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Dogs are more than just our pets; they are family too, so why not bring them on your next family vacation? Most people leave their furry friends behind, possibly stressed in a kennel or with a dog sitter, but there are many fun adventures around the world that make traveling with your dog a breeze.
Some dogs may not be used to traveling for long periods of time, so it is best to prepare them for their journey. Speaking with your local veterinarian will give you the best insights for your dog and the most comfortable method of travel.
If possible, traveling by car is the most common form of transportation for your dog. Many dogs are already comfortable riding in the car, so they won't be as stressed during the ride. If your dog does get anxious in the car, talk to your veterinarian about options to help keep your dog calm while traveling. While driving, be sure to stop every three hours and let your dog use the bathroom, drink water, and stretch their legs. They can get out some of their built-up energy while you’re filling up the car with gas. It’s recommended to only feed your dog once a day while taking a road trip to prevent an upset stomach and car sickness.
If your destination is too far to drive, or you prefer to travel by plane, you can also arrange to bring your dog on a flight. There are extra steps when booking your flight, such as booking your flight early, reviewing the airline’s pet policy, and knowing the age and breed restrictions. When packing your doggy bag, be sure to pack copies of recent veterinary appointments and vaccines. Most airlines will require a recent veterinary check before flying to ensure your pet is healthy enough to travel by plane. To reduce your dog's stress, book a direct flight to your destination, if possible, to reduce travel time and avoid any layovers. One key difference of flying with your dog versus driving, is that it is not recommended to give your dog a sedative for flying due to the change of air pressure.
Depending on their size, you may be able to bring your dog in a soft-side carrier in the cabin with you. This carrier must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you during take-off and landing. You will not be able to take your dog out of the carrier, but putting your hand in the carrier throughout the flight will help keep your dog calm. For larger dogs, you must have an airport-approved, hard-sided crate that will be put in the cargo area. Putting your dog’s favorite bed, blanket, and/or toy in the crate will help them relax and hopefully sleep during the flight.
There are several options where you and your dog can stay once you've reached your destination. If you enjoy camping, dogs are welcome at nearly every campground, and it’s very affordable. Some vacation rentals on Airbnb or VRBO will also allow pets to join you for a reasonable price.
For a more luxurious stay, there are many resorts that are dog friendly and sometimes encourage you to bring your dog along for the trip. Two popular dog-friendly resorts are Las Ventanas al Paraiso located in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico and Mandarin Oriental in Miami, Florida. Some dog-friendly resorts even have special amenities just for your furry friend such as grooming services, doggie playgrounds, and pet spa services.
There are also hotels around the world that allow dogs, including Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Seattle and Eden Roc Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. While you’re away, dogs may get restless, so the best thing to do is make the environment a safe place for them. Bring along toys, blankets, and possibly their bed—anything with their home scent will provide them with more comfort.
What are the best activities to do with your four-legged friend? A hiking trip through a national park or nature area will release all the built-up energy your dog will have from your travels, plus you can enjoy the beautiful scenery while your dog enjoys the sniffs. The nature-filled trip could be completed with an evening campfire or outdoor picnic.
If hiking isn’t for you (or your furry friend), then take a trip to one of the many dog-friendly beaches. There are several around the globe, but be sure to do your research beforehand to see which beaches are dog friendly, if dogs must stay on a leash, and if they need to have a recent veterinary appointment before visiting. This is a great trip for everyone; you get to enjoy the sun and the sand while your dog can dig and swim as much as they want.
If you (or your dog) prefer to visit an urban area, there are many cities around the world that have large parks and trails for you and your dog. Some restaurants have outdoor seating that allow you to bring your dog along for the meal. You could visit local farmer’s markets in the city, dog-friendly breweries where you can try local beer, and even stores that allow dogs to do some shopping too.
Regardless of where you travel with your best friend, be sure to protect your trip investment with an iTravelInsured travel protection plan from IMG. Acknowledged as one of Forbes Advisor’s Best Travel Insurance Companies Of 2022, IMG’s iTravelInsured Travel SE plan is featured specifically as a great option for dog owners, providing trip cancellation and interruption benefits if a pet or service animal suffers a sickness, injury, or death. Equipped with these tips and a travel insurance plan from IMG, you and your four-legged friend are sure to have a tail-wagging good time.
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