Pros and Cons of travelling with your dog friend

The main reason why I chose to be travelling by van was that I wanted to have Odie with me. A van seemed the most viable option.

Too many bus, train, plane companies do not accept dogs, not to mention the difficulties you might have to find a suitable accommodation.

Despite being the most practical solution, van life with a dog can be difficult at times and you must consider various aspects of it before throwing yourself into it.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before starting your travels:

  • How does your four legged friend cope with travelling by car? Does he get sick? Does he complain endlessly? Does he clearly look unhappy? If so, you might need re-think your choice.
  • How does he/she cope with new places? Is he strongly territorial? If so, constantly changing environment might drive him/her crazy.
  • Will you have enough space for him? Will he be relatively comfortable? Will you be able to give him all the exercise he/she needs?
  • Will you be able to bring him with you in most places? I must warn you that some travel experiences might be off limits if you are travelling with your pet. You might have to give up that festival you really wanted to go, or that cool diving trip unless you can find someone that can care for him/her.
  • Are you willing to adjust your travelling plans depending on the different countries regulations? Some countries make it REAL hard/expensive to bring your pet in.
  • Will you be able to pay for unexpected vet bills, vaccinations flea treatments and such? Don’t be selfish, think about your dog well-being first!

I was very lucky with Odie, as he does not mind car travel at all, he mostly sleeps and looks out of the window.

Now for some of the Pros of travelling with your dog:

  • Safety and reassurance. This is true especially if you are a solo traveler or/and a girl. The bigger and louder the dog the better. Odie does bark if he hears people that are too close to the van. Not sure if he would ever attack, but I do think that the “surprise effect” of a (big) dog barking would put off most prowlers. Same goes for walking alone in the evenings/night or hiking in remote places.
  • Cuddles and company. Seriously, who does not want cuddles?
  • Social interactions. I admit, I am at times a socially awkward creature and I have difficulties at speaking to strangers. Having a dog is a great conversation starter. I met so many locals and had innumerable tips on what to see and what to do thanks to Odie.
  • Exercising and exploring. Having a dog pushes you to find places were it can roam free. This can lead to finding unexpected gems.

And for the cons:

  • Restrictions in movement. As mentioned above, you will need to plan your travels more carefully if you plan in bringing your loved dog.You might need to avoid completely some countries. Depending on how well your dog copes with crowds and noises you might have to give up concerts, shows, fairs etc. Some natural parks also won’t accept dogs. If you have an old/ill dog, you’ll have to take this into account if you are planning long or challenging hikes.
  • Not being able to leave him in the van for long periods of time. I found this particularly challenging in summer as I did not want to leave Odie in the van not even for a minute being very aware of the possibility of a heat stroke. As dogs are not allowed in most supermarkets, I would have to leave him outside with a bowl of fresh water. I would not always be able to find a shadowed spot and more than once I gave up going to the shops altogether.
  • Messiness. Dog hair, dirty paws imprints, dog kibbles scattered around the floor, you’ll have it all. The second night I spent in Pamthevan, Odie had the cleaver idea of rolling himself in a huge, green, incredibly smelly sheep poo. Despite all my best efforts to clean him, I’ve learn that sheep poo is incredibly stubborn and 2 packets of wet wipes are not enough no get that thing off. I didn’t have enough water to shower him. Needless to say, I spent the whole night in what smelt like a pigsty.

Taking everything into account, I am incredibly happy to be able to travel with Odie and I wouldn’t change it for all the freedom in the world.

Travelling with dogs is 100% feasible, you just need to be more organized, flexible and informed.

Comment down below if you are travelling with your dog, I would love to hear your experiences and tips!

  -A ridiculous amount of coffee has been sacrificed to write this blog post so if you are feeling particularly generous, you can buy me one HERE   –

– You can also support Pamthevan’s adventures by visiting my Etsy shop HERE 

53 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of travelling with your dog friend

  1. It’s so cool that you are able to structure your life this way! Love it! How do you get enough money to sustain yourself, Odie, the van and cover any vet bills he might have and stuff?

      1. I was interested in the finance aspect!

        I’d quite happily throw the dog in the van and clear off in my travels, but curious to see if you actually have to work to finance the trip

    1. Please don’t let it be your last resort, but rather go about it as a dream scenario.
      Living in a campervan can be so fullfilling.
      I did it alone in my late thirties for a whole year. I wish I had a dog companion with me.
      Best thing I ever did for myself.

    1. Hi Gabor, nice to find here a fellowman 🙂 In addition your Kifli is the first Kifli I hear about since I have adopted my own dog, also called the “Hungarian Croissant” 🙂 /Not t mention that I also have a Mi(r)ci - here we miss only one lettre @ Where exactly do you travel, in Europe or is it mostly in Hungary?

  2. Thanks for sharing your adventures together with your friend dog. It is not so easy to bring your dog when you are traveling but it will make your bond and relationship grow deeper. What a wonderful experience you have! I’d love to hear more from your experience 😉

  3. I am so happy to have found your blog! My husband and I are traveling throughout the States for the next two or three years with our dog Bella. She is a sato (a rescued street dog from Puerto Rico) that we adopted just last month. Our cat, Mattie, is also traveling with us, and luckily both seem to have adjusted to life on the road quite well.

  4. Sinceramente AMEEI, acho que deve ser o sonho de muita gente, viajar assim, sem rumo apenas conhecendo os lugares, conheci sua historia hoje, a afinal, voce e linda viu ? hehe vou acompanha-la e sentir de incentivo para q eu ainda chegue la e consiga realizar esse sonho de conhecer varios varios e varios lugares apenas sobre 4 rodas

  5. Love your blog! I too have done some traveling in a campervan with just my two Labradors for company. So far really it has just been a few weeks of holiday at a time. We have travelled from the UK to France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. It has been great fun, no real problems other than the ones you have mentioned like not being able to leave them in the van because of the heat and sometimes when walking around town finding it difficult to go to the toilet- you can sit outside restaurants to eat but of course the toilets are inside!
    I look forward to further and longer journeys with my girls in future!
    Good luck with yours!

    Linda x

    1. Linda, not to be indelicate, but here in the USA camping and sporting stores sell camp toilets but they are at least 45cm cubes. Alternatively, there is a 28-30 cm plastic toilet seat, “Luggable loo” for instance, which snaps onto a 5 gallon plastic bucket about 36cm tall. Lined with a series of plastic kitchen trash bags inside each other, each containing a cup of clumping kitty litter to absorb urine, prevent any spill and neutralize any odour, the firmly latching lid makes carrying this unit worthwhile. Spare bags go in the bottom of the bucket underneath the outermost bag, you needn’t carry a separate box of bags, as space is at a premium. For toilet paper, I cut a slit in the side of a plastic coffee can to feed the end through, and replace the lid. If the loo hasn’t been used, the TP container travels inside the toilet. Once the bag contains waste, the TP rides separately. One could use a shorter bucket, but I’ve bad knees and prefer the added height. I carry tins of fruit or vegetables, tomato sauce, etc. inside the bucket, beneath the outermost bag, making use of the dead space and helping weigh down the bucket, making it less likely to tip. I don’t know how to post a photo to this blog, but here is a link to the seat. Buckets are available at any hardware store.

  6. Hello from Siberia and welcome here! Odie would appreciate our snow deserts 🙂 Which places did you mean by saying “to avoid completely some countries”? Some like Viet nam where a dog can be stolen as a food?

  7. Hey Pam totally with you on your journey, up to last year I spent my previous 5 years living in a yurt and shepherds hut travelling around boat yards, being a traditional wooden boat building by trade with Vincent, yes Vincent was my dog and total companion for 10 years, sadly Vincent has passed away and I am living back in my house which I love but so so so miss the feeling of exploration and freedom that living alternatively brings, it’s true shamanic and freedom spirited which I miss. Have been looking into Romania and starting again with my travels. Keep it real and love life, am ready to be on the move again. Once you have tasted and experienced the free spirit world its tough to conform back to the world we left, not that I conform that much : ) keep it up and maybe our paths will cross. God bless…. Jonny….x

  8. Hello I wish you the best and wonderfull moments! We (my wife and I) did something similar, if you need a hot shower somewhere in the area of Brussels…

  9. I randomly came about your blog from a friend’s post of “boredpanda”. I think what you’re doing is aMAZing and very inspiring! Thanks for sharing and continue girl! Such freedom is exhilarating to say the least!

  10. What you’re doing is SO awesome! I love the idea of a person travelling with their dog by car. I’ve travelled many places throughout the world as a lone female and it can be a big intimidating as you never want to be attacked or taken advantage of in some way. I’ve had a couple of close calls. However, I can only imagine how much more safer it must be and feel to have a large dog travel with you. That would be a good deterrent for would-be predators so that they stay away from you. 🙂

  11. I have thought about either buying or transforming a van into a camper for many years now. I really envy you. Great for you and the dog. I had a dog when I had an opportunity to live and work in Australia but I couldn’t put the dog through the process of having all the needles etc so we both stayed here. She has gone to doggie heaven now but I don’t regret staying at home with her. Its an amazing bond that you can have with a pet. I back packed sometime later around oz and I have lived in a small camper. It was a fantastic experience and I have never lost the desire to travel long term. When I travelled I used the beach showers to keep clean….I just wondered how you deal with that in having such a small van?

    1. Hi Barry, I have a portable solar shower and I also love bathing in rivers and lakes when it’s not so cold. When temperatures are low I use swimming pools showers! I will soon make a blog post on that.

      Hugs, Marina and Odie

  12. I love this! I am about to start my adventures with my dog Bones in a couple of months. We are flying together from Australia to the uk where my family live and then let the fun begin! Your posts have gotten me even more excited 🙂

    1. Hi Rutae! I was browsing this blog when I saw your comment - my dog Loki and I are flying from Australia to teh UK (and then will be buying a van and driving through Europe) in a few months, too!! Have an amazing time, maybe we’ll see you on the road some day 😉

  13. Marina, you are a marvel!!! I so loved travelling with my yellow Lab all his 14 years… not full time, just on vacation. We camped, hiked, backpacked, most of those years with a second dog. All rescues. Currently I’ve a Collie and a yellow Lab/border collie who’s all white. They shed like crazy, travels are a challenge. Hope your Doodle is a nonshedder. 🙂
    I am SO impressed by your courage and ingenuity. Your handiwork on your van is superb. I’d never have figured out the anchoring laths or thr LED lights, much less the stove. Much more convenient than my backpacking stove, lantern, plastic bins and cooler. And you even travel with a sewing machine? Awesome!
    I use a bungee cord from coat hook across the van to the other coat hook, behind the front seat, to hang clothes to dry or a sheet for a curtain. Silver accordion solar shades (designed to keep sunlight from heating the vehicle) cover side and back windows, but I love your picture wire idea!!! I might use safety pins through the ceiling lining, rather than drill holes.
    I made a screen for my sunroof, so we can have ventilation without mosquitoes in warm weather. 2 battery operated fans hung from the bungee cord help circulate air in summer heat. Because I’ve TWO canine companions, I bought a 4″ thick memory foam dog bed with 2 covers, and have 3cm closed cell foam beneath that. It nearly fills the back half of the van, but I make them share it with me. There is a well for storage of the center seat (really half seat) which I leave home, and a silicone water bowl snugly held in that well provides water readily available to the dogs even when travelling. A dog food bin with double bowl lid means I’ve always a week of dog food available.
    I see you have what appears to be a blue silicone dish — how do you like using it? I bought cups but found them uncomfortable hot to hold with tea in them. And do you have a cooler for produce? I didn’t see one.
    You might take a look at my reply above to Linda regarding a portable loo, as well.
    I’ll be praying for safe and delightful travels for you and Odie!

    1. Hi Barbara, your setup sounds pretty cool! Would love to see some pictures. I love the silicon dishes, but I don’t use them to eat, but to put Odie’s water and food. I use normal melamine dishes for my food 🙂

  14. wouahhhhhhh c’est magnifique ça c’est le bonheur je vous admire mais c’est vrai que c’est possible, beaucoup de câlins à Odie et plein de soleil pour vous j’adore ce que vous faîtes et on devrait plonger plus souvent dans nos rêves!!!!!!!!!!

  15. hi! i’d like to do the same one day… I plan to do it but a few weeks first, and I was wondering if it was easy to find a place to park and sleep? I know that some countries don’t allow people to sleep in their car… Do you have to hide (especially in some countries)? Thank for the answer 🙂

    1. Hi Nini, in most countries law draws a line between what’s considered camping and what’s not. To simply sleep in your car shouldn’t be considered illegal, I mean if you are too tired to drive you MUST stop and sleep right? If on the other hand, you park somewhere, put the music at high volume and start a fire, you might rightly draw some unwanted attention. So, to avoid having issues, I use my “night parking spot” only to sleep. Not to read, not to cook not to brush my teeth, just to sleep. This way you avoid drawing people’s attention. The easiness of finding a parking does depend in which country and area you are. Some days you might find incredible spots without even searching, somedays you will drive for hours for then giving up and parking on the back of a Tesco. What’s sure is that after a couple of weeks you will develop an eye for the right parking. I will be making a blog post on where to park so stay tuned for that, although it might take me a little to gather the materials 🙂

  16. I just discovered you and : THANK YOU.

    You’ve made all I ever dreamed of !

    You give me the courage to make it happen.

    I just need to make my counts and I think i’ll begin with little trips, so that i continue to work and keep money, then the big big trip, and then i can choose the place where i want to create my educative farm/ school at the farm.

    Maybe we’ll meet one day !

    Cuddles to your trip partner !

  17. What a great moment to find your blog! Thanks for being an inspiration, I am getting a van to convert and leaving in September- have been thinking about getting a dog, but will try van life solo first I think : ) Keep it up, I will be following you!

  18. As much as I love him my dog likes to eat poo, lots of poo, sheep’s, cow, horse, his own… woke one morning to find he’d puked a belly full over me, the sleeping bag, the van, I’m sure there was even some on the windows. I can’t even begin to describe the smell lol. Went through 5 packs of wet wipes and most of the drinking water before resorting to booking a campsite for the night just to use their laundry.

  19. My Beagle is a better travel companion than most people I have been on road trips with. She loves to go and she especially loves those buildings with windows that food, in particular hamburgers, comes out of. I’ve never had a dog that did not love to ride or that ever got car sick. I start them out in a cardboard box sitting in the floorboard in front of the passenger seat when I first get them and take them with me every chance I get.

  20. Laddie is 5 foot long from nose to tail tip and 28 inches high (before his head). He is incontinent due to being abused as a puppy, and wears a diaper inside. We got him when he was 18 months old and he is now 9-1/2 years old. Due to his health issues, we can’t board him or have him stay with anyone. So if my husband and I want to go somewhere together, we pack up the van and trailer. We bought a Ford Transit Connect van and gave him the area where the two rows of back seats were. We pad it with dog beds and he rides like a king. We have a 1962 Compak trailer that is like a 6′ x10′ tin box. The upper half cranks up to just over 6 feet. We have two twin mattresses, a portapotty, a sink, and a two burner stove. We also have an outside canopy to give us more room. We are adding a battery and A/C. It weighs 900 lbs. We usually stay in campgrounds when we travel for the bathroom accessibility. We stay 2-5 days to let Laddie stretch and get land legs, and visit family or explore. Thankfully Laddie loves to travel as he is infatuated with meeting new people, especially kids, dogs, and places. We’ve been all the way up and down the east coast and will be heading west and into Canada next year.

  21. So glad I found your YouTube and this blog. I’ve got a 5 year plan for the first time in my life, thank you so much for the inspiration. Also, give Odie a hug for me 🙂

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