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 –