Planning Your Trip
4/20/2018 - By Certified Professional Trainer and Guest Blogger, Nicole Ellis, CPDT-KA
I welcome any opportunity to enjoy a getaway with Maggie and Rossi and I love sharing stories, photos, and videos of our adventures. Because of this, I’m often asked 'How easy is it to travel with your dog? After all, it's vacation and it's supposed to be stress-free, but how do you keep it that way? I’ve answered questions like this for Travel + Leisure, for Yahoo, for Mashable and other media outlets, so I’ve teamed up with ZIWI® to compile my top tips for easy travel with your dog. This 3-part series will cover 1) Planning Your Trip, 2) Ways to Get There, and 3) What to Pack.
Planning Your Trip
Planning ahead means you've done your research, you know your options and you've set yourself up for having the best possible time out of town with your dog. But, before you even start on the rest of the to-do list, make sure you ask yourself if traveling is something your dog will enjoy. If your dog isn’t a fan of new places and new adventures, he may prefer to stay home with someone to love him in the comfort of his home. We want this to be fun for both of you, and if your dog isn't happy on your trip, you won’t be, either.
Check out bringfido.com, for dog-friendly attractions across the US.
Check the Weather - Be sure to check the weather forecast for your destination. I live in sunny Los Angeles, but just a few hours away in the desert, the temperature can vary dramatically from day to night. If it’s going to be chilly, pack a jacket or blanket for your dog.
Activities and Daycare Options - You’re somewhere new and you're excited to get there and see the sights. Take into consideration whether your dog will enjoy those activities and if dogs are allowed at the places you're planning to visit. Activities like whale-watching and museum visits may not be as much fun to your dog as joining you on a hike when you return.
If you know you’ll be doing some things your dog won’t really enjoy, check into dog daycare in your destination city. While you're watching whales, your pup can be playing fetch and making new friends. Websites, such as Rover.com, list places your dog can stay with a real family in a private home during your daytime outings. Some hotels even offer a pet concierge service (pet sitters), so you don’t need to transport your dog anywhere!
Find/Book Your Lodging - More and more hotels are becoming pet-friendly – from chain motels to boutique hotels - some even have a doggie room-service menu! Some online hotel booking sites have filters that allow you search for pet-friendly properties. This can be a time-saver, especially if you're booking at the last minute.
When booking online, it’s always a good idea to call the property to ask about their pet policy (as well as their floor plans, if your dog has special needs). Some hotels have size limits or pet fees, and some have rules against leaving a pet unattended in your room. Be sure to know the policy before arriving, as these things are often mentioned in the fine print. My top tips for hotel stays:
- Leave the TV on to give your pup some comforting background noise if you’re away from the room — this can also drown out city or neighboring-room noise they may not be used to.
- Always keep the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door so that housekeeping doesn’t scare your critter or allow your dog to bolt while you are out.
- When I make my reservation, I ask for a room away from the elevator. This means there will be less foot traffic outside the door that might cause my dog to bark or whine. We don’t always get the room we request, but it doesn’t hurt to ask politely.
- Set up a “safe space” in the room, with blankets and a water bowl, and spend a little time getting your pup acclimated to the new space before your first pet-free foray into the city.
- Learn what pet-friendly really means for your hotel. In some hotels, it means you can leave your dog alone while other hotels require you to be in the room if your dog is there.
Next Friday, I’ll cover different types of travel, including, planes, trains, and automobiles!