Are you dreaming of travelling with your dog but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place!
Travelling with a dog is a very different experience than on your own but it is also an amazing experience.
It is completely possible to travel with a dog however there is a bit more planning involved.
Here are a few things to think about when travelling with a dog.
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1 – Transport: moving around with a dog
The most obvious choice to travel with a dog is by car. It will give you the most freedom and flexibility, which you definitely need with a pet.
That having been said, you can also travel with a dog on a plane or train, we will get back to that later.
You can go with your own car but also rent one. Most car rentals accept dogs, sometimes with an additional fee though. Enquire before you book.
First of all, you need to think about the fact that your dog will need its own space in the vehicle. It will most likely be in the boot. This means that you have to think about where to put your luggage as it can’t take up space in the boot (all depending on the size of your dog, car and safety precautions).
If you have a big dog, s/he can be in the boot. For safety purposes, it can be good to have a crate but bear in mind that it will take up a lot of room so you will need to pack accordingly.
If your dog is small, a small pet cage will come in very handy!
Once you start driving, remember to stop frequently so your dog can stretch his legs and do his business.
If you chose to travel by train, you will generally need to book a ticket for your dog. It depends on the country and train operator. Sometimes it’s only an extra, sometimes a ticket on its own.
There might also be some equipment required. In France for example, your dog needs to travel with a muzzle. S/he doesn’t need to have it on but you need to have it with you in case you’re being asked to put it on your dog.
Flying with your dog is generally the most difficult but again it depends on several things.
Firstly, you need to check that the airline accepts dogs. Most national airlines will carry dogs (example: British Airways) but low-cost airlines most of the time don’t. You can not take a dog on a Ryanair or Easyjet flight for example.
Small dogs are allowed in the cabin and bigger dogs have to travel in the hold.
Prices vary and you have to enquire directly to the airline. You can rarely do it online.
Air travel can be very stressful for a dog so you’ll need to take into consideration your dog’s health and whether it’s worth or not. Consulting your vet beforehand would be the best thing to do.
2 – Choosing your dog-friendly Destination
Not all destinations are suitable for dogs. As mentioned above, your best bet is to travel by car which will reduce the possibilities of travels to somewhere within driving distance.
As a general thing, city breaks might not be the best choice if you are taking your 4-leg companion. Most attractions in cities will not allow dogs which forces you to do outdoor activities.
Depending on the weather, this might be very difficult. You will not get to go to museums or inside bars and restaurants.
That having been said, it is still completely possible. Here is a list of activities you can do in cities while travelling with your dog:
- Walking tours
- Dog-friendly pubs and cafes
- You will generally find the information on the Google or Tripadvisor Page of the establishment
- Wondering around
Mountains, beaches, countryside… will be your best option. First of all, it will give you a lot more options in terms of activities and will make your dog way happier.
You can go hiking, swimming, spend the day on the beach, cycling, kayaking and many other outdoors activities!
3 – Paperwork to sort out to travel with a dog
If you are travelling abroad, please refer to the current legislation in the country you are going to.
No matter what, you will need a pet passport. You can get it from your vet.
Shots must be up to date and depending on where you are going, you might need extra shots to be done, treatments and potentially blood work.
For instance, any dog travelling from the EU to the UK will need a rabies shot.
The best thing to do is to go onto the official government website of the destination country and check with your vet for any recommendations.
This might take advance planning as some treatments have to be done days to weeks in advance.
Please note that certain countries require quarantine. Australia for example imposes 40 days quarantine for any pet on arrival.
Side note: Travel regulations to and from the UK with pets is likely to change in the coming months due to Brexit. Please stay up to date with the new regulations.
4 – Dog-Friendly Accommodation
Although this may surprise you, accommodation is actually the easiest part of travelling with a dog. Whether you chose a hotel, B&B, campsite… you will find some options.
It’s very easy to search for dog-friendly accommodation. You can go on Booking.com, Agoda, Airbnb, Pitchup … and in the filters, tick the box “Pet-friendly”. It will then show you all the places that accept dogs. Sometimes there is a little extra to pay, but as a general thing, it’s pretty easy to find. Obviously, as it reduces the number of places available but you will still find something.
As there are fewer places, I would recommend once again to plan and book ahead of time.
Camping with a dog is completely possible too. Depending on the weather and size of your tent, you can keep your dog in the tent or in the boot of your car (careful to the temperature with that though).
Just make sure your dog is comfy and not too cold or hot. Spring is the ideal season to travel with a dog.
5 – Dog-Friendly Activities
Travelling with a dog is an amazing experience. If you feel like you’re going to be limited, believe me, you won’t!
Here is a list of dog-friendly activities to do when you travel with a dog:
- Walking on the beach
- Walking tours
- Pic nic
It obviously always depends on how cooperative your dog is.
A lot of restaurants and cafes are dog-friendly which means you can go for drinks and dinners with your dog.
5 – Equipment
Travelling with a dog means you have to think about everything the dog needs as much as you! It’s a bit like travelling with a kid really.
Don’t forget to pack:
– Dog food
– Poo bags
– Bed or cushion
Travelling with a dog is a very unique experience. Although it requires organisation, it’s such a great way to travel as you get to enjoy what you do with your best friend!
Yes, that means doing things a bit differently but it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. You just do different things and that is awesome too!
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