Preparing for Road Trips with Children and Service Animals

No doubt, a car trip is one of the most epic and memorable vacations you can take in America. The excitement of selecting your preferred destination, hitting the road, and getting miles and miles away from home is simply thrilling!

However, the thought of taking your children and your other four-legged family member with you on the road trip can be intimidating. Finding a way to curb the fuss in the backseat, and keeping everyone calm and entertained can be tough. But family vacations needn’t be stressful. Here are a few tips to help you ensure that your road trip will be a fun adventure for everyone.

Prior Planning is Important

Plan your trip with your child’s safety in mind. If your child has any health conditions such as cerebral palsy, ensure that you customize the trip to suit their needs. This may include choosing destinations that can be accessed by wheelchairs and people with disabilities.

Keep your Child Engaged

Get your child their favorite toys, crayons, smartpads – anything that will keep boredom away while you drive for long hours.

More than anything else, your child needs your attention most. Therefore, make sure that you spend quality time with your child during the road trip.

Take Short Practice Trips

For children who are not used to traveling in a vehicle, making a few practice runs can be fun and important to find out any issues that could be taken care of ahead of time. This is especially critical for any child with cerebral palsy or any other health condition. You can take a short practice trip to a neighboring city or perhaps visit one of your old friends who lives a distance from your home.

Road Trip with Service Animals

Car travel with service animals are a bit different and come with their own hassles. While kids might sing ‘are we there yet’ along the route, animals can express their restlessness in unsafe ways as you drive. Some might even jump on your lap or hang dangerously on the window as you drive at highway speeds.

So, how can you ensure that your service animal behaves at its best during long drives?

First, visit your veterinarian to make sure that your service animal is healthy enough for car travel. This will help you detect any arising health issues that your service animal may have before you head out.

Next, map out a pet-friendly route to your destination before you hit the road with your service animal. Make sure that you can locate pet-friendly truck stops along the route. Most major truck stops have a pet-friendly area giving them a chance to go potty, stretch, and play.

Legal Issues Facing Car Travel with Service Animals

If you are taking a road trip across different states, you need to be aware of any laws that may limit or govern riding with pets or service dogs. Here are some legal tips for car travel with service animals;

Know your rights

Travelling with a service animal is not illegal, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). People with disabilities are allowed to be accompanied by a service animal when exploring new areas. Therefore, have no worries when travelling with your service animal, as far as they are not causing any disturbance to the public.

Notify Car Agents in Advance

If you are looking to rent a car, make sure that you notify the agents in advance. Legally, you should not be denied access to any car rental agencies, but it helps to notify the agents to allow them to make any necessary adjustments to the car.

What about Police Stops?

Police, too, know about your right to a service animal. But it is essential to always carry some form of documentation and emergency tags to proof that your animal is not a pet but a service animal. This will help you get over police stops smoothly.

Always Keep Your Animal in Control

Under the ADA, you should keep your dog leashed, harnessed, or tethered. But if your dog will be affected by these devices, you are allowed to keep the dog under control through signals or voice controls.

Traveling with a child and a service animal might not be as easy as packing a few items and heading out. But this should not limit your desire to explore and discover new places. We recommend you follow the above tips next time you have to go on a road trip with your family.

Steve Wright is a Freelance writer who loves tech, sports (playing basketball) and business. He works closely with and as a content specialist helping them build their online presence through friendly, engaging, and shareable web content. When not hunched over his computer thinking loudly, you can find him playing pop music with his band, reading horror novels or traveling.

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