Why I Travel With Dogs

As soon as we drove off the block I missed my dogs, Agatha and Christie. As I blinked back tears, I decided our next vacation would include the girls.

That was over 20 years ago. Since then, I rarely travel anywhere without a dog.

Golden Retriever admiring Cape May hotels

Victorian bed and breakfast, huh? That means there must be bacon in some of these houses.

Here’s why:

♥ If they aren’t along I miss them. But you already knew that if you’ve read down this far.

♥ They give me an excuse for not doing touristy things I hate to do anyway, like climbing tall towers. Or visiting Disney World. Ugh!

♥ Food tastes better outdoors. And pet friendly dining in the U.S. means a patio or outside deck. Besides, who wants to be inside on a beautiful summer day?

♥ If I weren’t always on the lookout for uncrowded places to camp and hike with reactive dogs, I would never have discovered beautiful Wellesley Island in the Thousand Islands Region of the St. Lawrence River.

♥ Traveling can be tiring. But with you own fuzzy stress busters by your side, you can get right down to relaxing on your vacation.

♥ A sudden absence of dog hair on your food and clothing is quite disconcerting. I’ve known some pet people to need acute medical care to avoid a total psychic collapse at the prospect. Better be safe and bring the fur with you.

♥ I keep up my exercise routines on vacation. Honey (and each of my previous dogs) wouldn’t let me do otherwise.

♥ It’s fun. I love exploring a new place with a canine nose in the lead. Dogs help me spot things in nature I’d miss on my own.

 Would You Enjoy Traveling With Your Dog?

I’m passionate about traveling with dogs. I’m even passionate about traveling with cats. Although I’ve never done it, I’ve known people who have. And I’d love to see more people try it.

Dog in Canoe

Keep paddling. We need to be back in time for dinner.

Pet travel is a subject I return to again and again. I’ve even written about the same topic, with the same title, twice before realizing it!

If you’re wondering If Your Dog Should Go With You, check out the posts I’ve written here and here.

And if you’re thinking your dog is too ________ (fill in the blank: crazy, reactive, fearful, hyper, etc.) to be a good traveling partner, I’ve shared my secrets in Can You Vacation With a Reactive Dog (without pooping in the woods?).

I also review a book each month for A Traveler’s Library that inspires thoughts of pet travel. You’ll find all my pet travel reviews here.

And I take a different look at each book here on Something Wagging This Way Comes. You’ll find a list of all my Pet Travel Book Club posts here.

But I know some of you are saying to yourselves, of course she likes traveling with her dog. She has a well-socialized Golden Retriever she’s raised from a puppy. She has no idea what it’s like to travel with my dog.

So here are two of my favorite posts from blogging friends who have enjoyed traveling with their challenging dogs:

A Perfect Moment from Kenzo the Hovawart, and

Bella’s Excellent Vacation from Bringing Up Bella

Are you convinced? And ready to give traveling with your pet a try?

Best Pet Travel Websites

Today you’ll find my list of favorite pet travel websites at A Traveler’s Library.

Some will inspire you with their beautiful photographs. Others will help you find the best place to stay or give the tips you need to make a trip wonderful.

I hope you’ll stop over to see who made the list. And share with me in the comments your favorites I missed.

And if you’re inspired, come see us in the Finger Lakes of New York. I understand Chez Honey is very pet friendly.

Are the places you like to travel fun for dogs? If not, would you consider a different kind of vacation so your dog could join you?


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  1. I hate traveling without my dogs too. I cry when I leave the house because I miss them, but also because I worry how they will be taken care of if something happens to me during my travels. (Terrified of flying.) I would NEVER take them on a plane unless they were in the seat next to me, so it has to be a driving vacation. But if it’s a driving vacation you can bet your bottom dollar my dogs will be with me.

    We are currently working on a vacation in Kentucky this year (Hubby’s sister is getting married) and I need to figure out a way to bring the dogs.

    I’m currently working on the logistics of getting Sampson to Blogpaws. Hubby said he will drive him down (but he has to work Friday) so I may have to fly and then drive home with them.

    Vacations are far more fun with my dogs along. 🙂

    • If your hubby drives Sampson down to meet you at BlogPaws, he should be eligible for the blogger spouse hall of fame. 🙂

      If you really hate flying, I’d try to find a ride on the BlogPaws community. We’re probably too far out of your way for it to make sense. But I bet you could find someone in the NY area to meet up with.

  2. I miss our dog, Dino, when we travel, but we travel internationally and by plane and he is too big to fit under the seat. He’s a 25 pound cockapoo. He has another family who loves him. He stays with them when we travel and their dog stays with us when they travel. When we’re on the road, I make goo goo eyes at all the dogs and pet as many of them as possible. I think he’s fine when we travel. I think this is my problem and since I’m not willing to give up flying to travel, I just have to suck it up. 🙁

    • You’re lucky to have found a good friend for Dino to stay with when you travel.

      I would never fly Honey but there are many places in the world I still want to visit. That’s why I decided to take up sailing. Yes, I know it’s a pretty extreme reaction, but…

  3. I’ve been on some lovely holidays with my bipeds – a lot of what they like to do is the sort of thing I enjoy. Sometimes they go without me, but I think they’re as pleased to see me when they get back as I am to see them!

  4. We LOVE taking vacations with the dawgs. Sure, they are a handful and when we let them out of the car to take potty breaks or run on/in the beach/woods/park, they are absolutely mortifyingly crazy. We had a little best of both worlds scenario over the summer when we traveled down to Southern Oregon/Northern CA. Each day, we took just one dog with us on our daily excursion and it was wonderful having them with us in turns but not being overwhelmed by their crazy excitement at doing new things. Besides, vacation is time for letting the dawgs up on the couches and beds with the Hubster (we just sneak that cuddly time in at home when he’s unawares).

    • I remember the pictures from your trip. Looked like a beautiful place to go with dogs.

      And enjoy the craziness while it lasts. Someday you’ll look back on all the rowdy behavior and wish the pups weren’t so settled and calm. 🙂

  5. We, obviously, never go anywhere without the dogs. It is much easier when you take your house everywhere you go. We do have some challenges that occasionally come up, but it’s never anything we can’t find a solution to. Having dogs is a great way to meet other wonderful dog owners. We have met and become friends with, some great people along the way.

    • Glad to hear you talk about enjoying meeting other dog lovers. One of my husband’s misgivings about cruising on a sailboat is all the drinking and socializing that goes on. Not that we’re teetotalers. But if we don’t party on land, we’re not going to suddenly start at sea.

      But if we meet others cruising with dogs, we’ll probably find our tribe. 🙂

  6. I love going on vacation with the dogs. When we first had Emmett and then Lucas and later Cooper, we switched our annual vacation plans to always include the boys. We started renting a pet-friendly cabin in the Shenandoah mountains a couple times a year, taking the boys with us and going on lovely day hikes. Then we’d snuggle in the cabin in the evenings. It’s a perfect vacation, made all the better by having the pups with us! I did drive out to BlogPaws with Cooper, my reactive, fearful, high-energy pup. It was a definite challenge, but it was so worth it to have the adventure together!

    • Sounds like a very relaxing vacation. Funny how traveling with dogs is often more mellow than trying to do everything you can when you’re on your own.

  7. I don’t travel a lot, and when I do it is most likely for an event or conference, wedding or something that often doesn’t allow dogs. So this makes traveling with dogs challenging. BUT my dogs get super stressed when I leave them, even though I leave them in their own home with my son (who they know and love) as a live-in caregiver! So I prefer to bring them along for that reason. I just haven’t worked out how to leave them in a hotel room (they bark and cry!) or find a pet sitter for them while I might attend an event where no dogs are allowed. I agree, that having your pets there with you makes it much less stressful in many ways.

    • Your post is making me think that a pet sitter who registers with a concierge at a hotel (like a baby sitter) might be a great business plan.

      I couldn’t leave Agatha and Christie alone in a hotel room either. We found it easier to leave them in the car (weather permitting) and going out regularly to give them a break. The car was a safer place than the hotel room.

      I’m sure Brooks and Kelly would be happy for you to take a few more fun vacations (with them along). 🙂

  8. The last time I left my dog home by choice was six years ago…I left my big boy Bruno home for a week and missed him dreadfully the entire time…He was staying with friends and I knew he was well cared for, but that didn’t matter…I missed him. Gizmo has never been left home except for two weekends when I had to fly to Chicago on business and was unable to include him. His ‘godparents’ cared for him in a familiar environment those two times…Other than that, he’s been with me everywhere I’ve gone and has never been a problem..Since he’s traveled since he was a young pup it’s familiar to him. We have met folks and seen things I would have missed if he wasn’t with me. I can’t imagine leaving him behind

    • Traveling with your dog from a very young age helps a lot. Obviously it worked for you. Gizmo is quite the sophisticated traveler.

      That he likes hiking is hardly a surprise. But I was amazed to discover he also enjoys architecture.

  9. I used to travel with my cats a lot if it was a road trip. They also flew a few times, but I am not too comfortable with that. It has been a long time now, but we are going to start traveling more and I want the cats I have now with me. First trip is Blog Paws!

    • BlogPaws is a great first trip–you’ll have lots of sympathetic people around you. I hope the kitties tolerate it well and I can’t wait to meet everyone.

  10. I always travel with my dog and have done so with all previous dogs as well. I find it hard to imagine a holiday without them.

  11. I hope to be able to travel with my dogs someday. Since we currently have four of them, it is out of the question now! When we only had two, we used to camp a lot so we could take them. I miss them so much when we go away….therefore, we don’t really travel much. We’re all homebodies. The last time we went away and rented a cabin, other people were there with their dogs, and I was so jealous! Another issue is that it is sometimes difficult to find a pet sitter, and I refuse to put ours in a kennel.

  12. Cali did lots of traveling with us while we were on the East Coast because we did lots of road trips! She loved it 🙂 Leaving my animals behind always takes a little bit of fun out of my vacation . . I’m such a worrier!!

  13. Well, I think you know what I’ll say! lol I do search out things that I can do with the dogs and we really enjoy traveling with them. Our longest trip with all four has been to Gettysburg, PA, but we take them to a lot of places. Fortunately, all of our dogs enjoy traveling, too, and they love going with us. Their spirit of adventure often inspires me to get out and try more. Because we search out places that are pet friendly, we’ve also found some beautiful spots that are off the beaten path. We’d have missed them otherwise.

  14. We definitely prefer traveling with our pets. Years ago, when we had a motorhome and did a lot of traveling, our two dogs and a cat went everywhere with us. Yes, the cat, too. Petey was happy to go out on walks in his little harness and leash. Best of all – more adventures together!

  15. We love to travel with the boys, but let’s face it: Koly would prefer to stay home. Where Felix loves to go anywhere in the car and he delights in new places and new things, Koly loves nothing more than a quiet night at home when all his people are there. He’s not good with change. Lucky for him, at home with him by my side is exactly where I’d rather be too!

  16. We travel with Silas because he is too scared to leave at home. I desperately need to get at least one person “approved” to come in the house with him. Luckily he’s a good traveler, except for that time 4-5 unchaperoned children, ages 4-12, were in the room across the hall. That took a few years off my life.

  17. Hi Pamela
    I don’t have dogs and have never travelled with animals but reading your post certainly paints a fun picture of the experience.
    Having had animal friends in the past I know that they become part of your family and therefore should definitely be part of the family vacations.
    Thanks for sharing this fun and informative story with us.

  18. I love your list of reason you enjoy traveling with Honey, and Agatha and Christie before her. For me, no trip is the same without the dogs. First of all, I miss there terribly. Secondly, I find it harder to enjoy myself when I’m always thinking, “it would be so great if Ty and Buster could see this!” And then there’s the look I get when I come home: excited to see you with a healthy dose of why did you abandon me? It got to the point that I’d rather stay home than leave the boys behind, and that was my “ah-ha” moment.

    • Whenever I go to the ocean without my dogs, and see people there playing in the surf with theirs, I wish so much they were there with me, getting to enjoy that too!

  19. We haven’t traveled anywhere — with or without the dogs — in years. When my poodle was still alive, my Dad would come down from Virginia to stay with her. By the time we got Callie & Shadow, Dad wasn’t strong enough to handle them, so we would leave them at the PetSmart PetsHotel when we had to travel. At least at the PetsHotel, they could share the kennel and someone was there 24/7. We left them there for the week that we spent in VA when Dad passed away in 2005. A few years later, I found our wonderful pet sitters who I call upon to this day when I need to travel. Personally, I’d rather just stay home with them, especially now that we have Ducky.