Trip Planning: Dogs and Last Minute Travel, Not a Great Idea

Dog Travel Planning

One of the things I adore about working from home is that I can pretty much do whatever I want, whenever I want it. Three hours lunch break? Sure, why not? I can always work late. Random mid-week, mid-day shopping spree with a friend? Of course! Spur of the moment travel plans? You bet!Β Well, the travel part changed when I got Ares. You can’t just pack up and leave tomorrow when you have a dog, at least not if he’s coming with you. More so if you plan to dog travel abroad. Β To better illustrate why, let me tell you how it went when getting Ares ready for his first trip abroad!

Before that trip, I’d been away for short periods, visiting friends and family. On most occasions, I either took Ares with me or left him with my mom and arranged for friends to walk him. Ares is a huge, 38 kilos dog, my mom has serious back issues, she can’t walk him.

What was different about this trip? My mom was going to come with me. My friend Alexandra had come home from the UK and she was visiting her parents. She decided we should take our moms and go on a girl’s vacation. I said yes, as we initially planned on going somewhere local. Just to give you an idea, this happened on a Wednesday afternoon and she wanted us to leave on Friday, early in the morning.

We kept brainstorming locations, but we weren’t happy and finally agreed on a hotel in the Golden Sands resort, in Bulgaria. So all I had to do in one day? Get Ares a passport (easy, you get it at the vet), get him checked up (you need an OK on his health from the vet before you leave), and find a dog friendly hotel.

Dog Travel Planning

I planned on going to the vet the next day, and focused on finding a hotel. I found a great one price-wise, it looked clean and comfy, and accepted dogs. At least it did so on its Booking.com page! That turned out to be inaccurate, but that’s a story for another time πŸ˜€

The next day brought more drama! Apparently, I had to get a number on that passport from a specific office that would take days to do it. At least that was the case for my home city, Ploiesti. We decided to leave Ares at a doggy hotel, but we hadn’t had time to visit them and by the time we were supposed to load him in the car and take him there, my mom was in tears and I wasn’t faring much better.

It was a long shot, but I called the breeder I’d gotten Ares from. He told me the whole waiting for a few days was bullshit. In Bucharest, he got it done on the spot. Well, hell, now my home city sucked! But how did that help me? Turns out, I could get it done in Bucharest. We’d just have to leave for Bulgaria later. Crisis averted, trip was a go, we could delight and celebrate.

We did, but I swore to never take Ares on a spur of the moment trip unless it was a local one.

This is what you have to do to get your dog travel ready:

  • Make sure you can bring him into the country you are visiting. Some require dogs to be quarantined, do your research!
  • Make sure you find a dog-friendly hotel. If you’ve booked through a booking service, check the hotel website too, sometimes there are discrepancies.
  • Make sure he has the right papers. If not, get them. How hard or easy that is depends on the country you’re in and your dog. Mine had a microchip so I didn’t have to get one just for the passport.
  • Take your dog to the vet. There are rules about when the dog gets treatments and vaccines before a trip. Because fleas and other nasty things are an issue
  • Get your dogΒ travel ready – decide on transportation and what is needed for it. Traveling by car and by plane are very different in terms of what you need.
  • Pack bowls, food, treats, and a couple of toys.
  • Finally, if this your first trip, hope for the best and don’t worry much!

It might not be as easy as deciding I want to travel somewhere and be gone the next minute anymore. But it sure is fun to travel with Ares! Once people get over how big he is, he usually manages to line up quite a few human servants to spoil him.

What’s your experience traveling with dogs or other pets? Do you think it dog travel takes a bit more planning?

54 thoughts on “Trip Planning: Dogs and Last Minute Travel, Not a Great Idea

  1. I so agree with the work from home fringe benefits. πŸ˜€
    Your post reminded me of a blog-post I wrote three years ago. I travelled with my cat, and the whole journey is something that I will never forget! I must congratulate you for the systems you have in your country regarding such matters.

    Here, in case you would like to read it:http://aborrowedbackpack.com/2013/11/10/how-i-sneaked-my-cat-on-board-a-train-and-other-stories/

    Please feel free to edit out the link in case the comment does not comply with the norms of posting.

    1. Thanks for the reading rec. Well, my country is not the best, but yes, it could be much worse when it comes to traveling with pets. While I am pretty sure of what to do in terms of passports, I really have no clue what using trains and public transportation entails and whether I need a ticket for him or not.

    1. I would never leave him at home by himself. But yeah, I’d much rather have him come along πŸ˜€ He’s pretty good at staying in a hotel room if he gets a long walk and play time in the morning and evening.

  2. I haven’t got dog now but a used to had and yes, I think traveling with dog is more complicated especially when you are looking for a place to stay. You are also not allowed to go to restaurant with dog in many places…

    1. There are some dog friendly cafes, but not many. I think you’d need to go with picnics if you really wanted your dog to be around all the time.

  3. I love road trips with my dog! I agree, it is challenging. One thing I really miss about the states, it is easy to load up the dog in the car and just drive across the Continental 48 states, up to Canada or down to Mexico without any fuss.

    1. Honestly, I don’t think everyone should get a pet, especially one that needs a lot of care, like a dog. I for one never regretted it, but I did have to learn to adapt

  4. My parents have two beautiful dogs and want to breed them and give me a puppy– I’ve ALWAYS wanted a dog my entire life, but I’m a traveler– really nice to find your blog and see other people traveling with their pets!

    1. It really depends on the kind of dog you have. Honestly, if they are smaller dogs, things are suddenly a lot easier. The vast majority of pet friendly hotels have a weight limit, from what I can see.

  5. This is such an informative post! I don’t have any pets because I travel so much and don’t have the ability to take care of them, but now knowing that it is possible to travel with a dog internationally might change my mind about that! I imagine it’s difficult to find hotels and such that allow dogs, but being able to see the world with you dog? Now that’s an ideal life!

    1. It is pretty great to have a dog as one of your travel buddies. How easy or hard it is depends on your dog, yourself, and the country you travel to. I’d only choose those with no quarantine, or with just very short periods of time in quarantine. Also, if you are already a traveler and want to get a dog, I do suggest smaller breeds cause they make finding a hotel that will allow them a lot easier.

  6. I had no idea that traveling with pets was so complicated – maybe I’m dumb, but I didn’t realize they needed a passport. That does sound stressful but it seems like you have learned the lesson once and will think twice about traveling spontaneously with Ares again. Poor Ares! He just wanted a bit of vacation time! πŸ˜›

    1. Nothing dumb about that πŸ˜€ I guess it depends on where you travel. You might be able to travel around the European Union with only the usual papers, no passport, but when you have to go through customs, things change. It is a bit complicated, especially with large dogs, because most hotels don’t allow them. I’ve seen plenty of smaller dogs being less well behaved than mine, but Ares still has a few dozen kilos over them πŸ˜€ And when the maximum size is 5 kilos… it gets complicated.

  7. I don’t think that I will be travelling with a pet any time soon! But it’s good to know what’s involved should it ever take my fancy. I do always feel a bit guilty when we’ve had to leave our cat at a cattery…

    1. It’s not the easiest thing, to be honest. I can’t always take him with me, especially on business trips. I eventually found a place that was great and I didn’t feel bad. But having him stay with my mom and my friends coming to walk him is way better. I know for a fact he’s well cared for πŸ˜€

  8. I was really surprised to know that you can get a passport within 1 day. Here in Ukraine it takes so much time to get one and also 99,99% of hotels are not P.A.W. (Pets Are Welcome) friendly.
    In any case, I have a cat so he prefers to rule the world from his sofa at home πŸ˜‰
    I love your new blog!

    Veronica
    http://www.siniciliya.com

    1. Same here, most hotels are not pet-friendly. It’s easier in some parts because it’s just a matter of stamping a number on the passport. The actual thing is available for purchase at any vet. They release them and fill out the medical stuff, so when you go get a number, they know your dog has been through a checkup.

  9. Is that your pooch? He’s adorable! I know it’s so difficult to manage things when you travel and you have a pet. I had a little pup last year, that was so attached to me, he used to whine for days on end while I was on the road. It really is difficult to manage, and needs better planning.

    1. Yup, that’s my furbaby πŸ˜€ This one is attached to me, he follows me everywhere. He might be a little distressed the moment I leave, but he recovers fast.

  10. I love the idea that you wanted to take your dog with you. There are like family and sometimes it is soo much planing in advance necessary that it can become a hussl. I have a dog myself and need to look something up for June as well. I will definitely use your tips.

    1. Thanks, Tina! I can’t always include him and that sucks, but I do try :) Where are you going? If I know anything about where you’re heading – pet wise, I’d love to help

    1. Thank you! You’d think he poses all the time, but it’s a struggle most times. He decides he has something important to sniff and search for exactly when I press the button to take the pic πŸ˜€

  11. It is surely not easy to travel with a pet, and as you stated there is a lot of planning involved. I have seen a couple at the airport get turned away because they forgot their dog passport at home and could not prove what shots the dogs had and also his general health. Lots of money lost.

    1. Yup, it’s as bad as forgetting your own papers. Of course, when you have them and drive through the border, chances are they won’t even look at them (happened to me). If you don’t have them, they will definitely want them πŸ˜€

  12. Great post! And your dog is so cute! I am a fan of last minute travel but definitely can see how that can be more than a little difficult with a dog. And I’m also really really surprised that you could get a passport within a day!

    1. Thank you, Ann <3 He certainly loves the attention πŸ˜€ Well, I was more surprised than you πŸ˜€ If it wasn't the vet filling out the passport and the authorities only sticking a number on it, it would have taken AGES!!!!

      The truth is not so many people rush to get passport. Mostly the local circus, and breeders who have to ship dogs abroad (like mine). I am sure if it wasn't for the breeder, I wouldn't have even known where to go and how to do it.

  13. We loved traveling with our dog around the UK, with so much open land for roaming and sniffing! We also utilized trustedhousesitters.com for our pup when we went out of town. Free petsitting saved us a significant amount of money. If you haven’t already, you should check it out!

    1. Thanks, I don’t know if there is a similar service over here. It’s rare that both my mom and I are gone at the same time (somewhere that he can’t go), so I rely on her and friends with dogs when I am away. But I could use something like this for those rare occasions.

  14. Your dog is beautiful and you bring up a lot of good points. I’ve never traveled with pets or internationally and had no idea you’d even have to get him a passport! Kudos to you for jumping through hoops for your fur baby!

  15. Excellent tips! We have a miniature dachshund named Axle, and he loves to travel. But even though he is small, it is still a huge responsibility to travel with a pet. As much as we love him, it limits our ability to stop at restaurants and other sites when he is with us on road trips. We can’t leave him in the hot car, and we cannot take him with us inside most buildings. Fortunately, we have family members who enjoy keeping him while we are on the road.

    1. I always try to take him on longer trips where a hotel stay is involved. He’s really good by himself inside, as long as he gets his morning and evening walk and playtime. Otherwise, you’re right it can be a bit difficult.

  16. Ah that’s an experience to remember. Yes, traveling with your pet is better than staying them at home. You have brought a lot of good points & tips. Ah they’ll have passports too! :)

    P.S. – Your dog is dashing.

  17. I’m sorry you encountered some drama. But thanks for using your experience to alert other traveler’s with pets on what to expect. I wish I could take my dog traveling too, but she’s quite a lazy pug ?

    1. That is how we learn I guess πŸ˜€ And despite the added stress, it turned out to be an amazing trip, so totally worth it.

  18. Brave move, I can’t actually see myself traveling with a pet since I’m actually not a pet lover. But I find it hassle. Yeah, I don’t have any idea but I think its not going to be easy here in the Philippines. Cheers to more travels with your dog :)

    1. I have a good friend from the Philippines who usually takes one of her dogs on local trips :) She’s pretty well versed at it. But yes, it is a hassle and you have to be a pet lover to go through it.

    1. I don’t think it matters whether it’s peak season or not. If the hotel is dog friendly, they will welcome you, provided they have free rooms. I’d say if you want to visit somewhere in the peak season, try your best to book early.

  19. Great tips for traveling with your dog – especially knowing if bring him into the country you are visiting, and having paperwork in order etc. I’m living in Australia, and we’ve just had the whole big debacle about Johnny Depp bringing in his dogs and not declaring that he had them with him. So always best to know the biosecurity laws before traveling :)

    1. True, Meg, Australia is one of the countries you have to be really careful with. From what I know, dogs have to stay in quarantine for a long time before being allowed in, so unless you’re moving there, it’s better to leave pets at home :)

  20. Thats a great checklist to go through for anyone with a pet! I don’t have one at the moment, but I’m aware that there are a lot of things to consider legally as well as to ensure your pet’s comfort. Ares is a beautiful dog!

    1. Aww, thank you, I think he is too, but I am biased πŸ˜€ Yup, it helps to know what you’re getting into ahead of time, otherwise it can turn super stressful.

  21. Good checklist! I don’t travel with dogs, but man, that sounds like a lot of work to do at the last minute. I have to admit that I’m not much of a last minute traveler, either, but with animals, I’d be worse! πŸ˜€ Great share for pet owners!

    1. It can be a bit of a hassle. But honestly, once you get your papers in order, you only need a couple of days to get his pre-trip check up. The first trip is always the worst. After that, your biggest concern is to find proper accommodation.

  22. What a difficult ordeal! I do not own a pet of my own, my mom has a lot and all of our pets predominantly stay in her house so I’ve always been fond of dogs and animals in general. Living in an archipelagic country though where taking a domestic flight to another city in a different island, I’ve seen the planning that went through just to get his cats on the plane!
    It would be such a great joy to bring your favourite companion to your trips!

    1. Trisha, flying is definitely harder when you bring your pets along. I don’t know if I ever want to try that. Maybe on shorter flights? Otherwise, I’d feel bad about the dog being cooped up for hours and hours.

  23. You should come to France, most hotels are pet friendly. Mine travel with me and come to restaurants, go clothes shopping everything really! I wish they were as well behaved as Ares.

    1. Thanks Marie, I will keep that in mind :) The problem is he’s also huge, and even pet-friendly hotels sometimes have limits on size πŸ˜€

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