Traveling 101: How to Have an Amazing Vacation with Your Dog

Vacationing with your dog is an opportunity to enjoy all the perks of traveling alone while having a companion by your side. Since recent years pet-friendly travel has gained popularity as more pet-parents prefer taking their pooches along on vacations. Due to the increasing demand, airlines and hotels now accommodate pets. There are many dog-friendly hotels, guest houses, and restaurants in many parts of the US and internationally as well. Airlines such as American, Air France, Air Canada and a few others allow pets in the cabin too. However, some guidelines that need to be followed for instance most airlines only let small dogs travel with you in the cabin and the big dogs fly in the cargo.

But as fun, as it is, a vacation with your dog can turn into a nightmare if not properly planned. You need to decide the perfect destination, carry the required supplies and prepare your dog for the journey. This article is the ultimate guide that will discuss the basics of traveling with your pup.

Where to Go For the Holiday?

The first move is to decide on a destination. You know your dog better so you can choose if your companion would want to go to the beach, hike the hills, or visit historical places. Most states ask for proof of vacations, and a health certificate while others may require quarantining your pet for extended periods. For instance, the European Countries such as Scotland, England, or Whales may need you to quarantine the pet if he doesn’t qualify the checks. The checks include having a valid pet passport, being vaccinated, and microchipped.

If you are planning to tour outside the country, I would recommend selecting a place that goes to the lengths of protecting companion animals, while avoiding that extra step of quarantine, as this can be very stressful on pets. Look for the activities and services that each place offers. Once you have shortlisted a few sites that fit your needs, find out pet-friendly hotels accommodations in the area. This would include hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and short-term private rentals.

Choosing an Airline

The next task is to search for pet-friendly airlines. Each company has different regulations; some may allow your dog in the cabin while others allow pets to travel in the cargo. I suggest you contact the airlines and ask about all the information and specifications, including policies.

You will also need a USDA approved carrier for your pooch as airlines only allow that according to the rules. It’s essential to accustom your dog to the crate before the flight, so he doesn’t panic.

Other Modes of Transportation

Travelling via train or bus is another option, especially during the vacations as it can save you a lot of money. Within the US, each state has its laws regarding allowing pets on buses. Most places allow small dogs in crates that can fit in your lap and cities like San Francisco have specific time slots for pets.
Dogs are ideal companions for adventurous road-trips. While traveling in a car, ensure that you safely restrain your dog. Before embarking on a long journey, accustom your dog to short car trips. Take him along for groceries and running errands, this way your dog will get comfortable with the car. If you find out your pup has motion sickness, consult the vet for medications.

Selecting an Accommodation

While searching locations to stay, look for a place that provides additional facilities and fits your budget. Contact the accommodation and ask about their weight and size limits, pet deposit requirements, and other rules. It’s best to choose a place that has a doggy daycare or an emergency vet clinic nearby. Make a list of the activities that you will participate in mutually, but also jot down some activities for yourself alone. If you stay with your dog round the clock, it might be hard for your baby to settle once you get back and get busy with work.

Before leaving your pup, you would have to check the hotel policies, if they don’t allow your pet alone in the room, then look for dog daycare options. Some hotels require you to secure them in a crate when alone. There are other options where the staff can pet-sit your furry friend when you are out.

Let’s Go Shopping

You need to shop all the necessary items for your pooch and yourself. Buy delicious treats, your dog’s regular food, first-aid equipment, a few meds, and your pup’s favorite toys. You will also need a quality harness for traveling outdoors. If you are short on time, you always have the option of shopping from reliable websites that deliver at your doorstep.

If not already, get your dog microchipped to make it easier to find him if he gets lost. And, make sure he has a tag with all of your current information engraved.

At the Airport

On the day of the flight, arrive at the airport a little early. Make sure you stop giving your pooch food at least 4 hours before you fly.

Get your dog out and put him on the leash while passing through the security checks. Don’t give him tranquilizers. Leave the food and drink bowls in his crate so the airline staff can provide him with water and food.

After You Have Arrived

Once you reach the destination and arrive at the hotel, check the room for any dangerous items before letting your pooch out. Afterwards, let your dog explore the room and settle in the new environment. Rest to overcome the jet lag, and then take your dog for a walk. Visit all the places on your travel-list; exercise your pooch, so he doesn’t get restless in the room. As a last piece of advice, I suggest you have a lot of fun, visit destinations and capture all the memories. You and your pooch will get the opportunity to meet new people and make unforgettable memories together.


Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.

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