Why Don’t More People Vacation With Pets

It happened again.

Some stranger walked up to us asking, “Can I pet your dog? I miss mine.”

Yep, time for Honey to offer comfort to people who don’t vacation with their pets.

Honey casts shade on the Battery in Charleston.

I’ll just stay here collecting love from tourists.

People Who Vacation Without Their Pets

Apparently many people leave their pets home when they go on vacation. We meet them when we walk Honey around tourist-y areas.

You can see them coming from a block away.

The glassy stare, the slumped shoulders—and then they spot Honey.

They hurry over with a spring in their steps cooing, “Oooooh, what a precious face.”

Honey the golden retriever wonders about dog culture.

You find my face adorable? Awww, shucks.

Honey does what Honey does, exudes love and soaks up attention. And the person who left her dog behind to go on vacation walks on feeling a little better.

But I always want to ask them, “Why didn’t you bring your pet with you on vacation?”

Why Leave Your Pet Home

People plan vacations that aren’t pet friendly. But I’m not sure I know why.

There are plenty of fun things to do with pets.

Not everyone likes camping. But I’ve written about how you can vacation with even a reactive dog without pooping in the woods.

And if you pick the right pet friendly vacation spot, there are many fun things to do.

How To Vacation With Pets

After suffering a broken heart when I left my first dogs at home when we went on vacation, I’ve traveled many places with dogs—both reactive and confident pups.

Here are some of the best tips I’ve learned:

Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking one, I’ll earn a few cents but your item will not cost you more. Thanks for supporting Something Wagging This Way Comes.

Bring Your Pet’s Bed

If your dog is comfortable, he’ll sleep better. And so will you.

Some hotels require you to crate your dog if you leave him alone in the room. You’ll definitely want to have your dog’s crate with you if decide to leave him behind when you do something that’s not pet friendly.

Even better, we’d bring a Dog Travel Bed when we went out. Honey settles down under our table on a pet friendly patio more quickly if she has a comfortable place to rest.

Honey the golden retriever waits.

Okay, I’m lying down. But I’d love to have my soft bed.

Feed Your Dog When You Feed Yourself

We plan our meals in pet friendly restaurants for Honey’s dinner time. I mix her food and pack it in a sealed container she can eat from when we sit down.

Of course, Honey gulps her food much faster than we do. But for at least a few moments, she’s happy with her own food instead of begging for ours.

Honey the golden retriever at High Spot.

I’m done eating my dinner. Can I have a hamburger for dessert?

Take Fresh Water

Lots of pet friendly businesses place water bowls on their sidewalks. But it gets skanky after a while.

Honey the golden retriever wants a Mutt-garita.

Outside water bowls are nice but this one could use a little freshening.

Honey will go up and sniff the water. But she’ll usually pass on drinking it.

Apparently she doesn’t like drinking water with slobber in it. Little princess.

That’s why we always bring her own fresh supply.

Try New Pet Friendly Activities

Whether you enjoy wide open spaces or towns and cities, there are lots of pet friendly things to do you may have never tried before.

We find boating of all kinds to be very pet friendly.

Honey the Golden Retriever rides in a kayak.

I’ve been kayaking since I was a wee pup. It’s fun.

Many ferries and large tour boats allow dogs on board. If you like to be your own captain, rent a kayak or canoe.

Small dogs might enjoy riding on a surrey bicycle. And while your dog might not care about architectural history, she’ll probably enjoy following along on a walking tour.

If you’ve always wanted to try dog agility, there are dog daycare facilities and outdoor parks that have ramps and tunnels. Why not use your vacation to find a new hobby you’ll both love?

Hire A Pet Sitter

If you’re dying to do something on vacation that just isn’t pet friendly, why not look for a local pet sitter to come to keep your pet company in the hotel?

If your dog loves people and doesn’t like being left alone, you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about your friend feeling anxious.

Fun On Vacation

Traveling with Honey means we do different things than we did before we had dogs.

We go at a slower pace because Honey needs to sniff. We visit fewer museums. And we spend more time outdoors.

But we have just as much fun.

Best of all, I don’t have to go looking for someone else’s dog to get my puppy fix.

But if you disagree and choose not to vacation with your pet, just know that Honey is out there, somewhere, willing to share her love.

I'm a golden retriever. My middle name is love.

I’m a golden retriever. My middle name is love.

Best City For Pet Travelers

Thank you to everyone who supported our friends the Groovy Goldendoodles in their bid to make Charleston the Best City For Pet Travelers.

It came down to the final seconds, but Charleston, South Carolina won over Colorado Springs, Colorado with a margin of three votes.

Charleston wins Best City For Pet Travelers

Your Turn: Do you take your pets on vacation with you? Why or why not?



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  1. For the first time since Duster came into our lives, we’re actually taking a mini-vacation this summer. We won’t be bringing the dogs, because the trip is specifically to visit a particular exhibit at a zoo, and we’re doing a quick turn-around. We have mulled over the idea of going camping with the boys, but since we now permanently live at what used to be our cottage, it’s hard to get motivated to go travelling.

  2. These days we travel with Mom most of the time. Katie stays home because she isn’t up to traveling anymore. We always have a lot of fun together on trips. Sometimes Mom says she needs a vacation from us, but I don’t think she really means that.

  3. It’s really not much of a vacation if the dogs aren’t with us…it’s more work to bring them, but lots more fun.

  4. Ellen D Haith says:

    I absolutely agree! When I was growing up we NEVER went away without the dog, even to Thanksgiving and Christmas at various relatives homes. We have had a series of house/dog sitters over the years, and one or two boarding sites; my husband is perfectly content to leave the dogs behind, but of late we have been splitting up visiting relatives so someone is always home. We have also located a dog-friendly rental at a vacation site where we spent summer months while our sons were growing up, and will return this year for a longer stay on the beach.

  5. Well – we all know how I feel about bringing your dogs on vacation LOL For us – it’s the only way to have a doodle*tastic time!

  6. Mr. N almost always goes with us. He is especially popular at the airport!

  7. I wish we could vacation with our dogs. We could when there was only Rodrigo and Sydney, but now that there are four dogs, no one will have us. I tried to talk J into getting an RV, but he wasn’t interested.

    So I’m planning a trip alone to the coast with Sydney or with Rodrigo and Sydney. That would be fun.

  8. I always take Nola with me. She’s small, well trained and socialized, and is aloof, so she doesn’t pester or hog for attention. Pike gets horribly, horribly car sick, and even with medication he’s miserable when we travel. So, he gets to stay home.

  9. Great article! We’ve only taken one vacation so far without Haley and luckily, she was able to stay with my parents, so she got lots of love and way too many treats. Your tip about hiring a pet sitter is a good idea, but we usually stick to things we can all do together.

    I only wish more National Parks were pet friendly. I can understand that some areas aren’t safe for pets and some people don’t pick up after their dogs, but it sure would be nice to visit more of the parks and do some great hiking trails.

  10. I’m very lucky that Richie is a great traveler, both by car and by plane, and he’s small enough to fly in the cabin. I’ve had him over four years now and have never traveled without him. We get the same reaction you do; people are always coming over to love on him. He’s also popular with hotel staff who miss their pups at home.

  11. We never didn’t take Mity on holiday with us, and the only time BD was left behind was when we were skiing. I can get that leaving your pet behind gives you that little bit of time off, but they are family. I am about to go away and leave Poppy alone for a whole week (it was planned pre-poppy) I am so sad about having to leave her. I am going to miss her so much!

  12. I’m one of those people who leaves the dogs home…with a pet sitter…when she goes on vacation. Hopefully, the next time Sam and I go to Charleston I’ll be able to get some lovies from both Honey and the Groovy Goldendoodles!

  13. It depends on the vacation. Usually, “vacation” is going to my parents house and then both pets come along. Other times, vacation is going on a trip for a wedding and usually I can’t afford to take Barley–they’ve always been in places where pet-friendly lodging is limited and very expensive, so it’s cheaper to board her with our trainer. Or, they’re places that are far away and I only have enough days away to fly and I would never put Barley in cargo area of a plane.

    The only real vacation I’ve ever taken was a trip to MA to visit several different authors’ houses and I did take both pets–I took short hiking trips with Barley in the mornings and afternoons with solo adventures mid-day to the museums I wanted to see. If I had to do it all over again, though, I probably wouldn’t take Barley–there were a lot of places I didn’t get to go because I needed to get back to Barley. I love the pet sitter idea, but Barley’s reactive and there are a total of 5 people that I would trust her with–even if it was just a quick trip outside for a potty break–especially in a place Barley was unfamiliar with.

    I always appreciate that there are dogs like Honey that are willing to let me get a quick dog fix when I’m separated from my girl 🙂

  14. If I were traveling and saw Honey, I’d race up to her too (and might just do a snatch & grab!). She’s just too sweet! ღ

  15. walter Stoffel says:

    Some years ago My wife and I rescued a Border Collie that had lived outside for ten years! Only after the fact did we find out the extent of his suffering. He turned out to be completely untrustworthy around people, including his rescuers.As a result, we didn’t take vacations without Lance (the culprit) –we didn’t take any vacations at all for the 7+ years we had him–only day trips. A non dog lover would never understand. Actually, I consider myself a dog lover and I can’t believe what we went through with him. The issue of having him destroyed came up a few times along the way, but we just couldn’t do it.