about flying with an in-cabin pet? Ask away! And if you have any tips and tricks of your own, please share!

Need it, Want it, Gotta Have it

7 Aug

A post in three parts, if you will.

Need It

I need new pants. Specifically, white jeans and black slacks. But I hate trying on pants. The dressing room mirrors all look like they came from a fun house, it takes forever, and it’s demoralizing. I know I need to suck it up and just spend an afternoon at South Coast Plaza, but ugh, don’t wanna. So instead I’m whining about it on my blog.

Want It

Even I will concede that patterned Louboutins are a want, not a need, though I maintain that any of them in black or nude are a need. Seriously, they will never go out of style. But the Pigalle 120mm in camo isn’t classic or timeless, I just really want them. I mean, how cute are they? It’s like my redneck Florida side and my WASP-y, snobbish NYC side got together and had a shoe baby.

Gotta Have It

Did you know that OPI did a line of Coca-Cola inspired nail polishes? Neither did I, but I do now! Diet Coke nail polish is clearly something I’ve gotta have. My Ulta was sold out, but they’re in stock online! I just ordered Coca-Cola Red and My Signature is “DC”.

Win a Beautiful Hand-Stamped Necklace!

4 Aug

Oh boy, do I have something great for you today! You may have heard me talking about the beautiful hand-stamped necklaces from With Love From OC, mostly because I’ve telling everyone about them.

The shop features dozens of beautiful hand-stamped necklaces inspired by some of your favorite movies – Disney, The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent, and more. I love them so much because they’re a gentle wink to some of your favorite characters, without being cheesy or in-your-face.

How amazing is this UP inspired necklace?!? It’s all made by hand, with real Swarovski crystals, and it’s only $25, with free shipping!! Most of the necklaces are between $20 and $25, and they all come with free shipping.

I couldn’t pick a favorite, because really, they’re all my favorite, so I had a custom order made. Because, oh yeah, you can do custom orders. We bounced a few ideas around and came up with the perfect necklace for me.

:Insert sound of me squealing here: It’s amazing, right? Because Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney movie, and Merryweather is my favorite fairy, and the blue dress is clearly better than the pink one.

Now for the best part, how would you like your very own beautiful creation from With Love from OC? Well then I’ve got the giveaway for you! Enter below for a chance to win your choice of any single necklace from the shop. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Teddy Tuesday

29 Jul

Welcome to Teddy Tuesday! Also known as, I’m too lazy and tired to write an actual post. Whatever, you know you’d all rather look at pictures of Teddy than listen to me.

Over the weekend Teddy and I went to Florida to see my family. We got diverted because of bad weather in Atlanta, and our seven hour trip turned into a fourteen hour trip. My sweet Bear was a CHAMP. Seriously, best dog ever. Can you see a Bear in his bag?

When we finally got there I was able to meet my puppy niece for the first time, and she is such a love! I could just eat up that Riley baby.

Teddy and Riley had a great time playing together. They got along so well!

And Teddy loved getting to run around off-leash in my brother’s fenced in backyard.

After that it was time to snuggle up on the couch for a puppy cousin nap.

But it wasn’t all about cousin playtime, and Teddy made sure to make time for some of his other favorite activities. Like growling at Uncle Sean…

… and snuggling with Uncle Dean.

But after that is was really time for a nap!

Five on Friday

25 Jul

Whattup, yo? It’s Friday! We made it through another week! To help you celebrate Friday and kick off the weekend, here are five things that I can’t get enough of this week.

1. Teddy Bear Yawn

Little Bear has little yawns, and he just gets so sleepy. Napping all day and looking out the window is exhausting.

2. Maddie & Tae

Ob-sessed with this song!! I can’t wait to see more from these two, and am keeping my fingers crossed for some west coast show dates. Maddie & Tae’s website, Twitter, and Facebook. Get on board.

3. This Bag

It may not look like much, but it is ah-mazing. I finally found the perfect carry on bag for when I travel with Teddy and don’t want to check a bag. Look for a full post about this bad boy coming up soon. Yeah, it’s that good.

4. Share a Coke

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I love Diet Coke. That’s old news. The new news is that I am having so much checking cans and bottles to see what they say. I WILL find one with my name on it. I must.

5. My Brudders

I get to see both of my brothers this weekend, and I am so happy. I don’t get to see them nearly enough, and texting just isn’t the same. Plus, Teddy gets to meet his puppy cousin, my brother’s dog Riley. I can’t wait. (And yeah, Jay Leno crashed my sibling picture. It was the first one I could find of the three of us. Cut me some slack, I’m writing this on a plane.)