10 Greatest Reasons to Travel with Your Dog

You can travel the world, experience new cultures, visit historic landmarks and taste new cuisines, but for most dogs, the furthest they travel is to their local park. If you’re a dog parent, spontaneous travel can seem impossible. What you might not realize, having a dog isn’t a burden on your adventures, but a rewarding enhancement.

Here is a list of ten reasons why traveling is so much better when you share the experience with your dog.

1. They’ll Never Complain About the Sleeping Arrangements

Oh sleep, how precious you are, especially on vacation. In the past year, I’ve slept in a sleeping bag, on an air mattress, in the bed of a truck, on a tempur-pedic and on a boat. Do you know what all of these places have in common? Your ability to get a good night’s rest is dependent on the level of comfort.

The level of comfort a dog requires to sleep is little to none. Dogs can fall asleep quite literally anywhere and they’ll be happy to do it knowing you’re close by. Whether it’s a quick nap in a bed between exploratory hikes or a good night’s sleep under the stars in a tent, a dog is capable of snoozing anywhere.

For more information on pet-friendly hotel chains, click here.

Jessica & her Golden Doodle
Jessica & her Golden Doodle, Wrigley

2. They Help You Decide on the Next Destination

Traveling with a dog is not impossible, but can pose a few hurdles. Bringing your dog along on adventures requires a lot more planning and consideration to their needs, versus your own. When planning a trip with your four-legged friend, feel encouraged to look for cities that offer pet-friendly accommodations and activities such as outdoor dining, parks, beaches, and events.

Where To Travel Next…

I’ve compiled a list of places to consider when you plan your next get-away – all of which welcome dogs.

  • National Parks
    • Pets are allowed in all National Parks, to some degree or another, so why not take them on the hike of a lifetime?
  • Colorado
    • Take in the mountain views and fresh air when you and your canine companion hike the trails in Colorado Springs and Boulder. Garden of the Gods, Manitou Cliff Dwelling, Royal Arch Trail, and South Boulder Peak Trail are just a few areas you can explore.
  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee
    • You can find pet-friendly mountain cabins and vacation rentals here, with a Smokey Mountain backdrop every where you look. Take your pup on the Gatlinburg Skylift to get to the top of the mountain and hike a multitude of trails.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
    • Home to the International Hot Air Balloon Festival, Albuquerque offers dog owners the opportunity to enjoy a mild year-round climate. White Sands National Park is located in Alamogordo and is dog friendly.
  • Oregon
    • If you and your pooch enjoy taking in the sounds of waves crashing against the shore, then add Cannon Beach to your travel list. There are miles of beach to explore, and you aren’t too far from Portland if you want to experience city life.

Pet Regulations

If you’re looking for a broader experience with an adventure overseas, be informed of the strict pet regulations some countries maintain. Bringing your dog with you overseas typically requires a veterinary health form, a microchip, a complete list of vaccinations, proof of ownership, and various other country-specific forms.

For more information on country specific pet regulations, click here.

Where ever you choose to call home-base during your travels, keeping your furry friend in mind will allow for a less stressful adventure, and more memories to be made.

Alexis & her Pitbull, Bruno
Alexis & her Pitbull, Bruno

3. Let’s You Pick What’s For Dinner

If you’ve ever gone on vacation with friends or family, you know what I’m talking about. Choosing a restaurant can become more of a hassle than a delight when you have to cater to a variety of different allergies, tastes and personalities. Picky eaters and choosy restauranteurs can become the deciding factor between a pleasant evening filled with drinks and laughter, versus a nightmare dining experience filled with complaints.

Traveling with your dog is a whole different story.

You packed their morning and evening meals? Good-boy sit is anticipatory.

You surprise them with treats? Tail is wagging.

Let’s Eat…

Across the US, more and more restaurants have been adapting their policies to not only accept, but cater to dogs. Here are a few of our favorite places you and your pooch can chow down at.

  • Skiptown – Charlotte, North Carolina
    • This 20,000+ square foot indoor/outdoor off-leash play area features 24 beers on tap, local food trucks, bone broth dog beer, a splash pad agility course, and much more.
  • The Dog Bar – St. Pete, Florida
    • This dog-friendly bar is home to over 4,500 square feet of fenced in dog park, with a full service bar. Patrons are required to have a membership to ensure your dogs safety as it is an off-leash establishment. This unique concept comes complete with an Astroturf play surface and a supervisor to oversee all of the puppy play.
  • Bark Social – Bethesda, Maryland
    • A dog park, a beer garden, a coffee shop… all in one. Featuring over 20 draft beers and a menu fit for both humans and dogs, Bark Social is designed for making friends. You must register your dog online before arrival.
  • Omaha Dog Bar – Omaha, Nebraska
    • A membership-based community for dogs and their humans. Featuring both indoor/outdoor bark park amenities, Omaha Dog Bar also provides a bar and eatery.
  • Pups Pub – Tampa, Florida
    • This dog-friendly sports bar allows you the opportunity to kick it with your friends while letting your pooch socialize.

Whether you plan to cook-out at the lake house, order room service from your five-star hotel room, or check out the local dog-friendly restaurant in town, your furry friend will be happy to be sharing a meal with you.

Shalie & her Chesador, Gibson Charles
Shalie & her Chesador, Gibson Charles

4. You Won’t Hear, “Are We There Yet?”

You can take them on a 20 minute car ride or a three day road trip, it’s not going to matter because they’re having the time of their life.

Say the words, “Do you want to go for a ride?” and see what happens, I dare you.

Olivia & her German Shepherd, Manson
Olivia & her German Shepherd, Manson

5. Isn’t Afraid to Ask Strangers for Directions

When traveling by yourself, it’s easy to pull out your phone and search for directions or a bite to eat. If you’ve ever tried to send a text message and walk a dog at the same time, you know those two tasks don’t always prove to coincide. It’s easy to get caught up in our own thoughts and our daily agenda to stop and realize there are resources all around to assist in our needs.

Attention is the name of the game. Whether it be a small dog or a large dog, all eyes will be on them. The next time you take your dog for stroll down the street, pay attention to the prideful prance that suddenly inhabits their body as a group of strangers pass by.

Your dog knows how to be social. If you need directions or have a quick question but aren’t sure who to ask, your dogs ability to politely walk up to people is the perfect opportunity. Who knows, you might make a new friend in the process.

Stacey & her Border Collie, Louie
Stacey & her Border Collie, Louie

6. Your Safety is the Number One Concern

A dog is essentially the security guard of your life – your belongings and YOU have become their responsibility whether you like it or not. Dogs have a keen sense of awareness and are more likely to notice something or someone before you do. Having the ability to sense when something isn’t right, a person seems off, or you’re in danger is what makes a dog a large asset to your travels.

Big dogs can already look intimidating to intruders, but don’t underestimate the aggressiveness of a small one. All you need is a bark to alarm and help you in an otherwise compromising situation. You’ll feel much safer traveling with your dog, knowing someone is looking out for you every step of the way.

Jessica & her Yorkshire Terrier, Peter
Jessica & her Yorkshire Terrier, Peter

7. Share Your Love of Exploring

You can walk a dog down the same street every day and they’ll still find something new to explore in the area. Dogs are always excited to discover new places, meet new friends, smell new odors, and hear new sounds.

They never get tired of the wanderlust.

Calling All Adventure Seekers…

Your dog just wants to see new things, but they want to do it with you. Here’s a list of simple, but things to do while exploring.

  • Attend a dog-friendly sporting event
    • You can likely find a “dog in the park” baseball game in any major city
  • Explore a local farmers market
    • Typically occurring on the weekends, you might find a new organic dog treat or meet a new friend to share lunch with later
  • Charter a boat
    • Head out into open water with your curious pup and get a suntan while enjoying the breeze
  • Rent a paddleboard/kayak
    • It might take a couple tries to get the hang of balancing, but once you do, the two of you will have a new hobby to share
  • Go camping
    • The smell of a bonfire, eating s’mores late at night and becoming one with nature, what more could you ask for?

Exploring with your pup can lead you to places you would have otherwise ignored and new hobbies you didn’t know you would enjoy. More importantly, it forces you to view the world from a new perspective.

Cheyenne & her Italian Greyhound, Zeppelin
Cheyenne & her Italian Greyhound, Zeppelin

8. Helpful in Making New Friends

If you’re anything like me, one of your toxic traits might be shouting, “PUPPY!” any time you see a dog in public, quickly followed by asking if you can pet the goodest boy or girl around. This is how the ice is broken. You start to ask what the dog’s name is or how old they are, and before you know it, you’re getting to know not only the dog, but the owner.

A dog is the perfect conversation starter in any situation; no one can resist a cute face and some slobbery kisses. Much like helping you ask for directions, your dog knows when to turn up the charm for a friendly encounter. It doesn’t matter if you’re shy or outgoing, your dog is a great way to meet the locals and quickly make new connections during your travels.

Sierra & her Golden Retriever, Briar
Sierra & her Golden Retriever, Briar

9. The Mode of Transportation Doesn’t Matter

By train, plane, automobile or on foot, as long as your canine companion is by your side, they are along for the ride.

The easiest mode of transportation remains to be a classic road trip. Roll down the windows, watch your fur child’s tongue hang in the breeze and smile with excitement. So, you want to listen to the Spice Girls on repeat… maybe switch to some Pandora Country Hits; you won’t hear any complaints from the backseat. When you take a bathroom break at an off-road rest stop, your dog will have no problem sniffing out a spot to make their mark, and jump back in the car with as much excitement as they had when you started.

Road Trip, Road Trip, Road Trip…

  • Provide your dog with a designated space in the car they can claim as their own
  • Pack their favorite toys and essentials
  • Don’t ignore their need for bathroom breaks
    • This is the perfect opportunity to throw the ball around for a couple minutes to shake out any antsy behavior your dog might be having
  • Carry your dog’s vaccination records with you in the glove compartment just in case
  • They get thirsty too, so make sure you’re keeping up with their water intake
  • Collapsable food and water bowls are the most convenient for travel
  • Clean up after your furry friend!
    • If there’s one thing to overpack, it’s poop bags.
  • Be mindful of the weather
  • You know your pet better than anyone, if you think you might need it, pack it.

Nowadays, traveling by plane requires a bit more paperwork and a lot more research. It no longer satisfies the airline to have your dog registered as an emotional support animal, you must now meet a longer list of requirements.

Flying High in the Sky…

  • Every airline has their own set of rules and regulations they follow for pets
  • Most airlines allow a limited amount of pets aboard the aircraft, so be sure to check availability BEFORE you purchase your own ticket
  • Small dogs are typically allowed in the cabin as a “carry-on” – with a weight limit
  • Large dogs are required to travel in the cargo hold, in which you must provide a kennel for transport
    • Wire kennels are not permitted on any airline for safety purposes
  • The cargo hold has temperature fluctuations that can effect your pet’s health during transport
    • During summer months, travel in the early morning or late evening
    • During winter months, travel mid-day
  • Talk to your veterinarian about the health risks, before booking a seat on a plane

For more information about specific airline restrictions, click here.

On a similar note, Amtrak only allows dogs that are under 20 pounds on trips up to seven hours long, with the exceptions of service dogs.

For more information about train travel, click here.

Kristen & her Australian Shepherd, Harley
Kristen & her Australian Shepherd, Harley

10. They Love You No Matter What

It’s like the saying goes, “Dogs might be in just a small part of our lives, but to them, we are their whole life.” The destination doesn’t matter to your furry travel buddy, it’s all about spending time with you.

Whether it’s the idea of walking your dog down the streets of New York City, or watching them run on the beach in California, there’s an activity for you and your best friend to enjoy in every corner of the country. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your next getaway…

Once you start, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t travel with your dog sooner.

Erica Soroka camping with her Pitbull, Kobe
Author, Erica Soroka & her Pitbull, Kobe

THANK YOU to all the women who contributed to the creation of this article by submitting their favorite photo with their fur babies.

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One Comment

  1. Wouldn’t let me get the monthly newsletter about traveling with a dog. Can you sign me up?

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