Imagine all of the fun you already have on vacation even without the added excitement of your dog happily experiencing the moment with you. Many dog owners dream about bringing along their tail-wagging companion to the family vacation, but turning that dream to reality is harder than you might think. There are many challenges dog owners must face before packing along Fido, and if you’re not careful, you can rack up quite a bill on behalf of your furry friend. Here are three golden rules to keep in mind when planning your dog-friendly vacation.
- When to Bring Your Dog, and When to Leave Them at Home
Before getting too far ahead of yourself, you must consider if the trip your family wants to take is even pet-friendly. Not all trips are suitable for your pet, and it’s important to keep their needs in mind when choosing your destination. If you plan on spending time in a large bustling city, such as Los Angeles or NYC, you need to consider how your dog will react to the sudden change of noise and traffic levels. If your dog feels high anxiety when the dog park gets too crowded, imagine how it will feel when surrounded by hundreds of other dogs and humans on a busy Manhattan sidewalk.
If you really wanted to go to a certain destination, but don’t think your dog would manage well, then simply do not bring them along this time. It’s always better to consider boarding options instead of putting your dog through enormous stress and anxiety being in a loud and overwhelming location. Research the veterinarian-run or in-home dog boarding options nearby, and be sure to check that your dog has the appropriate vaccinations before dropping them off.
- Use Your Own Car
Once you’ve determined that bringing your dog along is a viable option, you must then figure out the best way to get there. Right off the bat, you should know that any travel plans that involve flying will be costly endeavors. Airlines can be pretty spotty when it comes to allowing dogs on flights. Some only offer accommodations for long-distance flights, and might come with a price tag of $100 each way. In most cases, you should simply stick to driving, not only because it’s the more economical choice, but also because it puts a lot less stress on your dog when traveling. Driving allows your dog to be in proximity of you at all times, voiding out any separation anxiety. Choosing to drive also gives them a chance to make stops along the way to stretch and relieve themselves.
- Avoid Costly Hotel Pet Fees
When you finally arrive at your destination, you will need to find a place to lay your head. The first choice for many vacationers is booking a hotel room, which is pretty straightforward when you’re only boarding people, but can become a hassle when there’s a pet involved. Many hotels have a strict no-pet policy, which knocks a lot of options for you right out of the gate. The inns and hotels that do allow pets typically come with a fee of sorts, and are ready to slap on additional charges for any room damage or extended stays.
When picking out where you should stay, the best course of action is to avoid hotels altogether. Alternative boarding options such as cabins and condos give you a better chance of staying with your dog without an enormous price tag attached. If you plan on spending most of your time outdoors, you should consider renting a camper or RV to take along. Most campsites are dog-friendly, and you will save a huge amount of money compared to paying for a hotel room.
Traveling anywhere with your dog is no walk in the park, and you have to do a considerable amount of planning before setting off. Essentially, every aspect of your vacation will hinge on your pet, but once you get on the road and see the joy in your dog’s eyes, you won’t regret the decision. Just remember to keep these three rules in mind, and your family will have a vacation they won’t soon forget.
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