If you are anything like me, the thought of taking a long trip without your four-legged BFF is a devastating one. Sure, there are plenty of friends and family members that would happily watch my dog (a 3.5-year-old Goldendoodle) but I’m determined to include her in my solo woman travel adventures whenever possible.
RV travel with pets is becoming increasingly more popular and manageable. RV and van road trips have become the newest travel trend—thankfully, they’re extremely pet-friendly!
No Fly Zone: RV Travel with Pets Made Easy
One of the best things about travel is how flexible it can be. There is no right or wrong way to go about it—the limit is your imagination. With that said, there are best practices you should follow to help you navigate the road with your furry friends.
Since I’m no stranger to an “on-the-go lifestyle,” I’ve become accustomed to exploring alternative ways to see the world. Prior to getting Addie (my dog), most of my travels involved international destinations.
But after getting Addie, I had a moment of realization. For someone who enjoyed seeing new places, I really hadn’t seen much of my own country. Thanks to the recent boom in camper life, the open road became more friendly than ever—and I decided to take advantage.
Of course, RV travel with pets isn’t the only way to bring them along. It is, however, a safe and fun way to include them.
There are plenty of people who fly with their animals. Airlines have extended their pet policies, but with all the buzz around airlines mishandling pets, I decided that the road was a safer, friendlier, and cheaper option.
Five roads trips later, Addie has visited over 39 states and 3 countries with me. That’s a pretty impressive travel roster for a dog!
Full disclosure: I waited until Addie was fully trained and had all of her shots before taking her on trips to minimize the possibility of accidents and barking fits.
RV Travel with Pets: Sleeping and Overnight Accommodations
If you have an RV camper, you don’t have to worry about finding pet-friendly accommodations.
In fact, RV travel with pets is a great way to avoid pet restrictions on where you can visit. When traveling across the country by car, I encountered many bumps in the road when it came to pet-friendly lodging. Of course, if you have a service dog, this isn’t something you have to be concerned about.
The first couple of road trips Addie and I took across the US had to be a bit more strategic when it came to sleeping arrangements.
Most National Parks offer limited access to dogs. When I wanted to explore Zion, I had to stay in a nearby lodge so that I could leave Addie in the room during two-legged only hikes.
Prior to hitting the road, I made a list of pet-friendly lodging options. I used this as a guide for navigating overnight stops and booking accommodations for the night.
It’s worth mentioning that, depending on the time of year, you might not be able to leave your pet inside an RV. In these instances, I recommend checking out hikes that allow dogs or finding a nearby lodge where you can leave your pet comfortable while you explore.
Assuming your doggie is up-to-date on all their shots and in good health, a local doggie daycare can also be an affordable alternative.
Pet-Friendly Activities: Discovering What Fido Can & Can’t Do
Camping & Hiking
After crossing the US four times with my dog, I decided to map out a Canadian route.
The United States has a lot more restrictions on where dogs can and cannot go. But before I move onto Canada, here is a list of some awesome pet-friendly towns in the US:
- Bend, Oregon
- San Francisco & San Diego, California
- Austin, Texas
- Colorado Springs, Colorado (Denver, CO is also very pet-friendly)
- Tucson, Arizona
These cities offered plenty of accommodations, dining, and trails that were open to dogs.
I was amazed to discover that practically everywhere in Canada was open to pets.
To my knowledge, there are zero restrictions regarding dogs in National and Provincial parks across Canada. I’m pretty sure the park rangers thought I was crazy when I asked if they were sure Addie could come with me on ALL of the trails, repeatedly!
RV or not, I could camp and hike with Addie by my side anywhere I wanted. Game changer. I asked around and created a more robust list of activities she could join me on, including canoeing across Lake Louise!
RV Travel with Pets: Eating Out & Drinking with Dogs
You’d be amazed by how many breweries (in Canada and the US) that are pet-friendly. Truly, there’s nothing like kicking back to some good music and a local beer after a long trail. Cheers to that!
Another advantage of RV travel with pets is the ability to cook in your camper. This solves the problem of worrying about whether or not a place has outdoor seating. But if you prefer to eat out while traveling, look for places with patios—there’s a good chance that they’re pet-friendly.
Beaches & Lakes
Swimming is one of my favorite things to do with my dog.
Thankfully there are beaches all across the country that are open to pets. Some have time restrictions, so make sure to look up the guidelines prior to visiting.
Aside from splashing around in the waves, I found that Addie could come kayaking and canoeing with me as well. On one of many trips to Oregon, I stopped in Bend and brought Addie to a dog water park. I had a blast watching her play with other dogs, while I hung on the beach.
Exploring The Open Road
From pet-friendly hikes to pet-friendly beaches, if you’re willing to do the research, you’ll find that there are a lot of really fun things that you and your dog can do together while traveling.
Have you recently completed some RV travel with pets? We’d love to hear about some of your favorite pet-friendly stops and activities!
All Images Photo Credit: Joanna Rose Flug
A writer, traveler, and outdoor enthusiast looking to inspire travel for all those who love to explore the world. Joanna Flug-entin is a blogger at Off The Beaten Path Travels (OTBP Travels), a place for travelers to come together and share stories, experiences, and secrets from around the world.