Travelling with your hamster – tips and travel cage guide

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travelling with your hamster

There may be times when you have to take your hamster out of the house on short trips and need something to carry them in. And whilst we don’t recommend taking your furry friend on long vacations, a travel cage is the perfect accessory for when you need to visit the vet, are moving to a new house or want to take them on a small road trip out of town.

Travelling with your hamster can be tricky, burdensome and often unsettling for all concerned. By making sure you are well prepared and use a travel cage, you can safely ensure that your hamster is secure and happy whilst on the move.

Below, we give our top tips for travelling with hamsters, discuss the benefits of using a travel cage and recommend some of our best buys.

preparing your hamster for travelling

Tips on preparing your hamster for travelling

Before you travel it is a good idea to set up a veterinary appointment for your hamster to have a check-up – especially if you are going on a long trip. This way you can make sure that your hamster is all set and ready to go.

One thing you will definitely need to invest in is a good travel cage. Ideally, this should have a handle so that it is easy to carry around.

When setting up your travel cage ready for your hamster, it is important to make sure that you use some of your hamster’s bedding from its current cage. This way their scent will already be on it and it will make them feel more at ease when in their portable carrier.

You will also need to include a plastic hut and food bowl so that your little friend has somewhere they can go to hide, rest, sleep and snack whilst on the journey. Try to stick to lightweight materials as ceramic huts and bowls can cause an injury to your hamster if they start to roll around whilst in the vehicle.

You also need to make sure that your hamster is well hydrated. For short journeys, we would recommend cutting up pieces of cucumber as a substitute for water, as it contains plenty of fluid and also gives them something to gnaw on. If, however, you are going on a long road trip, then it is important that they have a well-secured water bottle at their disposal. Just keep an eye out for spillages and leaks.

Once in transit, it is important that you don’t let your hamster get too hot. Heat can be dangerous, so try to avoid putting your hamster near to heaters, or in the way of direct sunlight.

Finally, whilst in the vehicle, you should make sure that you strap your hamster’s travel cage in with a seat belt or have someone holding the cage tightly when in transit. This will prevent them from moving around too much and becoming sick or disorientated.

If the rare event that you may have to travel with your hamster on an aeroplane, you should try to keep your hamster with you whilst you are flying. Make sure that you research the rules and regulations regarding travelling with animals from your airline before the start your trip. If you must put your hamster in cargo, then try to find out what it will be placed with, and make sure you put a luggage label with your name and number clearly stated on the hamster cage. You should also check how you will hand over and collect your hamster pre and post journey.

best hamster travel cages
Best hamster travel cages. Image credit: https://petcomments.com/hamster-travel-cage/

5 best hamster travel cages

When looking to travel with your hamster your number one priority should be to keep them safe. Therefore, you need to look for a travel cage that is sturdy, secure and comfortable, regardless of whether your hamster is in it for a short trip of a lengthier journey.

You should avoid hamster carriers made of cardboard as they are only good for temporary use such as bringing your hamster home for the first time. No matter how solid they may look, your hamster is likely to make swift work out of exiting it.

Below I give an honest review of what I consider to be the top 5 travel cages currently available to buy.

(1) Habitat OVO Transport Unit – Best value for money travel cage

This portable cage is perfect for dwarf or smaller sized hamsters, but I would only ever advise you to use this travel cage for short trips as the space inside is limited. That said, there is plenty of ventilation available thanks to the holes situated at the top. What I particularly like about this transporter, is that it has a nice big handle making it easy to carry around.
There is also a retractable roof for easy access and the see-through material allows you to monitor your hamster whilst on the move. For those who already have a Habitat cage, you can attach this on to the side permanently to make your cage bigger or to encourage your hamster to hop in when it’s time to go.
On the downside, this hamster cage does not come with a water bottle attachment which you have to purchase and affix separately.

Pros:

  • Retractable roof
  • Can be used as part of a cage
  • Handle for lifting
  • See-through material

Cons:

  • Only suitable for dwarf or small Syrian hamsters
  • Extra accessories such as water bottles have to purchased separately

(2) Kaytee CritterTrail Carry and Go – Best travel cage for dwarf hamsters

This travel cage offers the perfect solution for letting your hamster explore the world outside. Although this travel cage is one of the roomier versions, if you are using it for a Syrian hamster, we would recommend using it for short journeys as the space inside is limited.

Similar looking to a full hamster size, however, one of the benefits of this travel version is that it comes with the essentials as standard, including a water bottle and food bowl. Both of which are locked in place to ensure they do not slide around when on the move.

The handle on the top makes moving your hamster from place to place effortless and the bars allow at the front give your hamster something to climb on and chew (as opposed to the plastic sides). The Kaytee CritterTrail can also be fixed to other habitats when you are not travelling, making it great value for money.

Pros:

  • Can be used as part of a cage
  • Handle for lifting
  • See-through material
  • Accessories come as standard

Cons:

  • Only suitable for short journeys

(3) IRIS Critter Carrier – Best travel cage for Syrians or longer journeys

There aren’t many travel cages that actually fit Syrian hamsters, and this is certainly the best of the bunch.

Available in a variety of colors this cage has a see-through top, good ventilation and is easy to open and access.
Although this standalone travel cage is simple, it does come with a water bottle included and there is plenty of space to include other essential items. It also has a handy travel handle making it easy to lift and carry around.

Pros:

  • Handle for lifting
  • See-through material
  • Accessories come as standard
  • Large enough for Syrian hamsters

Cons:

  • Expensive

(4) Kaytee Off to School – Best looking travel cage

When it comes to style over substance this is the pinnacle of travel cages. Designed to look like a mini school bus, this cage may look cute but is, unfortunately, only suitable for dwarf hamsters due to its size.

If you do have a small hamster however, this cage provides all you could require including a water bottle and food dish. It also has plenty of ventilation, a flip-up handle and can be connected to larger cages for additional space.

In terms of sturdiness, again this travel cage comes up a little short in comparison to the competition and the water bottle cannot be affixed.

Pros:

  • Fun design
  • Can be used as part of a cage
  • Handle for lifting
  • See-through material
  • Accessories come as standard

Cons:

  • Only suitable for short journeys
  • Water bottle does not affix
  • Material not particularly sturdy

(5) GNB Pet Petite Habitat – Best travel cage for accessories

This portable hamster cage is incredibly sturdy as it is made from white powder-coated metal. Designed over two floors this travel cage comes with no build in mind, leaving you to make a space specifically suited to your hamster’s needs.

It also comes with a house, wheel (although this is very small and suitable for everyday use), water bottle, a food bowl and even a slide. It even comes in a choice of four different colors.

The base is also detachable, which makes it’s incredibly easy to clean and install and the travel handle makes carrying your hamster from place to place a breeze.

Pros:

  • Bespoke setup
  • Plenty of accessories which come as standard
  • Handle for lifting
  • Detachable base for cleaning

Cons:

  • Only suitable dwarf hamsters
  • Wheel not suitable
  • Expensive

Conclusion

As you can see, a travel cage is an essential item for transporting your hamster from place to place. But as these habitats are built for short term use only, space within them is often limited. We would, therefore, recommend that you restrict the amount of time your hamster travel in these and keep it a minimum.

If you do want to take your hamster on a longer vacation with you, then we would advise you to take their full-size cage to house them in once you arrive at your destination. And keep in mind, that hamsters are creatures of habit, so make sure you include lots of familiar treats, scents and toys.

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