A bit of thinking ahead makes traveling with pooch hassle free and loads of fun.
Planning a well-deserved vacation? There’s no reason why your furry friend should miss out on the good times! Pets have never been more integrated into the family unit, and service providers have responded with a dramatic increase in dog-friendly travel options and amenities.
Whether you and pooch prefer to commune with the great outdoors or pamper yourselves with gourmet treats and high fashion, there’s an ideal vacation option for pup parents and fur babies alike.
Let’s go over some of the basic elements of planning a successful dog-friendly vacation:
- General travel tips
- Dog-friendly travel destinations
Read on to get planning your perfect dog-friendly trip!
General Travel Tips
When traveling with pooch, planning is everything! The last thing you want is to rock up to a bucket-list activity only to discover that pup’s not allowed. Also, proper organization reduces stress levels during travel, and since dogs pick up on our emotions, that keeps them happier.
Travel Tip 1
Pick an itinerary that you and pooch will both adore. Do they love scrambling up mountains? Doggy paddling in the water? Or nibbling on bespoke treats at your feet on sunny restaurant patios? How does pooch do with crowds? With heat or cold? Maximize the bonding potential of your vacay by taking their interests into consideration.
Travel Tip 2
Schedule a pre-travel vet visit. Pooch should be in tip-top shape, up to date on vaccines, and microchipped. Make sure to get prescriptions refilled if necessary.
Some destinations and transport companies have specific ID and medical documentation requirements. Research well in advance and plan your vet visits accordingly. Keep all documentation organized and accessible, including a recent photo of pooch with distinguishing features in case they get lost.
If pooch struggles with motion sickness or anxiety, the vet can advise you on how to keep them comfortable during travel. Treatments can range from prescription medication to yummy, naturally calming treats to wearables.
Travel Tip 3
Dogs are creatures of habit. Incorporating travel elements into pup’s routine from the safety of home reduces discomfort during the journey. Get the suitcases out, practice riding in the car, and have them spend time in carriers or crates. Reward good behavior with treats and praise!
Travel Tip 4
Call ahead! We’ll go into more detail later on, but for now, it is crucial to know the pet regulations of all transport companies, accommodations, restaurants, and activities well in advance to avoid unnecessary stress during your relaxation time.
Travel Tip 5
The regulations of many service providers distinguish between pets, service animals, and emotional support animals. Be sure to follow the rules that apply to you.
Travel Tip 6
Know when to leave pup home. Unfortunately, not all of our vacation plans are right for pup. Maybe we’re going too far away for too short a time or have a museum-heavy itinerary. Or maybe pup just doesn’t do well with travel. In these cases, you’ll be doing them a favor to call a sitter or book a boarding spot.
Dog-Friendly Travel Destinations
What’s more fun than dreaming up your ideal vacation? Kick your imagination into gear and get the leash ready, because there are so many amazing options to choose from! Let’s highlight just a few of them.
What makes a dog-friendly city? Well, a dog-friendly city is designed and regulated for the harmonious cohabitation of pups and their people. They have lots of dog parks and dog-accessible transportation. Many bars, restaurants, hotels, shopping venues, and activities welcome dogs. They might even have special menus or goodies for our furry friends!
Here are some of the United States’ top dog-friendly cities:
- The Pacific Northwest - Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon
- The Southwest - Sedona, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico
- The Southeast - Asheville, North Carolina and Miami, Florida
- The Midwest and West - Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; and Santa Barbara, California
- The Northeast - New York City and Boston, Massachusets
National parks may seem like a great dog-friendly vacation option—and they are. But many have important rules and restrictions meant to protect nature, pup, and other guests. Some keep large portions of their trail system pet free. Be sure to respect leash rules and always clean up after pup.
Here are some national parks that allow dogs (leashed) on all or most of their trail systems:
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
- New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia
- Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Is your wanderlust calling you even farther afield? Many of the globe’s top destinations are great for pup!
A pet-friendly international travel destination has a temperate climate, lots of outdoor activities, an existing pet-loving culture, little or no quarantine upon entry, and an environment free of unfamiliar diseases or parasites. Here are some of our favorites:
- The Netherlands
Transportation may be the most challenging piece in your pet-friendly travel puzzle. There are just so many pros and cons to weigh, including cost, red tape, time, and comfort.
While each mode of transportation has its own peculiarities, there are some standard tips to make your journey easier:
- To prevent upset tummies, avoid feeding pooch for a few hours before beginning travel.
- Get in plenty of exercise and potty time before setting out.
- Prepare all the items you’ll need for the duration of travel. These may include security devices, medication, water recipients, and potty pads.
- If your dog struggles with motion sickness or anxiety, talk to your vet about how to help!
When possible, road-tripping to your destination will likely be the simplest and most cost-effective option. Your car, your rules! You can accommodate pup’s safety and comfort as you like and take as many breaks as you need.
Remember, pup’s place in the car should be comfortable and safe. Consider a well-secured crate or a seatbelt-adaptable harness.
When flying with pup, you’re dealing with two layers of regulations—those of the destination and of the airline.
Destinations may have particular health, vaccination, and identification requirements. Some countries even have mandatory quarantines!
Most airlines allow dogs either in the cabin or in the cargo hold, depending on size. Both options usually come with a fee and additional requirements.
If you must fly with pup but don’t want the headache of wading through regulations and pricing, you can hire a dedicated pet travel company to do the legwork. Check out the members of the IPATA to find reputable service providers.
Train, Subway, and Ferry
It’s best to contact your service provider to find out about pet travel regulations. Integrate this information into your travel plans early to avoid unpleasant surprises.
When you check into your holiday accommodation, you want your pooch to feel welcomed with open arms, not merely tolerated. Luckily, more and more hotels at every price point are going above and beyond for our furry friends. Many provide beds, bowls, toys, and treats on arrival. Some even have special amenities like a doggy ambassador, dog-friendly menus, and local dog-friendly recommendations.
In exchange, they’ll often set behavior expectations and ask for an additional cleaning fee.
Pet-Friendly Hotels and Resorts
There are SO many pet-friendly hotels and resorts these days. To get you started, our sources recommend these favorites with many national and international locations:
- Best Economy - Red Roof Inn
- Best Midrange - Drury
- Best Luxury - Loews
- Best Boutique - Staypineapple
- Best Resort - Blackberry Farm
AirBnB and Home Rentals
AirBnB allows you to search for dog-friendly properties. They will vary in terms of extra fees, rules, size or breed restrictions, and amenities. Great hosts will even help you find dog-friendly restaurants and activities nearby.
Camping and Glamping
Camping seems like an easy solution for pet-friendly accommodation, right? Not always. Some campsites don’t allow pets at all and others have strict leash policies. Do investigate your campsite’s regulations before booking.
Once you find the right campsite, remember to bring along the right gear to make your stay comfortable. Game changers include a roomy tent, durable doggy sleeping pads, leash zip lines, break-resistant food and water bowls, and lightweight, protective storage for dog food.
It’s time to jet!
Sharing great times and making great memories is the best part of being a pet parent. We hope you feel ready to plan an ideal pet-friendly vacation. TrackiPet wishes you safe travels.