For most people pets are like family. And just like you wouldn't want to leave your child home alone by themselves, you might also feel guilty about leaving your pet behind. Pet carriers allow you to bring your pet with you wherever you go, whether that's in the car or on the plane. But it's important for the well-being of your pet that carriers don't feel like a prison. Shopping around for quality carriers will ensure your pet has an easier time traveling. Higher quality carriers also provide storage space for travel accessories, snacks, toys and other things you might need for your pet. If you are looking for the perfect travel carrier for your pet, read on to learn more.

When it comes to travel carriers, you'll have a choice between hard and soft carriers. Hard carriers are best for airlines because they are durable, and waterproof in case of accidents. Carriers brought into the cargo hold must have a metal door and be large enough for the pet to sit, stand up and turn around. If you want to take your pet with you onto the plane, the carrier must be small enough to fit under the seat.

Soft carriers, including backpacks, purses and car seat carriers are ideal for just about everything else. They are more comfortable for your pet and they are lighter weight. While car seat carriers can accommodate larger pets, backpack and purse carriers are terrific for smaller pets. They are also a lot easier to carry with you when shopping or hiking because you wear them, or roll them around, and they even have pockets. With all this in mind, let's take a look at some of the top carriers on the market.

The MidWest Skudo Standard Plastic Pet Carrier is a hard carrier available in three different sizes. The case is suitable for most airlines but is not likely to fit under the seat, so your furry friend will have to go in the cargo area. However, its waterproof, durable and has a metal door. The hinged top provides easy access to your pet, which is especially useful when they are too scared to come out. It is available for as low as $25.19 on Chewy or $41.51 for the largest size.

If you want to keep your pet with you during your flight, the Pupkiss Pets Luxury Airline Approved Pet Carrier is small enough to fit under most airline seats. Of course, it will only accommodate small pets. The mesh windows let you keep an eye on your loved one and fleece bedding provides exceptional comfort for your pet which is important if it's a long flight. Storage compartments are available for your personal use which means you don't have to pay an additional fee for another carry on. Get it for under $40 at Amazon.

If you love to take your pet out and about, the PetsHome Leather Pet Travel Bag is ideal if you are willing to splurge on your pet. The leather bag is soft, durable and waterproof, so you can travel with your companion worry-free. It features compartments for pet treats and a wheeled, removable platform so you can roll it around town for walks or while shopping. It is available on Amazon for just $95.99. For hikers, there's the Outward Hound PoochPouch Dog Backpack features water-resistant nylon fabric, padded mesh straps and backing, and a removable bottom pad. It also features a safety harness and zippered top to keep your pet from jumping out. Get it for $29.49 on Chewy.

But if you just need something for the car or a standard soft carrier for vet trips and grooming, the Pet Gear Signature Pet Car Seat & Carrier is $33.99 on Chewy and can accommodate pets up to 20 pounds. The fleece pad cover is machine washable and there's a zippered mesh window that keeps it ventilated and allows pets to look around. Rear storage pouches let you store your pet's travel essentials. Consider this option and the other options mentioned above before your next trip.