Travelling locally, nationally and internationally is a new thing for me for the last 2 years. Overall I have found it to be a positive experience that creates more opportunities than it stops. I acknowledge all dogs are different so, travel will be unique for each pet-owner combination, this post is about my experiences.
Henry, my dog is a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and bigger than most of his breed from my observations. He has been with me and his puppy mummy since very young and ensured as soon as he could go out he experience things and people.
Personality wise he is fearless and social with people and other dogs, possibly due to the number of trips out when young. Henry can be obedient but easily distracted by people and flies, treats snap him back into focus though.
As long as he has company he can settle anywhere from trains to tents if tired her can sleep anywhere including hotels and hostels. My dog has now visited 7 countries, 8 if you count cocking his leg in Budapest.
Advantages of Travelling With dog
There are many great aspects of travelling the the dog, this includes.
- No fees for kennels.
- Flexile with return dates.
- Conversation starter as he is cute.
- Planning activities and attractions cut down on waste and doing things for the sake of it.
- Morning walkies in a new city helps see parts you would normally miss.
- Fun, creating memories.
- Great themed photos for social media.
- Travelling differently, many people assume you are local with a dog in tow.
- Advantages and disadvantages are subjective so one mans meat is another poison. These are things I consider and inconvenience.
- Extra luggage for the dog.
- Too many people want to say hi.
- Less choice of accommodation.
- Brexit uncertainty coming back
- Finding a vet 3-5 days before returning can be a challenge.
Things to take
- Food if your pet requires a special diet, I carry a few days in case supply issues.
- Bed, something familiar to sleep on in new rooms and night trains
- Bowl, for water and food.
- Water, water to keep hydrated, saves buying bottles out and fill where possible
- Treats, favourite treats to ensure obedience at key times.
- Toy, to play as usual.
EU Pet Passport
Currently, until Brexit, my dog has an EU Pet Passport for travelling anywhere in the EU. It has requirements like a tapeworm treatment before re-entering the UK. Other than that it runs seamlessly on the big adventure on Interrail.
Choosing attractions to visit is a minefield as a solo traveller as pets are often not allowed inside. With good dogs that can settle in a strange room easily, popping out for a few hours is easy but means being selective and only visiting the preferred options. Luckily gardens and architecture fascinate me more than anything, this can mostly be done with canine company.
Travelling in a pair is great with a dog, both parties can go inside there preferred attractions while the other has a beer or chill outside. This is my usual modus operandi, it works well with travellers with different interests. For example, my fiance loves coffee and relaxing, I love exploring and visiting castles and religious sites.
Travelling by train with small and medium sided pets is pretty simple, some countries are fine. In Germany, a muzzle is required on trains but is rarely enforced, but best to have one though and train them to use it. In some countries like France, pet carriers are preferred, this put me off as carrying a carrier for an adventure is extra weight.
Dogs usually have to sit on the floor and nat take up seats that could be used by other passengers. In some places like the Netherlands, if another passenger complains or is uncomfortable, you are required to move to another carriage.
Before travelling it is best to enquire about costs for pets, many railway firms don’t charge others do half fare or child fair.
If travelling on a night train with a dog, you must book a whole compartment or couchette. Not usually a problem booking a 2 person compartment if arranging in advance. My Night train from Vienna to Alba Iulia was a fun trip, lessons were learned when travelling from Deva back to Vienna.
Ferries tend to be tricky with dogs as foot passengers from the UK, that is with the exception of the Harwich to Hook of Holland Ferry. The Hook of Holland Ferry has kennels on board for multiple dogs of any size and it the best way into Europe with pets in my personal opinion.
The ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe in France requires pets to be inside a crate to travel. This method doesn’t appeal to me, as Henry is not luggage.
Some pets are great in a car, others not so, training is usually required to make the puppy a good passenger.
Some airlines allow dogs to fly as luggage basically. I have read many posts on this and decided its not for me. Se3ddation, heat and being treated as luggage puts me off this method, the kennel or a dog-sitter would be my choice when flying.
I have stayed with the dog at a few hostels, these are usually found using the pet-friendly search on hotels.com. Many have rules such as an extra cleaning charge, not allowed to be left. Most hostels require travelling pets to be in non-shared rooms so dormitories are out. Chilli hostel in Prague was great as well as Hostel Bratislava.
Camping with Henry has been pretty easy for me, he likes to stay close and nothing phases him. Keeping him warm is easy he likes to make his own bed, often not the one I carry. On cold nights he cuddles up or I put some clothes over him.
Dog-Friendly campsites are pretty easy to find on Google maps or pitch up, all have micro clauses to abide by such as lead rules. My experience at Great Kellow farm was typical of a basic campsite.
Quite a few hotels in the UK and Europe accept canine guests, many charges extra for cleaning after the stay. It is best to check rules and extra charges before booking. A good selection can be found searching sites like hotels.com.
Many eateries allow pets to eat out, others only on outside seating but you will never go hungry. Every city I have visited with Henry it has been easy to find bars and restaurants we can visit with him.
I have built a few guides to help fellow travellers find the best restaurants or bars in various cities. A list of these can be found at Dog-Friendly dining.
Shopping can be a pain, dogs tend not to be welcome in food stores in most countries. Getting supplies is best done by leaving a pet in your room and getting all you need for the day. Trusting strangers outside the show with your best friend is not a wise thing to do, especially with pedigree breeds.
Content on here and other blogs relating to travelling with pets. If other bloggers have pet-travel related posts, I’m happy to link up here as an extra resource, just comment below or message me.
- A camping trip to Great Kellow farm near Looe in Cornwall.
- Staying at Tencreek Holiday Park with Henry.
Future Canine Travel Plans
- More UK breaks at weekends.
- Visit more countries, mostly in Europe.
- Long river kayak trip, camping as we progress, maybe the river wye.