Airline Packing List for Travel with Pets

Your pet is a member of your family, and we get it. Leaving them behind might not be an option, so here is our Airline Packing List for Travel with Pets.

Pet Carrier

Although specific requirements may vary slightly depending on the airline and even from plane to play within a specific airline, requirements are generally no more than 17.5 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 7.5 inches tall for hard-sided carriers. For soft-sided carriers there is a little more flexibility allowing for up to 18 inches in length, 11 inches in width, and 11 inches in height.

Aside from your pet, you should never pack any other items inside the carrier other than perhaps a toy or treat to keep your pet busy. For Fawkes, my feather baby, he gets blueberries and pellets, as well as a single perch to rest on. The blueberries are most important because they keep him hydrated, since water is not recommended when traveling due to the virtual guarantee of it spilling (trust me–I know from experience). For a dog or cat, giving them ice cubes in their food bowl is recommended for the same reason.

I use a backpack carrier for Fawkes.

Pet Carriers for travel.

More information on airline pet carriers and on selecting an airline pet carrier.

If your pet will be traveling in cargo.


I use a travel laptop backpack as my carry on. This is where I tend to pack my computers, cameras, and most of my clothes and toiletries as well as any essentials for Fawkes, including his food and treats.

For other pets this might include: leash, collar, medication, treats, food, grooming items, wipes, or toys. These items can also go into your checked baggage depending on the size of your pet and the room in your carry-on. You should pack at least 2-3 servings of your pet’s food in your carry-on, however, just in case your checked baggage goes missing. Here is what you should do in the event of your luggage going missing and some information on luggage trackers.

Pet Friendly Carry-On Packing List

  • Camera, cell-phone, etc.
  • At least one change of clothes
  • Toiletries (in clear travel sized bottles)
  • Medication for you and/or your pet
  • 2-3 servings of your pet’s food
  • Collapsible Water bowl
  • Any required veterinary certificates or forms
  • Collar & leash, including microchip if applicable
  • First aid kit for humans and pets
  • Picture of your pet
  • Poop bags (if applicable. Fawkes stays in his carrier from the time we leave the house until we arrive at the hotel room)

Checked Baggage

  • Extra sheets or an old blanket-for under the pet carrier for car travel and for furniture at your destination just in case
  • A blanket or cushion from their home bedding or in the case of my feathered friend, he has a travel cage he is familiar with and plays on when not traveling; for cats, a litter box
  • Portable food and water dish, as well as portable water container if hiking or going out with your pet; Pet food unless buying on location; Mat to go under food and water dishes
  • Booties if going on uneven or hilly ground (primarily dogs)
  • Chew toys (dogs & birds-yes, birds have and need chew toys!) and treats (all pets)
  • Grooming supplies and lint remover (animals with fur)
  • Trash bags & waste removal bags; baby wipes; flashlight (for walking or pet relief at night); litter box & scoop
  • Pet carrier pad, harness or leash (if applicable), booster seat to prevent your pet from being thrown around in event of an accident
  • Air freshener (optional)
  • Dog oriented guide book(s)-This one is new to me, and I think very applicable because I often take my bird with me on outings. They don’t exactly have bird friendly guide books as of yet, but maybe I’ll write one one day.

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