I don’t know if there has been any actual survey on the subject, but I’d bet that one of the big reasons people don’t travel is because they don’t want to leave their pets behind.
I used to take my cat with me whenever I moved. Then I decided that, at 8 years of age, she was too old to fly, so I left her with my Mom. Five months later, I got a phone call telling me that she was having trouble breathing and she died soon after.
I was heartbroken. Maybe only pet owners would understand how I felt, but my cat was my family. She had been a constant companion through most of my adult life. I felt like I should’ve been there for her, and it didn’t help that the last photo I ever took of her was this:
Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to travel with your pets?
Yes, yes it would.
That’s why I’m interviewing Lauren of The Constant Rambler. She and her husband, Kenin, have been road-tripping with their dogs for years. She has a lot of practical tips to share, so read on if you want to take your animal pals on your travels.
Hi Lauren, how long have you been traveling with your pets?
Kenin and I have traveled with our pets for the last 13 years. We had two dogs for most of our relationship but our Sheltie, Punkin, passed away last year. We now travel full-time and Zoe, our weimaraner, goes almost everywhere with us.
Obviously it’s fun to have your pets around, but what are some other benefits?
We meet lots of pet-friendly people that just want to come up and snuggle Zoe, so she is a great conversation starter. We also get to meet lots of other pets on our travels and I am a sucker for anything cute and fluffy and will always find an excuse to go up and snuggle someone else’s pets.
Are dogs the only pets you can (relatively) conveniently travel with? Have you or other people you know traveled with other kinds of pets?
I know many people that travel with cats and I even have a friend that traveled with his pet lizard. We have only ever traveled with dogs, but if you have a well-trained pet that will respect other people’s property, I think it would be cool to travel with them as well.
There are often restrictions against bringing animals onto public transport. You travel with your own car. What are some other possible transport options for people who want to travel with pets?
I think cars are the best way to go.
Animals are very nervous when they are not in familiar territory and I would hate to stress out Zoe by putting her in an airplane (since she is big, she would have to go in cargo hold) or on a train. You hear so many horror stories about animals that die or get lost.
If I can’t travel with Zoe by my side, I won’t take her with me. I don’t want to stress her or my fellow travelers. I want things to run smoothly for everyone and I always try to be respectful of others. Just because I love my dog doesn’t mean that everyone else loves her (even though they should J ).
What about crossing borders? I’ve done two international moves with a cat before and I had to do a stack of paperwork. Do you limit your travels to domestic destinations? What do you do when you travel abroad?
We keep our travel North America based when traveling with Zoe. I don’t ever want to have to quarantine her and as I stated before, I won’t put her in a cargo hold. Most countries that are North America based that you can drive to require that she has her shots within the last six months. No quarantine required.
When we go far overseas, we leave her with friends.
How does traveling with pets affect your accommodation options?
Pet-friendly accommodations are becoming more and more prevalent. There are many more hotel chains that allow pets and do not charge any extra fees for them. Some hotels even welcome your pets with treats and beds free of charge, making it easy for us to travel with Zoe.
How do you deal with Zoe’s food and toilet habits?
We feed Zoe twice a day and, when we travel, this doesn’t change. She gets her usual morning and evening walks and we let her out before bed as well. She was pretty used to our schedules in retail, so she was used to being let out at these times. Now that we travel full-time, we actually walk her more often because we are with her all the time.
How do you manage to visit places where animals are not allowed?
We leave Zoe in hotels very often. She is a seasoned traveler and has very good hotel manners. She doesn’t bark or tear things up and (fingers crossed) I don’t think, at 12 years old, that she would pick up these bad habits. We often try to find places with patios that allow dogs, so she has also had a very posh lifestyle when it comes to dining out. Many cities also have “doggie day care” centers where you can drop your pet off for the day.
Has ever Zoe needed medical attention when you travel?
We have been lucky enough to never have had a medical emergency while away. If this were to occur however, there are vets everywhere and, with the wonders of the Internet, we could find somewhere with a good reputation to take her.
Based on your answers so far, it seems like having a road trip with dogs costs just about as much as a regular road trips. Are there any additional expenses of traveling with pets?
We only incur usual expenses when we travel with Zoe, things like food and treats we would be purchasing for her anyway. Almost every hotel we stay in with her has no fee and she has never left any damages that we would have to pay extra for. She is an A+ traveler. :)
(End of interview)
About Lauren and Kenin (in their own words):
“We walked away from our careers, a steady paycheck, and the rat race. We took two adults, two dogs, two duffel bags and one Volkswagen GTI and hit the road for the classic American road trip. Along our trip we visited friends and family, saw amazing sites, and had a ton of awesome adventures. We slept in the car, at pet-friendly hotels and at the occasional relative’s home. We had a loose schedule and even looser plans, we set out to enjoy the journey despite the destination.”