After many months of staying home, we are all eager to be traveling again. This summer has seen the return of road-tripping, staying local, and exploring our home states. That begs the question, “Can the dog come do, too?” Puppy-dog eyes—from kids and pups—stare up at you, “pleeease?” Road-tripping with Rover can be fun for the whole family but planning ahead is a definite must.
Here are some tips to make your pet-friendly road trip a success:
Check the hotel website and call ahead for the most up-to-date policies, particularly if the hotel is limited occupancy due to Covid. The hotel may assign your reservation to a pet-friendly room, perhaps on the ground floor or in a particular building. Ask if your dog can stay in the room alone, and if s/he needs to be crated. Will housekeeping be able to make up your room while the dog is there, or do you need to be present? You should also ask if pets are permitted in public spaces—such as the lobby and breakfast area. There may be a pet surcharge, or even weight limits on pets, such as “only up to 50 lbs.” Every hotel has its own policies—better to ask than assume.
Summer road trips are full of outdoor activities—like picnicking, hiking, sunning on the beach, canoeing, and fishing. Check the websites to be sure that pets are welcome in the park or on the tour. Some popular sights might not allow pets at all, or limit pets to morning and evening hours—especially beaches in the summer. Respect the local rules so that everyone has a good time. Plan active adventures for the cooler times of day and keep your pooch hydrated too. Pack extra towels and even the dog brush to clean any sand or mud off your pet before returning to the hotel.
Dining out at local restaurants can be a highlight of your trip. Look for outdoor seating and call ahead for a reservation. Ask if dogs are welcome and request outside seating when possible. Some pet-friendly places might provide a water bowl for
your dog, but you might also want to bring your own just in case. In case there are few pet-friendly options, a night of take-away dinner and a movie on the TV can be lots of fun too.
Some days, your pet won’t be able to come along such as if you head to a museum or to the movies. If your pet can’t stay in the hotel alone, look for a local doggie daycare or even dog spa. You’ll probably need to bring your pet’s shot records. Rover will have a great day playing with other dogs, and if you can arrange for a grooming appointment, even better!
Maybe you are ready to travel a bit further and take a flight to your next vacation AND bring your pet along too. Before you purchase your ticket, call the airline and ask about their policies. There are weight limits on pets traveling in the cabin with you, and specific guidelines for pets travelling in cargo. Not all aircraft can have pets in cargo, so be sure your flight is suited for your larger pet. You will need paperwork and shot records from your veterinarian to upload to the airline website several days before your flight, and your pet carrier must meet size requirements based on the height and weight of your pet. Flying with your pet is a little more complicated but can still be lots of fun when you arrive at your destination.
As travel begins its gradual return, we can all look forward to exploring our world again and, hopefully, with our furry friends along for the adventure.
Lisa Taub is a full-service travel advisor and owner of True Direction Travel in Montgomery, OH. She specializes in custom vacation itineraries for her clients – and sometimes their pets too. Whether you are planning a US road-trip, a tour of European capital cities, or a relaxing holiday to a Caribbean resort, Lisa will design a tailor-made vacation especially for you and your family. Find more information on her website, www.truedirectiontravel.com and on Facebook @truedirectiontravel.