Traveling with your Pets………………..Additional Preparation

Now that we have a decent list of things that you may need along the way, what other issues need to be considered?  Assuming there is an intended destination, its time to think about where to stay along the way.  This involves two issues, namely how far are  you and your pal likely to travel in a day and what type of lodging are you looking for to spend the night.  As far as the length of travel, it is best to do several “trial runs” or shorter trips before planning on a long road trip.  Some means of restraint should always be used to prevent your pet from interfering with your driving as well as to prevent injury to your companion in the event of an accident. There are many restraints available online so take time to choose (and trial) before embarking (no pun intended). 

How far to travel in one day is dependent on desires and the needs of you both.  If you are an early bird (as am I) and if your pet is used to sleeping while you are at work throughout the morning and early afternoon, consider planning the bulk of your daily miles during those hours.  If your pet is used to being active in the morning, for example, if there is normally activity in your house or your canine friend attends an active day care, it is best to try to emulate that schedule while on the road. A good long run or a local dog park may be the first order of the day before hitting the road (a Google search for dog parks is usually successful).  Although vacation is time to take a laid back approach to life, maintaining a similar outline to your pet companion’s day can be helpful in adjusting to life on the road.  Lou, my two year old Irish Setter who has traveled extensively, is best when he has an early morning stroll after breakfast, a couple hour nap while we drive, and then a good long hike late morning allowing for afternoon travel while he naps. It somewhat emulates his normal life. We rarely have a set number of miles required in a single day as weather, previous’ day travel and spending additional time at a newly found destination all play a role. Flexibility is a must in order to maximally enjoy the experience.

Finally, there is the question of lodging.  Where to stay?  There are so many more options available on short notice today than ever.  Airbnb, Hostels, “Pet friendly” hotels and motels (Hotels.com), Red Roof Inns (always pet friendly), camping….the options are endless.  A quick search on line nearly anytime during the day or night has always managed to provide us with options within a 15 to 20 mile radius. Having said that, don’t wait until you are both cranky and tired travelling through mountains in a snow storm to start looking (been there…done that). As the day progresses and you stop to stretch legs or pick up a coffee, it might be a good time to start perusing. Speaking of stops, how often is necessary? When people ask me I usually respond: “If I am having normal meals and the occasional cup of coffee on the road, I usually have to stop before he does”. There is no set rule.  If you know your pet, and their normal behavior, travel behavior will provide similar signs to know when it is time for a breather. As far as our feline friends, they are the lucky ones. They should always have access to litter in which case a bathroom stop is merely steps away.

Concluding, travelling with pets can be one of the most fun experiences there is.  A bit of preparation, flexibility and common sense will enhance the experience. Finally, the two websites that I could not do without on the road:

Hotels.com    (no explanation needed)     https://www.hotels.com/

All Trails.com (will find you a hike anywhere, anytime with directions and details….a must with my travel companion)       https://www.alltrails.com/mobile