Over the past two years, we have done quite a bit of traveling with a dog. During the pandemic, even when restrictions were lifted, dog sitter options were quite limited. Understandably so, people did not want people or animals coming in and out of their homes. Our dog enjoys car rides, is friendly, and under fifty pounds (most of the time), which provides her the opportunity to stay in many dog-friendly places. Due to her breed, an English Bulldog, our traveling consists of road trips.
Traveling with your dog is a great opportunity for you to see the world around you, while also providing some adventure for your furry canine. Keep scrolling to learn the top five tips to successfully travel with a dog.
It all comes down to planning when traveling with a dog.
- Destination selection
Planning is the most important step when traveling with a dog. This consists of hotel selection, daily agendas, dining options, and dog-friendly attractions or parks. If you are traveling with your dog; seek out opportunities to bring your dog along. Effective planning will lead to a successful vacation for both you and your dog.
When traveling with a dog, some cities and climates are better for that experience. We use the following criteria when determining if we should bring our dog:
- Are there dog-friendly hotels with no extra pet fees? How close are green areas to the hotel?
- What do we want to see in the city? Are they dog-friendly? If not, how long would we be away from the hotel?
- How many restaurants in the area are dog-friendly?
- Distance from our home. What level of confidence do we have that our dog would enjoy the ride?
- Weather. Will it be enjoyable to do outdoor activities with our dog?
If we have concerns over any of the criteria, we either stay home or go somewhere else. When traveling without our dog, we use Rover.com. They have options for someone to stay at your home or for your dog to stay at their location. All Rover.com sitters are background-checked. I always recommend a meet and greet prior to booking with a sitter. This allows you and the sitter to determine if your dog is a match for them. For international travel, we typically like someone to stay at our home. If traveling domestically for a shorter period of time, our dog goes to their home.
Seek out dog-friendly hotels or other accommodations when traveling with a dog. Several Marriott brand properties, such as Residence Inn and Courtyard will allow dogs, however, they commonly charge a ~$150 dog cleaning fee. Fees may vary slightly by the hotel and can be hefty, however, if staying for an extended period of time, the one-time cleaning fee is more palatable than if staying for two nights. One fee-free dog-friendly property within Marriott is A Loft.
The volume of A Loft properties in the United States is significant. A Loft is uber dog-friendly. Many locations allow you to borrow dog beds, provide dog bowls and even provide a welcome treat. Make sure to call ahead to determine what dog amenities your particular location offers. Make sure to review BringFido’s expensive list of dog-friendly hotels.
When selecting a hotel, determine the distance from the hotel to the nearest grassy area. Call the hotel and ask or look up the location on google maps. Many of the dog-friendly hotels we’ve used had green areas within a block. New Orleans was the exception. The closest green area near A Loft was five blocks. You really had to search for green areas in that city.
When traveling with a dog, there will be places where they are welcome and places where they are not. Planning the balance between those two scenarios can be challenging. We use yelp to plan one lunch or dinner each day at a dog-friendly location. Finding dog-friendly restaurants is much easier when visiting a warm-weather climate. When bringing your dog along for a meal, always bring a water bowl and bottle of water for your dog.
Your itinerary should include rest time for your dog. Several times during trips, our dog would stay in the hotel room while we visited museums or had a nicer meal out.
Plan for the time at dog-friendly parks, forest preserves or nature walks. This will allow your dog to get out and stretch their legs in a more significant manner.
Just as you pack necessities for yourself, spend adequate time packing for your dog. I’ve linked several necessities that you can grab on Amazon. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn small commissions when purchases are made from these links.
We bring the following items along with us when traveling with a dog
- Crate: Even if your dog does not stay in the crate at your home when staying in a hotel or location with housekeeping, bring the crate. With individuals potentially entering your room, you do not want your dog to get scared or cause frustration to the hotel staff.
- Leash: Always keep your dog on the leash when exploring outside the hotel room.
- Blanket: Keep this in their crate for comfort and the smell of your and home.
- Towel: You never know when your dog will step into a puddle. To be prepared, bring a dog towel to clean off their feet when you get back to your hotel room. Hotel comforters are commonly white and muddy paw prints are highly visible!
- Dog food, bowls, and treats: Unless all the hotels along your trip provide bowls, bring them with you. If we are staying at multiple hotels, I divide the dog food into multiple large ziplock bags. That allows me to take in only what I need versus food for the entire trip to each hotel. If you would like to make your own dog treats, click here to review a recipe on our blog!
- Poo bags: Lots and lots of poo bags. Always have extra with you.
- Toys: Pack a few toys to make the hotel feel more like home.
- Bottled water and a gallon of water: Bring a case of bottled water with you. Take this with you to restaurants or any other outings with your dog. Use the gallon of water for drink breaks while traveling in the car.
- Dog trainer: Our dog is friendly and well-behaved, but we always bring her dog trainer with us. This collar allows you to give your dog signals about its behavior. You can use a beeping noise, vibration, or shock. Our dog responds to the beep. Use the dog trainer prior to leaving. If they jump, tell them no and use the trainer at the same time. Again, the shock button should be rarely used.
Enjoy traveling with your dog! Please share your own tips in the comments sections.