Take Your Dog on Vacation

Trip Ideas and Resources for Dog Lovers Who Travel

Man lying on dock with dog

Thomas Barwick/Getty Images


One of the most memorable vacation trips I ever took was with my dog, Jesse. Invited to visit a friend on Nantucket, I drove to the ferry. The wait in the hot sun was long, and both cocker spaniel and travel companion were cranky by the time boarding took place in late afternoon.

Once the ferry left the dock and we began to travel out to sea, our vacation trip officially began. Soon the sun began to set and Jesse and I both started to relax. We had a bench to ourselves, and my dog clambered up beside me.

I took him in my arms, kissed him atop his head, stroked his long silky ears, got an affectionate dog lick in response, and held him close as we watched the play of dusky light sparkle upon the water. Heaven!

Why It's Great to Travel with a Dog

Bringing a dog with you on vacation can enrich a trip in so many ways.

  • You'll meet and talk to dog-loving strangers who otherwise would have passed right by you.
  • You'll travel to dog-friendly parks and other places that wouldn't ordinarily be on your itinerary.
  • You have a built-in reason to go outside, exercise and have fun.
  • Most significantly, you'll have your best friend at your side.

Naturally, not every destination is suitable to bring a pet on vacation. And not every dog is calm and well behaved enough to travel. But for those that are, the Web contains many resources where dog-lovers can connect with people and places that will facilitate their travel.

10 Great Dog-Friendly Vacation Ideas

Fun with Dogs on Vacation
Love dogs as much as each other? Then plan to spend your next vacation with one of these 10 dog-friendly activities.

One Thing Every Pet Lover Who Travels Must Do Before They Go

Is your pet microchipped? More than a million dogs and cats go missing every month in the USA. With a microchip, which can be painlessly inserted by a veterinarian, your pet has a permanent ID. So if he or she is ever lost or stolen, the finder who takes your pet to a shelter or a veterinarian can help return your pet to you.

Packing a Doggie Suitcase

Whether your dog is small enough to fit in a carrier or not, most pets don't require their own luggage. Regardless, there are a few essential items every pet owner should bring when traveling with a dog:

  • Collapsible dog bowls
  • Bottled water
  • Dog food (don't switch brands now)
  • Treats
  • Favorite toy
  • Blanket
  • Dog first aid kit
  • Copy of vaccination records

Travel Sites for Dog Lovers

AAA PetBook
Info on 15,000 pet-friendly AAA Diamond Rated hotels and hundreds of campgrounds

Extensive resource of dog-friendly beaches, cities, parks, ski resorts, hotels, and more.

PetFriendly Travel
Lodging locator.

Pet Travel
Worldwide travel guide for cats and dogs and the people who travel with them.

Puppy Travel
Travel agent for pets that arranges transport and relocation trips.

Sherpa Pet
Comfortable, durable carriers for small pets.

The Bark on Dog-Friendly Travel
Great ideas for enjoying the great outdoors with your dog, from Bark, America's best dog magazine.

Traveling with Your Pet FAQ
Information provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association including where to get a health certificate.

Travel Tips from the American Kennel Club
Advice from the breeders' group on traveling with a priceless friend.

Does It Cost Extra to Stay in a Hotel with a Dog?

Many hotels and resorts charge an additional fee to couples traveling with a dog. Some take it as a deposit against destruction and may return it after an inspection. Lodgings that set aside rooms for pet parents are usually a bit careworn, so don't expect the best place in the house, but the important thing is you'll have your dog with you. And always be a responsible pet parent, leading your dog to allowable areas to urinate and defecate — and clean up afterward. 

Should You Bring Your Cat on Vacation?

Although some couples do, it's not advisable. Easily spooked, cats may try to escape an unfamiliar situation, and the last thing you want to do is spend your free time searching for a missing cat.