Should You Road Trip with Your Dog?

I am convinced that we have the most precious Border Collie in the whole entire world! We love our Josie Girl to pieces!! And when we can, we take her along on our road tripping adventures. Yep, we became those people that got a rescue dog that ended up becoming the fifth member of the family, and probably the favorite!

Look how cute and little they all were!

While we’re traveling with her or shortly after returning, I am always asked about how it went and to share our tips. So, keep reading to learn about my thoughts on traveling with a dog, the pros and cons of bringing your pup along, and my tips and recommendations!

Things to Consider:

  • There are many things to consider when traveling with your dog, but I think you really need to truly know your dog first. Is your dog aggressive or docile? Will they use the restroom on the side of the highway with cars roaring by when you stop? Are they well-behaved riding in a car? These are some pretty serious questions that can make or break your trip.
  • Will your dog be more comfortable traveling with you or would they feel better staying home with a pet sitter, family member, or at a boarding facility?
  • How well does your dog walk on a leash? If your dog has trouble walking on a leash and will lunge at passerby, then I probably wouldn’t encourage you to bring your pup along. That doesn’t sound like a fun time for anyone! And I can promise you, if you are out with your pet at a popular location, the dog lovers will come up in droves.
  • Driving a long distance with a restless, pacing or barking pup would drive me absolutely crazy. So, before you begin making plans, ask yourself how your dog will behave in the car. Does your dog get carsick? Trying to drive from point A to point B while stopping to clean up a mess doesn’t sound like a good time, either.
  • You also need to think about the destination you’re traveling to. Is the location dog friendly? Does your lodging allow pets? What are the activities you plan to do on your trip and do these activities allow you to bring your dog along? When traveling with a pet, a lot of planning and preparation has to happen first!
  • And finally, is your dog up to date on their shots and vet care? Some places require you to bring proof of your dog’s shot records, so be sure that your dog has had the appropriate care and records to prove it!

Tips and Recommendations:

  • Before traveling with your dog, be sure to get them comfortable walking on a leash. We practiced for months with Josie. We actually live on about an acre of land, so I didn’t even buy a leash when we first brought her home! But I knew that we would want her to travel with us, so to the pet store I went. We practiced walking several days a week around our neighborhood until she got the hang of it before she ever traveled with us.
Our oldest walking Josie!
  • I also advise you to take your dog in the car with you as much as possible before venturing out on a road trip! We would take Josie to grab fast food to see how she did riding in the car and when we ordered food. Sometimes we would drive around town for a bit to get her completely comfortable riding with us. We started out practicing short distances before taking our first long road trip with her.
Josie’s first car ride was to Sonic!
  • When you decide where you’re going, be sure to check to see if the hotel or your lodging allows pets. If they do, I highly recommend calling the front desk, especially if you booked online. Sometimes there is a limited number of pet friendly rooms, so most places need to know beforehand if you’re bringing your dog along. Be prepared to pay an extra pet fee, too.  
It’s no wonder hotels charge an extra cleaning fee!
  • Travel somewhere close to home before venturing halfway across the country! We started with a short weekend trip to a cabin in Oklahoma that was only about 2.5 hours from home. We weren’t really sure how Josie would react to a new location or riding in the car for a long period of time, so we started off small. Once we knew how she would do traveling, we started going farther away and staying longer amounts of time!
So excited for our first road trip with Josie Girl!

The Pros and Cons of Traveling with your Dog:

It is always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of traveling with your pet. And these can always change depending on your location, too.

  • Pro – Your dog is with you & you won’t miss each other!
  • Con – You’re still taking care of a dog while on vacation – potty breaks, feeding, etc.
  • Pro – You’re saving money by taking your pet with you vs. paying for boarding!
  • Con – Some places still charge a pet fee and extra cleaning fee.
  • Pro – Lots of places are dog friendly!
  • Con – Many places still don’t allow dogs.
  • Pro – My dog is very calm and well-behaved!
  • Con – Your dog may become out of sorts in a different location.
  • Pro – It’s going to be so fun adventuring with my pup!
  • Con – You have to clean up after them and dispose of their waste.

Dog Friendly Destinations we’ve Visited:

  • Broken Bow, Oklahoma

We took a quick weekend trip to Broken Bow, OK when Josie was younger to see how she would do in the car and away from home. She loved playing outside the cabin with the boys and exploring a new location! After this trip, we knew she would be ready for more adventures! Broken Bow is about 2.5 hours from us.

They only photo I got with Josie at the cabin!
  • St. Louis, Missouri

Our first big road trip with Josie was to St. Louis. I read that St. Louis is a very dog friendly destination, so we decided to bring her with us on our weekend getaway. We got lucky, not only with a great pup, but the weather on this trip was amazing. We enjoyed strolling around the city with Josie in tow. We started our adventure exploring Gateway Arch National Park. We got some precious photos with her here! The only downside was that it was a long elevator ride down from our hotel room when she needed potty breaks. St. Louis is about a 9 hour drive from us.

Gateway Arch
  • Boulder, Colorado

Josie has gone to the mountains several times! Boulder is another wonderful place to bring your pup. There are so many parks and trails that are dog friendly in Colorado. And it’s not as hot there in the summer like it is back home in Texas for us. We hiked and hiked and hiked and she just loved every minute of it! The only downside was that we ventured to Estes Park and visited Rocky Mountain National Park and dogs are not allowed on most of the trails there. She had to stay behind at the hotel while we were gone. Boulder is about a 12 hour drive from us.

Hiking in Boulder, CO
  • Crested Butte, Colorado

She’s also been to Crested Butte during the summer. Again, we mostly hiked and explored outdoors while we were there. She loved being with us, I swear she was even smiling in some of our Colorado photos! Crested Butte is about a 12 hour drive for us.

Hiking in Crested Butte, CO
  • Ruidoso, New Mexico

We took Josie up to the mountains last winter and she got to play in the snow. She loved it, of course! This was a pretty low key trip and we mostly lounged around the cabin and explored a little bit outside. Josie loved fetching snowballs that the boys threw! Ruidoso is about a 9 hour drive for us.

Exploring Ruidoso, NM

Pet Necessities We Travel With:

The links above are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you purchase any items using the links provided at no extra charge to you.

Sometimes we choose not to take Josie with us on vacation. We have never flown with her and I don’t think we ever will. I am not sure that she would enjoy that. And if we have a lot of busy days planned with tons of activities on the agenda, we opt to leave her home. We are very lucky that my Dad will keep her for us at his house while we travel! Bottom line, there is a lot of planning and consideration involved before we bring our pup along on our travels. I hope this information is helpful for your travel planning! If you have any questions or your own tips/experiences, leave a comment. I’d love to connect with you!

Happy traveling! Be sure to check back to see where Josie Girl’s first adventure of 2023 will be!

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