Cost of taking your pet on a vacation

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- If you're a pet owner, it's no secret that leaving your dog or cat home with a sitter or in a kennel is a pricey addition to your vacation costs.

But don't assume that bringing your pet on your trip will always be cheaper. Consumer Reports reveals some important tips on how to save money and aggravation when you travel with your pet.

Consumer Reports says, get prepared. Make sure your pooch is ready to fly by getting a health certificate from your veterinarian, including vaccinations, so you can show it to the airline and anywhere else it might be required.

And if your pet doesn't already have a microchip, get one.

Now let the journey begin. You can hit the rails on Amtrak with your pup for around $26, but only if your trip is less than 7 hours. Airlines usually charge around $125 one-way to fly to many destinations with a small dog in the cabin.

RELATED: Consumer Reports helps plan for trips with your pet

Because your pet carrier will count as a carry-on, you may need to pay to check your suitcase. And a travel-compliant carrier can cost you $35 to more than $100.

Also, reserve a spot for your pet ahead of time on the train or airline. They allow only a certain number of pets to ride under a seat. Larger dogs often need to fly in the cargo hold, costing $100 to close to $1,000 each way. Many airlines don't allow snub-nosed breeds like French bulldogs to fly at all because they can have difficulty breathing at high altitudes.

Now where to stay. If you're allowed to bring your dog, many hotels will charge a fee from $20 to $100. But some chains let pets stay free.

Need a little more space? Check the pet-friendly filter on Airbnb and VRBO to find rentals that will let you bring your pets, often for a fee.

RELATED: Consumer Reports reveals food not to feed your dog

Prefer to take your pooch on a road trip? A lot of car-rental companies won't charge extra for pets. Still, Consumer Reports says don't forget about car safety. In an accident, pets can become projectiles if they're not secured, injuring themselves and possibly other people in the car.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2019 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit ConsumerReports.org.

Take a look at all of 7 On Your Side's stories with Consumer Reports here.

Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.