Dog-friendly Travel: Finding Accommodation With Your Furry Friend!

finding dog-friendly accommodation

I have been travelling for the past ten years and over this time I have had a lot of time to contemplate the pros and cons of staying in one place vs travelling around all the time. For me, the biggest pros are not being weighed down by random 'stuff' I've collected along the way and not being 'trapped' in one place (be it through mortgage or long-term renting). After much deliberation, I have decided that the biggest con for me personally is not being able to cohabit with dogs, cats, pigs and any other animal who's interested in living with me.

Sustainable Dog-friendly Travel

As I get older though, I think more and more about having my cake and eating it. Enter dog-friendly travel and more specifically - sustainable dog-friendly travel, because I try to be sustainable wherever possible and travelling with a dog would be no exception. So, what kind of things do you have to think about when travelling with a dog, and how can you do it in a sustainable way? Is it even possible? Let's take a look:

#1. Find the right accommodation!

There are two things at play here, firstly, finding dog-friendly accommodation - be it hotels, glamping, cottages, hostels or camping, it's wise to check first whether or not your dog is welcome. The second thing to think about is sustainability. Camping is often considered the most sustainable of the bunch, but it's worth thinking about where your tent has come from - who has made it, the conditions they live under - as well as how durable the tent is (nothing says unsustainable like 'needs to be replaced after each use'!)

finding dog-friendly accommodation

When it comes to hotels and sustainability, not all are created equally. Luckily, nowadays environmentalism is becoming more and more in vogue, and hotels are excited to tell you the ways that they are doing their part, for example, asking you to reuse your towels more than once and offering vegan breakfasts. I firmly believe that it's possible to find accommodation that is both dog-friendly and sustainable, but if you're stuck and have to choose between the two, it's okay to sometimes stay at places that are dog-friendly but not so sustainable.

#2. Food for thought (aka your dog)

Nowadays almost everyone knows that eating vegan is the most sustainable way to eat. We also know that dogs can not just survive but thrive as vegans. However, vegan dog food is not always available in less progressive places, so it is a good idea to think ahead about whether or not you need to take your vegan dog food with you, and how much. Circling back to the point above, if you do opt for walking you might be limited to walking in places where vegan dog food is readily available - because you won't be able to carry that many cans of vegan dog food on your back. Alternatively, you could consider making your own vegan dog food with readily available ingredients.

#3. Consider your transport options!

At first it seems that sustainable and dog-friendly are opposing forces when it comes to transport. E.g. buses and trains are better for the environment than cars, but cars are arguably better for dogs - because buses and trains don't always let dogs on and you can't stop at any time for your dog to get out. However, there is another option that is both sustainable and dog-friendly, and what's more, it's more sustainable than even buses and trains and it's (way) more comfortable for your dog than cars. I'm talking of course about walking.

finding dog-friendly accommodation

This might not be accessible for everyone, and it can take a lot of time, but it might be the nicest and most natural thing you could do for your dog - very often, depending on where you walk, you can even let them off the leash! So if you have the time and ability, why not walk? Even if you can't necessarily go as far as you would with other transport, the journey itself will be highly rewarding - especially for your furry friend.

#4. What to pack for your dog

What you pack will depend on how you're travelling and where you're staying, but here are a few things that are worth thinking about however and wherever you go:

  • a collapsable water bowl for your dog on hot days;
  • a harness instead of a neck leash: no one wants to be dragged around by the neck, including your dog;
  • get a sturdy dog leash to protect your dog's safety on walks and outdoor trips;
  • treats for your dog cause they deserve it!
  • a passport for your dog: believe it or not, they're needed. And in certain places they will need proof of certain vaccines, too!
  • your dog's favourite toy: you might not have space for much but one favourite can go a long way!

#5. Community for your dog on the road

If your dog loves to socialise with other dogs it's something to think about before you go. Some countries have dog parks where your dogs can be off the lead and socialise freely. Some countries have free-range dogs that might be a bit wilder than you are used to but might be friendly towards you and your furry companion (actually, not just some countries, a quick reminder: around 80% of dogs on this planet are free range, aka free dogs! See our experiences with packs of free ranging dogs in Northern Macedonia).

finding dog-friendly accommodation

Conversely, some countries are so strict about having dogs caged, leashed and tagged that there are no longer any free dogs in that country. Be sure to double check what each country's rules and customs are so you don't get caught out. Although it might sound counter-intuitive it might be easier to travel with two dogs than one - this way, your furry pal always has their own portable furry pal!

Wrap Up: Sustainable Dog-friendly Travel

Although it might sound like a hassle initially, sustainable dog-friendly travel can be easy with a bit of pre-planning and can be one of the most rewarding, memorable things you do for both you and your dog(s). I for one would love to see a world where humans dogs and everyone could live, cohabit and travel together in more consensual and sustainable ways, so I thank you for reading this short piece on the topic. As with anything sustainable, it's doing it as far as practical and possible that's important, rather than striving for absolute perfection and giving up because that's impossible. Be kind to yourself - you are part of this planet too!

What about you, how do you travel with your furry companion? Feel free to share any tips & advice below!

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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