There are a number of things that anyone who is considering adopting or purchasing a dog has to commit to beforehand. As a traveler there are a number of added concerns and situations you need to recognize in order to determine if a dog is right for you. Over the last few months after adopting a puppy (the wrinkly guy on the right) I’ve got a better understanding of the added items travelers need to add to their ‘pre-dog checklist’.
1. You Travel More Than You Think
The more we travel, the more travelers tend to underestimate how much they travel. Take the previous year, for example, and count how many days you were actually not home. Multiply it by one and a half and that’s the amount of time you’ll need to find someone to watch your furry friend.
In some ways it’s easier for those of you who are always on the road to get around moving all the time with your canine. Dogs are driven to migrate by instinct and if you can avoid air travel they’ll love hitchhiking around with you.
2. Your Travel Budget Will Take A Hit
Traveling is a luxury, not a necessity, dog food and rabies vaccinations aren’t. Expect that some of the money you’ve previously been spending on vacations, adventures, and even quick trips out of town will go to your dog. That might mean canceling a trip here and there or staying in one place longer. If you can’t deal with this, don’t get a dog.
3. You’re Planning For Two Now
Every trip you will take for the entire lifespan of your dog (varies between 9-15 year) will double or triple the amount of planning you’ll have to do beforehand. A dog can’t help you with this, so it’s more effort than making plans for a family or group of friends.
Consider that you’ll have to:
- Find a dog sitter, friend, or someone reliable to watch your dog during the entire time you’re away (add that to the travel budget) .
- Make added travel arrangements if your dog is coming with you (add that to the travel budget).
- Research the specific animal requirements the airline, place you’re staying, country you’re visiting, etc. There is almost always more upfront cost and some countries even quarantine dogs for a certain time upon entry.
- Some rules are breed specific. Continental Airlines prohibits English Bull Dogs over the age of 6 months due to their respiratory problems and other airlines don’t allow pugs if the outside temperature is above 22 degrees centigrade. These are just two examples – no matter what mode of transportation you’re using, call the company and check the restrictions!
- Add at least a few hours right before and after you leave for the airport, train stations, etc. to drop off and pick up your dog from wherever she’ll be staying.
4. A Dog Restricts Where You Can Stay
Finding a hotel that allows pets is difficult and finding a pet friendly hostel is even more difficult. All of your friends might be getting together for a ski trip, but one of them is allergic. As well behaved as your dog is (and we all think ours is the best) remember that there are 10 other crazy, loud, and obnoxious dogs out there giving your little guy a bad name.
Eventually, You Find The Tricks That Make It Easier
I’ll elaborate more on these tricks later on in the week, but as you gain experience as a dog-owning traveler, things do get easier. An eager 4-legged companion can actually rejuvenate your passion and motivate you to travel more. A dog forces you to be creative in planning any trip, whether they’re coming with you or not.