Pack it in, pack it out
Be sure your pets are up to date on their shots, and always carry a copy of your vet records with you. It's tempting to bring your dog on an exploration of national and state parks. However, most require that your dog be leashed at all times. Ask your park ranger about leash restrictions — some parks require that leashes be a specific length. And no matter where your travels take you, carry your own bags to clean up after your pet.
Plan pet-friendly activities
Although a new destination can be exhilarating for both you and your pets, allow time for them to acclimate to their surroundings. Cats are notoriously fickle about new places, but dogs, too, need patience and encouragement to settle in. Offer your pet travel companion the comforts of home, such as favorite food, treats and toys (the latter are particularly important to have inside a pet carrier). Fit in bits of your daily home routine when on the road — regular walks and trips to the dog park for your canine companion, and plenty of warm windowsills to sit in and quality lap time for your feline friend.
Check in to your local pet hotel
If you decide you simply can't take your pet on your trip and you can't arrange a pet sitter, look into boarding options in your neighborhood. Gone are the days of doggie purgatory and weekends spent in the local cinderblock pet kennel. Today's pet hotels are truly plush, with cozy sleeping quarters, lots of play and activity time, and plenty of individual attention from doting staff. Some pet hotels even set up cameras so parents can log in online to watch their beloved four-legged friends enjoying their retreat.
Also of interest: What's the best pet for you?