Now that it’s March, I don’t know about you, but my first thought goes to… when is vacation? The hubs and I try to go on 2-3 trips a year, exploring new cities, hitting the beach or just relaxing! Since we’ve gone from 1 to 3 fur kids in the matter of a year (a year ago), we’ve not only become pro-packers and travelers, but we now like to think of ourselves as pro-dog parent travelers. If you’re planning a trip or planning to pack up your pups and take them along (like our crazy selves do once a year!) then these tips are made for you. Basically, think of these tips as lessons we had to learn the hard way!
Side Note: If you are not a crazy dog lady/person like we obviously are, these tips may seem hilarious to you, but these three are truly our kids and we’ve learned that a little effort makes our trips WAY easier and more enjoyable!
Travel Tips for Traveling with Pups
Tip 1: Pick Pet Friendly AirBnb’s and Cities (if possible)
We obviously don’t take the pups on every trip as some just don’t make sense for them. Flying to NYC where it’s all hotels? Eh. Driving to Charleston with pet friendly beaches? Yes, please! Although it’s more work to bring them along, we truly enjoy seeing them have fun in new places. From the fun new backyard at our AirBnb (finding an AirBnb with a fence, is a must for us!) to romping on the pet friendly beaches in Isle of Palm – it doesn’t get any better.
Tip 2: Rent. A. Car.
I can’t honestly sing the praises of this enough. If you have the budget for it, it’s well worth it. Since we not only have 3 pups, 2 people and luggage for a week, space is already limited. Add to the fact that one pup weighs 102 lbs. and you’re out of any space you may have had. We usually bite the bullet and rent a large SUV. Which not only gives us the space for all of us and our stuff, but also gives me some peace of mind that the dogs have room to get up, turn around, get comfortable, etc. on our car trips as usually they’re 6-8 hours. Plus, sandy pup feet in the backseat? Not a worry!
Tip 3: Prepare for the worst
By this I don’t mean anything horrid. Just to keep a clean-up kit handy as I don’t know about you, but 2 out of 3 of mine are car sick pups. To keep it easy, we always bring a roll of paper towels, walmart bags, bottle of water and a washcloth to keep clean-up easy!
Tip 4: Pack smart
The first year we thought we’d be smart and bring their food in their bins so we knew we’d have enough, etc… great except for the fact that it only took up about 1/3 of the SUV. Next year, we pre-portioned ziplock bags out with each of their foods and wrote their names on them – space saving and easy!
Tip 5: Bring Pieces of Home
Every trip we take, we make sure to bring pieces of home. While we obviously bring bones and toys (of course!), we also make sure to bring their beds, blankets and anything else that makes them feel more like home no matter where we are.
Tip 6: Drive at Night
We’ve learned from multiple trips that driving at night is easier on the pups. It’s dark, cool, no one is panting like crazy and they seem to do better car-sick wise and just sleep a majority of the way. If driving at night isn’t an option, we’ve found these baby sun shades work perfect to help your pups relax and sleep if you’re traveling during the day.
Muchkin Sunshade $16.99
Tip 7: Leashes in the Glovebox
I honestly only give this tip because our first trip with 3, I thought it’d be fine to leave their leashes in the rear of the SUV so when we opened it, we could grab their leashes and go. Great idea until Neyland jumped out at a rest stop sans leash or you’re left digging around blindly trying to find it while chasing your pup!
Tip 8: Keep your routine the same
Another tip that makes the transition easier for us (especially with three!) is keeping their routine the same. We feed breakfast and dinner at the same time at home and try to stay pretty close to that schedule on vacation. While it might mean we don’t sleep in quite as late, it allows the pups to adjust quickly, eat well (always an issue on vacation) and keep everything a lot smoother!
Tip 9: Start them young
We learned the truth in this early on with Neyland and Essee since we were traveling pretty regularly once we got them so since they were young, they’ve been traveling with us and let me tell you, they do SO much better than Knox! Thankfully, Knox has gotten to be a much better traveler thanks to his brother and sister, but we can tell a huge difference in starting them young!
Tip 10: Have fun
Traveling with dogs is learning to go with the flow. We’ve had to make trips to the vet, have seen Essee eat way more sticks than is normal and had way more fun romping on the beach or a fun backyard with these three than I ever thought possible. Don’t forget to enjoy it!
Other Travel Tips
Tip 1: Packing cubes are your best friend
Packing cubes make ‘do you think we can just take a carry-on?’ a reality! Like everyone, I’ve heard about these continuously, but figured I’d give them a try. We were AMAZED at the amount of clothing that fits in one! It’s magic!
Compression Packing Cubes $42.99
Tip 2: TSA Pre-Check will be your even better best friend
Again, an investment in your travels if you’re flying ($80 for 5 years), but after just flying to NYC with it, I’m 100% sure I won’t ever fly without it! It makes security a breeze and bonus: you don’t have to take your shoes off!
Tip 3: Fly on Reward Points
We’ve been able to take quite a few more trips due to our Southwest Reward Points saving the travel budget. We signed up for their travel credit card a few years ago and the points really add up to some major free flights! Click here to earn up to 40,000 bonus points just for signing up!