Advice & Tips
staycation advice with pet hamper

Staycation Advice with Pet Hamper

Written by Steph McCulloch


Discover the ultimate staycation guide for travelling with pets! From finding pet-friendly accommodations to what to pack, find expert advice on making the most of your staycation while keeping your beloved pets happy and entertained.
A man and woman accompanied by a dog inside a car.


As we approach the busy holiday season, we asked our friends at Pet Hamper to share their top tips on taking your pet away with you on your UK break.

Pet Hamper is a great source for pet presents, supplying both individual items and curated hampers for both dogs and cats. Launched as an online shop during lockdown, they’ve since opened their first store and have many more exciting developments in the works. Here, co-founder Mark Jackson shares his advice for staycations with your pets.

Finding a place to stay

First, you’ll need to check if any host - whether Airbnb, traditional B&B, hotel or otherwise - welcomes pets. You’ll be surprised how many venues do accept pets, but it may be hidden away in the small print or in some cases not mentioned at all on their site.

Then there’s the question of ‘pet-friendly’ or ‘pets allowed’. There are venues that tolerate pets, and there are venues that actively welcome them. So, we recommend going that extra mile to check out your desired venue on social media, because we all know pet lovers love sharing that information.

The latter often have knowledgeable staff, pet-friendly amenities, and other unique touches which will ensure that your pet is as well looked after as you are.

For example, Pet Hamper works with many hotels from
The Prince Akatoki and The Mandrake (both in London) all the way up to Rufflets St Andrew’s. To add value to their pet-friendly stays, most hotels offer extra special treats and touches for all pets that stay with them - ultimately ensuring the pet feels as welcome as the human.

Booking a venue that loves animals as much as you do can really take the enjoyment of both you and your four-legged friends to the next level. If you’re wondering where to start, there are several websites dedicated to pet-friendly holiday listings, such as
Canine Cottages, Dog Friendly Getaways and PetsPyjamas.

A black and white cat peeking out of a yellow cat-carrying backpack.

What to pack

Pets always feel most comfortable at home, and unfamiliar places can be disorienting for them. An extended stay, like a holiday, has the potential to be a stressful experience.

You can counter this and boost their comfort levels by packing as many familiar items as you can. Having their favourite toys and snacks will help them relax. Bringing their bed and bedding will help them sleep better. A new toy can also help with stimulation on a journey as they have something new to stimulate them.

Serving meals in their favourite bowl or feeding apparatus will ensure they feel comfortable eating and get their full complement of nutrition. It’s also helpful to make a checklist of the essentials you use every day: think collars and leads, grooming items, waste bags and so on.

If your pet takes any medication, make sure in advance that you have enough for the duration of your holiday, and take your vet’s contact details with you in case of emergencies.

Getting there

Different pets will handle travelling differently. Some will love the experience while others may miss home or even suffer from motion sickness.

If your pet isn’t already well-travelled, you can prepare them for the long journey by taking practice runs in advance, starting with a short journey and building up to longer periods in the car. You can also use products such as this
mini pet calming spray from Pet Remedy.

The Highway Code states that it is your responsibility to ensure that animals cannot interfere with your driving and that you minimise the risk of injury to them. Your dog may travel in the front seat, but make sure to disable the airbag first. It may be easier to use a crate, harness, carrier or boot gate if there’s a risk they may attempt to roam about the vehicle.

Pack plenty of water to keep them hydrated. Even more so in hot weather. Take lots of their favourite treats to reward their good behaviour.

During the journey itself, make sure you take plenty of scheduled breaks for walks and toileting.

To prevent motion sickness, don’t let your pet eat in the hours leading up to the journey. Allow them to see out of the window. Comfort your pet with access to their favourite toy or blanket. And if your pet just never seems comfortable travelling, consult your vet, who may be able to provide special medication.

The great thing about staycations in the UK is that you can also take advantage of public transport. Most major train operators allow the first two pets to travel for free. However, rules vary, especially for smaller, local operators, so it’s worth checking about the attitude toward pets for every stage of the journey in advance.

A woman on a couch with a suitcase and a cat. She is also taking a photo of the cat.

Creating memorable experiences

As I mentioned earlier, pets can find new surroundings confusing and stressful. If you take yours on holiday, make sure you spend plenty of time with them. Your company will help soothe them.

Try to stick to a familiar routine, if possible. If you’re predicting a major change, try to gradually introduce it - moving walks by half-hour increments each day, for example - either before or after you arrive.

Similarly, feed them the same food as at home if you can. Stress combined with a new diet can upset their stomachs.

Plenty of rest and quiet time will help them cope with the full kaleidoscope of new sensations, turning what could be overwhelming into a positive experience for them.

Earlier, I mentioned that your pet will be happiest surrounded by items from home. If you’re not able to bring their bed, a regular blanket that smells of home will help give a new bed a homely feel.

Now, a note on cats. It is not advisable to let cats roam free within a couple of weeks of arriving in a new area, so if you do take yours on holiday, it’s probably best to keep them indoors for the duration of your stay.

You may want to use a carrier to help them travel and to keep them from straying. This may be a daunting experience for your cat, but you can help ease the transition by leaving it around your home and allowing them to explore it in their own time, in familiar territory.

You can add cosy bedding, and their favourite toys and treats, to give them a feeling of security. Cats like to be able to hide so bring something with you from home that your cat is already fond of, to give them their own space on holiday.


Taking your pet on holiday can be a truly magical experience. So long as you prepare in advance, and make sure your pet has ready access to home comforts, you can ensure that your whole family has a magical and memorable holiday.

Thinking of taking your pets further afield? Here’s a helpful article on travelling with your pets abroad, including pet passports and everything you need to know about the benefits of pet insurance when travelling.

Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

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