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Deciding how to care for the family pet while you’re away can be one of the hardest parts of planning a vacation. Not only does it add to the stress of preparation, but proper pet care is a difficult expense for many people to afford. Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to lessen the strain that pet care can put on your wallet. Here are some budget-friendly tips on how you can care for your pet while away on vacation.

1. Know What Kind of Care Your Pet Will Need

It’s important to take into consideration how much time a caretaker will need to invest in watching your little friend while you’re away. Some pets are going to require a greater degree of attention than others, and the cost of care will fluctuate accordingly. For example, while most fish are relatively low maintenance and can probably get by with a few visits from a neighbor, an energetic puppy will probably need more frequent interaction. Once you’ve decided on the best style of care, you can start to gather estimates and set a plan in motion to save money.

2. Plan Ahead of Time

While you might have already considered the cost of airfare, lodging, and day-to-day expenses for your vacation, you’re going to want to take the cost of pet care into account as well. Adding the cost of a kennel, pet sitter, and pet supplies into your vacation savings plan will make it easier on your wallet when the time comes to leave. (It can also make it easier on your credit since high credit card balances can affect your credit score. You can see where yours currently stands by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.) Plus, the earlier you start planning, the more time you’ll have to save. That way you’ll be able to make sure your furry friend is comfortable while your budget remains intact!

3. Consider All the Options

While it might be tempting to just throw money at the first pet-sitting service you see, taking the time to hunt down the most affordable option will pay off in the long run. While kennels might be the simplest option, you can probably save a pretty penny by reaching out to a nearby friend or family member. Alternatively, you can check pet boarding sites like Rover to see if there are any professional pet sitters in your area. Regardless of which option you choose, make sure you’ve done a good deal of research before opening your checkbook.

Providing you take the proper amount of time and plan accordingly, you should be able to make sure your pet is well cared for without spending too much money. However, if you still find it difficult to find proper pet care while you’re away, it might be best to look into different trip options. There are tons of great vacations you can take that won’t require you to leave your pet at home, saving you money and giving you more quality time with your little buddy!

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