At a surface level, pet ownership does not fuse with a love of travel. And, to be fair, this is broadly true in the case of cat ownership. For many cats, even a car trip down the street is distressing. Dogs, however, tend to move better. This is, no doubt, helped by the fact that to leave their property is just another day in the office for them (on their daily walks).
If you’re a travel-loving dog owner, why not fuse these interests together? If travel forms the highlight reel of your life, why wouldn’t you want your best pal by your side? Let’s ‘harness’ the power of canine maneuverability—pun intended—and bring dogs along for the ride. It will take extra planning, but it’s not as arduous as you may think.
First things first: when you arrive at your destination, you want to ensure your pet is welcome! Not all hotels are pet-friendly, and even those that are can charge a ‘pet fee’—ranging from a one-off of $50–$250 to a daily surcharge of between $10–$50. $10 a day may not sound like much, but a five-day stay will bump this up to $50. Imagine how much you would rack up with the $50-a-day surcharge ($250. The answer is $250).
To avoid this, read ahead on pet-friendly hotels that are also fee-free. Having trouble locating one? You could always go the Airbnb route. Go to their website and use the search filter to find pet-friendly accommodation. Too easy!
Double-check the ‘pet-friendly’ claims
Even if a restaurant or hotel claims to be pet-friendly, it never hurts to double-check. Sometimes, websites display outdated policies—and sometimes the pet policies appear ambiguous. In any case, a quick, clarifying call or email can really ease the mind. You wouldn’t want to be turned away with no backup plan!
The same logic applies when booking your airline tickets. Don’t be afraid to triple-check in this case—with a phone call, with a confirming email, and when checking the website initially. Similar to restaurants or hotels, policies are subject to change—so, by all means, be a little bit annoying about this. It never hurts to ask, and it always pays to be prepared.
Bring the essentials
You wouldn’t go anywhere without a bulging suitcase, right? It only follows that you should pack for your furry pal, too. Ensure to bring the following:
- Dog food (including treats)
- Water and a doggy drink bottle
- Collapsible food and water bowls (for travel convenience)
- Vet records (including vaccination and health records)
- Pet first aid kit
- Any required medication (e.g. flea/tick medicine, and heartworm medicine). If in doubt, speak to your vet.
- Leash (and harness, if your dog uses one of those)
- Poop bags
- Collar with ID tags containing your name, address, and phone number. It’s also a good idea to include a tag with your holiday destination address (provided you’re staying in one place).
- Dog toys
- Crate or dog carrier.
Building on points 4 and 9, prior to travelling, always ensure that your dog’s vaccinations and microchip are up-to-date. When travelling abroad, officials will ask to see vet records; ergo, it’s critical that your dog is in good health and fully protected against disease. This also renders your pet more easily treatable should they require medical attention abroad.
Microchipping is also really important. God forbid, but if your dog were to go walkabout in a foreign country, a current microchip is just the backup you need. Sometimes collars may come loose and it’s always handy to have this additional identification in place. Cross-check the contact information between the microchip and the collar tags and make sure they match.
Travelling with dogs can be a wonderful experience. While it does take extra planning, to experience the world through a dog’s-eye view makes it all the more worthwhile. Instead of flocking to crowded, touristy destinations, canine company forces a more community-oriented travel experience. Plus, people tend to prefer dogs to humans (it’s true), and with a dog or two in tow, you may motivate conversation from fellow dog owners—or people who just really want to pat your dog. Bring your dog along for the ride and see where it takes you!