written by Cindy Aldridge of ourdogfriends.org
Travel is a wonderful way to learn about the world, meet new people, and experience diverse cultures. Globetrotting has even been shown to be good for mental health, as it reduces stress, promotes life satisfaction, enhances creativity, and makes people more mentally resilient (Nazish, 2018). Travel can be especially beneficial for young people, pushing them out of their comfort zone and teaching them cultural sensitivity (Peterson, 2018). If you want to see the world and have a dog, odds are you won't want to leave your pup behind for the adventure. Read on for affordable tips for dog-friendly traveling.
Make sure you have a reliable phone
Whether you're headed overseas or driving cross country, a reliable phone is a must-have item for your adventure. You can use it to call for help in emergencies — for example, if you're driving and need to reach AAA — and rely on the GPA for navigating routes. There are also many helpful travel apps you can download like Hopper, which helps you organize advanced bookings, and LoungeBuddy, which allows you to book entrance to airport lounges on the cheap (Ward, 2018). If you're driving, get a phone with integration features that allow for hands-free usage. If your phone isn't the newest, this is the perfect time to upgrade to the latest iPhone, which features a fantastic battery life so you won’t have to worry too much about charging your phone while you’re out and about (“iPhone comparison”). Also, assess your data plans and look for unlimited options to avoid added charges while on the road.
Pack light and practically, for you and your dog
You don’t need to bring everything in your wardrobe on a trip. Pack only what you’ll need, focusing on layers that you can easily pile on or strip off according to the temperature. A backpack is the easiest way to stay mobile while lugging your stuff, keeping your hands free so you can keep your dog in check. Make sure to bring the canine goods you’ll need as well, such as a leash, a favorite toy, and any special foods or medicines they need.
Scope out pet-friendly transportation and accommodation
Keep in mind that not all businesses welcome pets. Use online platforms like GoPetFriendly to scope out dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, and more. They also offer travel tips like a list of the best dog-friendly national parks in the country. Suggestions range from Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Cleveland, Ohio, and beyond (Burkert, 2018). If you’re planning on air travel, check with the airline beforehand to find out how your dog can fly and what measures need to be taken in advance.
Take care of medical visits to the doctor and the vet beforehand
Both you and your dog should pay a visit to a healthcare professional before you take off on your journey. If you are traveling abroad, you may need vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an online travel planner that lets you see what you need. For example, if you’re headed to Tanzania, it's recommended to get a hepatitis A and typhoid vaccine (“Health Information for Travelers to Tanzania, including Zanzibar”, 2018). Dogs may also need vaccines, such as for rabies (LaRock, 2018).
While traveling with a pet does add an extra layer of responsibility to your vacation, it also makes the experience more rewarding. Your pup will likely make it easier to connect with strangers if you're going solo — a friendly canine is always a great conversation starter. Your dog will also encourage you to discover various sights, sounds, and smells that are off the beaten path, especially if you're taking them on outdoor adventures like hiking in national parks (Rhae, 2019). Just follow the above tips and you will be able to manage your and your furry friend's travel needs without issue.
● iPhone comparison. (n.d.). [Webpage]. Retrieved from https://www.verizonwireless.com/smartphones/
● Burkert, A. (23 October 2018). Best Dog-Friendly National Parks in the US [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://blog.gopetfriendly.com/best-dog-friendly-national-parks/
● Health Information for Travelers to Tanzania, including Zanzibar. (8 November 2019). [Online article]. Retrieved from https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/tanzania?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001
● LaRock, H. (7 May 2018). Vaccination & Travel With a Dog [Online article]. Retrieved from https://traveltips.usatoday.com/vaccination-travel-dog-42695.html
● Nazish, N. (22 January 2018). Five Reasons Why Travel Is Good For Your Mental Health [Online article]. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2018/01/22/five-reasons-why-travel-is-good-for-your-mental-health/#49c3db665934
● Peterson, H. (September 2018). 6 Reasons Why Traveling Abroad is Important for Young People [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://greenhearttravel.org/blog/high-school-abroad/6-reasons-why-traveling-abroad-is-important-for-young-people
● Rhae, J. (1 August 2019). 10 Surprising Benefits of Traveling with Your Dog [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com/10-surprising-benefits-of-traveling-with-your-dog/
● Ward, P. (22 May 2018). The 11 Best Travel Apps You Need on Your Phone [Online article]. Retrieved from https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/articles/the-11-best-travel-apps-you-need-on-your-phone/
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