Traveling with your dog is a great way to see the world with your best furry friend by your side. However, where you go and how you travel can make or break the experience. That’s why we pulled out all the stops researching the best places to visit to with your dog.
But picking the destination is only the start. There are a lot of other factors to consider when traveling with your dog, which is why we talked to Erin Ballinger, the destinations editor at BringFido. We asked her for her best travel tips so you and your dog can have the best vacation possible.
Reviews: What do you think is the most important thing for owners to keep in mind when traveling with their dogs?
Ballinger: It’s more work, but it’s worth it. Traveling with a dog requires advance preparations from visiting the vet to finding pet-friendly accommodations. Travelers with pets have to stop and take more breaks along the way for Fido to stretch his legs and relieve himself. Once travelers have arrived at their destination, they’ll need to find activities to keep the dog active and restaurants that are dog-friendly. But owners will enjoy spending quality time with their dogs and be able to relax on vacation instead of worrying about Fido left in a boarding facility. A lot of times it’s less expensive, too!
Can all dogs travel? Are there certain breeds that are better suited to traveling?
While some pets are compact enough to sit happily in a travel bag or crate, embarking on a road trip with oversized pets can be a challenge. It’s a good idea to take a big dog on a walk or run to get in as much exercise as possible before taking a big trip. You may want to wear them out with a lot of activities the day before the trip. Breaks for walks or stops at dog parks will make road trips with Fido much more relaxed, too. You can search for nearby dog parks on BringFido.com or the BringFido app. If you will be spending several hours at a time in your vehicle, you’ll want to make it as comfortable as possible for your pet. If the doggy bed or crate fits in the back of the car, bring it for safety’s sake.
Book hotels on BringFido.com to ensure that the hotel will allow your size pet. If you have to leave your pet in the hotel room unattended, be sure to leave a note at the front desk or on the door so that the cleaning staff doesn’t enter the room. You could also leave your pet in their crate or closed inside of the bathroom, too.
What should dog owners remember to pack when they’re bringing their dog?
Don’t forget these items when packing your dog’s suitcase:
- Health certificate and medical records
- Contact information for your regular veterinarian and an emergency contact at your destination
- Comb, brush, and flea control products
- Any special medication your dog might need
- Spare collar with ID tag
- Pet wipes or grooming products
- Paper towels and stain remover
- Enough dog food and treats for the entire trip
- Plenty of bottled water
- Food and water dishes
- Leash and poop bags
- Your dog’s favorite toy and blanket – if they are going to be in cargo, put one of your worn T-shirts or scarves in the carrier so they can be comforted by your scent.
- If you have a pet that sheds a lot, bring a sheet to put over your car seat or on hotel furniture
- A list of dog-friendly places at your destination. Download the BringFido app, which has location-based technology that can point you in the direction of the closest pet-friendly activities, parks, stores, and restaurants.
What are some common mistakes dog owners should try to avoid while traveling?
Booking travel last minute can create a struggle for those traveling with pets. This is particularly true when looking for vacation rentals, or hotels in large cities or close to the beach. It can’t always be avoided, but if possible, plan and book early to avoid a possibly stressful situation.
The biggest mistake is not being a responsible pet owner. This can be by not cleaning up after their dog – travelers should be prepared with waste bags to pick up poop – or sneaking dogs into places where they aren’t allowed. Dog owners shouldn’t let their dog run off-leash where it isn’t permitted, shouldn’t abuse ESA (Emotional Support Animal) laws by pretending their dog is an emotional support animal when it isn’t, and shouldn’t remove their dog from its carrier inside the airport or plane where it isn’t permitted.
Is a short flight or a longer drive better for a dog?
It really depends on the dog. If your dog is small enough to fly in the cabin vs. cargo, etc. Road trips can be a lot of fun when you stop at new dog parks, pet-friendly restaurants and hotels along the way. Flying with a dog under 20 pounds can be a more efficient way to travel.
Do you have any travel hacks that come in handy when traveling with a dog?
Dog owners can visit the mobile-friendly BringFido.com or the BringFido app for iPhone and chat, email, or call to speak to a pet-friendly travel expert to find out about dog-friendly hotels, parks, attractions, restaurants, bars, stores, and events where you can bring your dog. The app is location-based, so the results will be listed in order of what is closest to you. It’s a lifesaver!
Do you have any advice for owners traveling with more than one dog?
Traveling with two dogs won’t be any different for the owner; however, you’ll need to verify that your pet-friendly hotel allows more than one pet. BringFido.com lists all hotel pet policies and even has a filter to show only hotels that accept multiple pets, making it much easier on pet-owning travelers. Airlines will only allow one pet carrier per passenger, too. So you’ll need to plan accordingly.
What is the best part about traveling with your dog?
Bringing pets is definitely a current trend and has been gaining momentum over the past decade and just continues to rise. Reasons for this are more and more pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family – 95%, in fact, according to a study in 2015 by Harris Poll. Since people are working so much they want to spend their free time with their pets, which may be cooped inside or left alone while they are working. Dogs also help us get outside in the age of social media and online friendships. Dogs can act as icebreakers in social situations and even increase our social circles and new friendships through meeting up at dog parks, dog-friendly restaurants, bars, or breweries, and by meeting and speaking to neighbors during routine walks.