My youngest daughter also has my passion for travel and recently she has developed a condition which has necessitated her use of a service dog.
Many of us know the extra thought and preparations that need to be taken when we travel with children. There needs to be extra down time built into the schedule because they tire more easily than adults. Plus you need to have activities planned that can keep their short attention span and you need to pack favorite toys, comfort items and a remarkable amount of other "stuff."
During group travel we often have to build in extra time just to allow everyone to "gather" for the activity.
Now let's move onto the service animal. Living daily life for a person with a device animal requires more preparation than for people without a service animal. They need food that will travel easily, they need to take into consideration areas to relieve the animal and they need to carry a comfort item for them to feel secure in strange places or to lie on a clean surface.
The general public knows little about the ins and outs of owning service animals. And I must say I was one of those people until recently, I am learning more about them each day. Some people have never even heard of the American Disabilities Act and the allowances it makes for service animals and their owners.
So above and beyond the normal daily routine now add on traveling with your service animal. Service animal owners run into many challenges and walls of resistance blocking their admission because of ignorance from the general public. Many people just consider a service animal a pet but they are not a pet they are all working animals.
Restaurants, hotels and airlines are slowly becoming more aware of service animals. Many airports have now added on relief areas for the animals or have special considerations for them. But what do you do when cruising? The ship can't exactly pull in somewhere for the animal to relieve itself several times a day. Plus consider the ports of entry they are foreign countries, additional preparation and consideration is obviously needed to deal with the foreign requirements. But no they don’t require passports!
So the next time you are complaining about all of the preparation for your upcoming trip think of those traveling with service animals and their need to prepare for their trip!