Pet Travel Story: A Family, Two Golden Retrievers, and a Cross-Continent Move

Pet Travel France Holiday

Hello everyone and welcome to our Bloggers and Pets Share Their Travel Stories series! Today we have Nadine from Le Long Weekend joining us and sharing her amazing stories of traveling with two dogs and moving them and her family on a whole new continent. Read on to find out about Nadine’s adventures, her gorgeous furry friends, and their travel adventures!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your pet(s).

Hi! I’m Nadine from the travel blog Le Long Weekend. I’m a kiwi living in France with my husband, 3-year-old son and two Golden Retriever dogs. We adopted Harvey when he was around 4 months old – his first owner realised how big he was going to be, and wasn’t equipped to have a big dog. And we adopted Chloe at 1-year-old –her first family gave her up for being ‘too difficult’. Despite their unsettled start to life, they’re now very much a part of our family. Both dogs relocated with us from New Zealand to France last year.

Which was your first trip with your pets and what made you want to bring them along?

Harvey’s first trip was to Gisborne, NZ to visit my family. Gisborne is a beach town and my mum has two dogs so he had a lot of fun. Chloe’s first holiday with us was to Raglan – again another beach town. They’re typical water-loving retrievers!

Harvey & Chloe on the beach , Landes, FranceHarvey & Chloe on the beach , Landes, France

How often do you travel with your pets?

Since we’ve lived in France, they travel pretty much everywhere with us! Partly because we haven’t found a local pet-sitter yet, and partly because France is very dog friendly. So far they’ve travelled all over the south-west of France, a lot of central France, and we’re about to head to Provence for a few months – so they’ve got a new coastline to explore!

When your pets don’t tag along, what do you do with them?

Back home we used to either get a pet-sitter look after them at home or take them to a small boutique kennel where they’d get plenty of exercise and attention. Living in New Zealand meant that taking them for overseas holidays wasn’t an option – both due to cost and logistics! But now that we’re living in Europe I’m really looking forward to taking them on holiday with us abroad more often.

Do you find it much harder to plan your trip when your pets join you?

The planning part isn’t much harder – that just involves sussing out dog-friendly accommodation and packing light so they can have the entire boot space! But the logistics once you’re away can take a bit more thought. Just simple things like remembering to take water and a bowl when you’re out & about, and planning activities that they can be part of.

Harvey in Hamilton, New ZealandHarvey in Hamilton, New Zealand

What is your favorite destination to take your pets to?

When we first arrived in France we were staying in the Landes. It was a great place for the dogs – with lakes to swim in, beaches to run on and forest walks to explore. Being there in the low-season meant they were allowed off-leash in most places too.

Which are the most pet-friendly places you’ve traveled to?

So far, we’ve found everywhere in France is very accommodating for dogs. We normally book our accommodation on Airbnb and have never had any trouble finding a place to stay that wouldn’t allow Harvey & Chloe. You see dogs everywhere in France – at the airport, at ski fields, in shops, and of course cafés and restaurants!

We were so surprised the first time we ate out in Royan – we asked for an outside table but they said they weren’t serving outside on that day, and invited us to eat inside the restaurant! Our dogs aren’t exactly inconspicuous so it was funny having them at the table with us.

Harvey enjoying the park in Saintes, FranceHarvey enjoying the park in Saintes, France

Which are the most unfriendly places to travel to with a pet?

We haven’t travelled outside of New Zealand and France with our dogs as yet, but compared to France, New Zealand isn’t that dog friendly. It’s often hard to find accommodation that will accept one small dog, let alone two big ones. And there are quite a few no-go zones for dogs – like the National Parks – to protect native wildlife.

Any anecdotes or mishap you want to share?

Our dogs aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed so they always provide a few laughs, but sometimes a few scares too. The first time we took them to the beach in France we were afraid they were going to get swept out to sea, such was their enthusiasm to ‘chase’ the waves, which were bigger than what they are used to back home!

Harvey & Chloe in Royan, France.
Harvey & Chloe in Royan, France.

What advice would you give to others wanting to travel with their pet?

Travelling with pets is not unlike travelling with kids. You have to be more organised, but it’s a lot of fun to experience a new place with your furry family members! My best tip would be to make sure you do your research first. Not all walks, beaches, or even towns, are welcoming of dogs – even in the off-season. There would be nothing worse than arriving somewhere only to be told your pet isn’t allowed. Nature walks come to mind once again!

Thank you, Nadine, for joining us today and sharing your adventures with us. It was great to hear France is such a dog-friendly destination! If you have any more questions for Nadine, or any of your own tips to share, do so in the comment section. Before you go, remember to follow Nadine & Le Long Weekend on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with their travel stories.

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Pet Travel Story: A Family, Two Golden Retrievers, and a Cross-Continent Move Pet Travel Story: A Family, Two Golden Retrievers, and a Cross-Continent Move

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