Often when I’m travelling, I encounter people who are surprised that my husband and I are travelling with our dog, especially when we’re travelling internationally. I can understand why, as initially I also thought it wasn’t possible to travel with our dog. But once we took the plunge, I never leave my dog behind if I can help it. (Living in Australia makes it tricky, so sometimes it’s not feasible.) Read on to find out why you should travel with your dog…
It’s Easier Than You Think to Travel with a Dog
While this partially depends on where in the world you are located, it’s not as hard as you think to travel with a dog.
There’s an increasing numbers of pet-friendly hotels in many destinations. Plus in many parts of the world, small dogs are allowed inside plane cabins and on trains.
Even when crossing borders, most of the time you’ll just need proof of a rabies vaccination and a health certificate. Quarantine for pets while travelling is rare.
If you’ve never travelled with your dog before, it’s easy to think it’s not possible, but if you want to, there’s a way.
Travelling with a Dog Encourages You to Travel Slowly
I’m not entirely sure why, but when I travel with my dog we tend to travel slower, and be more appreciative of the places we visit and the journeys we take.
This is probably partially as we prefer to drive or take trains to get to our destination, even when our dog can fly in the cabin of a plane.
But we also try and include more activities that our dog can also enjoy, such as hiking or just strolls through town, hopefully including a dog park. Our dog also enjoys the chance to settle down for awhile, rather than shifting his “home” constantly.
Although I should note, the few times I don’t travel with my dog these days, I usually don’t travel slowly – in an attempt to return home to my dog as soon as possible!
A Good Excuse to Skip “Must-Visit” Attractions
No matter where you go, there’s always a list of “must-visit” attractions that you’re expected to tick off, even if it’s not usually something you’d visit. For instance, visiting art galleries and museums when you prefer heading outdoors or enjoying the food scene.
By coincidence, many of these places are located indoors, or dogs are not permitted. So, travelling with a dog gives you a good excuse to skip these sights, unless you’re genuinely interested in visiting them.
You Meet More of the Locals
When you travel with a dog in a foreign country, many people think that you’re a local or at least an expat, rather than just a mere tourist. This is especially the case if you visit dog parks.
Due to this, I’ve had many more locals strike up conversations with me than when I travel without my dog, touching on many different topics, or just asking to pat my dog.
Often I’m asked about my dog, even if we don’t speak each other’s language. Due to this, I’ve quickly learnt how to answer in multiple languages the standard questions of whether my dog is male or female, what’s their name, how old they are, and (in some countries) whether they have had the “snip”.
They’re a Member of the Family
Finally, the number one reason I travel with my dog is that he’s simply part of my family. Just as if we had children we wouldn’t leave them behind (well, most of the time), I don’t like to leave my dog behind.
Why We Travel with Our Dogs
Rather than just find out the reasons I travel with my dog, I thought I’d ask around and find out why other people also travel with their dogs.
Joanne and Mitch
Mitch is a rescue dog of indeterminate breed – though bestowed with the honorary title of German Shepherd cross American Staffy – and already a grown-up ‘big boi’ when we adopted him in 2011. As a stray his background is unknown, but it quickly became clear that Mitch values family life above all else. He hated to be left behind, even for a few minutes, so how could we even think of going on holiday without him?
Mitch’s first holiday was in Maleny, in a pet-friendly cottage in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. He loved watching the cows in the paddock, dining under the table outside cafes, and exploring rural laneways before snuggling inside with the kids at night. Since then he’s explored beaches and mountains too.
Mitch is an old man now but taking him holidaying with us created quality memories and reinforced for the kids that pets are family too!
Melanie, Jarvis & Finn
When I am asked why I travel with my dogs, I always think why wouldn’t I? We are huge fans of open, remote spaces so this lends itself perfectly to dog friendly holidays. We would both hate a beach or poolside holiday so it was never a sacrifice for us.
Visiting these places without our dogs just wouldn’t be the same. We love nothing more than to watch them running and enjoying their walks so their presence adds hugely to our enjoyment.
There are times when it isn’t practical, for example city breaks, eating out etc. Which is when we enlist the help of fabulous home carers for our whippets. We don’t stay away from them for long though as we miss them too much!
A holiday without my dogs just isn’t a holiday.
Maria and Robby
San Diego Explorer
Robby, my dog, is the best travel buddy. He is always up for an adventure and when we are on tour together, he really shows his fun personality. He loves hiking, swimming and going to the beach is his favourite way to spend a day while traveling. Robby loves to explore and find the little hidden gems and quirky things that you only stumble upon, when you slow down and sniff the bushes, I mean, smell the flowers.
I especially love having Robby with me, when I travel solo. As a solo female traveler, having a large (and protective) dog with you, is always a plus. Together, Robby and I have explored many states in the Western US from California to Utah, and from as far north as Colorado to the Eastern border of Texas. We even traveled multiple times to Baja California, Mexico. But no matter where we end up, Robby makes every destination a little more fun to explore than on my own.
Nadine, Harvey and Chloe
Harvey and Chloe are our two adorable Golden Retrievers. We adopted them in New Zealand around 10 years ago and they’ve firmly established themselves as part of the family ever since!
When we lived in New Zealand we found travelling with them more difficult (mostly due to accommodation providers not wanting animals), but since moving to France we try to take them with us whenever possible.
Having a dog with you on holiday makes you see & experience places differently – like getting acquainted with the dusty dog parks in Premia de Mar, Spain, or seeking out the dog-friendly trails in the Alps. Now that they’re older, our adventures are tamer, but I love searching for ‘new’ local lakes or bush walks so that their lives remain interesting and varied.
Gemma and Annie
I love traveling with my rescue dog, Annie; and not just because she’s easy company. As a solo traveler, it prevents me from becoming too selfish – I still have to make compromises to make the adventures enjoyable for her too. Plus, it forces me to be more sociable, as people are more likely to strike up a conversation to you when you have a dog with you.
I might not enjoy as many of the cultural aspects travel can bring, but I certainly see more of the countryside. Annie and I have found some great off-the-beaten-path places to hike in my search for suitable dog walking spots, and I love seeing her excited body language when we head out on a new trail.
Megan and Jax
Something can be said about traveling with a dog. While many people find their dog to be a fantastic hiking companion or a buddy when times get lonely, my dog had a different impact on me when we traveled together.
He didn’t like super long hikes (despite living in Norway) or being away from his routine and he always took the time to connect with the small details. He would notice a caterpillar when I wouldn’t and he would always stop to smell the flowers and he never rushed to do so.
I spend my life rushed and busy. I never ‘stop to smell the roses’ or admire life’s small details. But, when I traveled with him, I found myself connecting far more with my surroundings and much less with my phone or irrelevant thoughts in my head.
He passed away a couple of months ago but I know that every time I take a photo of a bee in a flower in Madeira or I smell the subtle notes of mountain thyme in Armenia, I will smile and think of him.
Pauline and Houdie
Travelling is not only enjoyable but for us but also for our dogs! My friend and I travelled a lot around Wales and Scotland with her dog, Houdie, and she absolutely loved it!
She loves going on an adventure with us and being part of the fun! Hiking is always better with Houdie, she definitely knows how to get us to speed up.
Road tripping and camping is also good fun for a dog! Houdie loves discovering new places and spending time with us and sometimes (ok…who am I kidding? Always!) taking up all the room in the tent.
We went onto loads of activities with her, especially in Scotland. She loved the cruise on Loch Lomond. We also go on walking tours with her. Although she kept yawning every time the guide in Edinburgh would start talking, she quickly became the star of the tour and loved the attention!
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