By Charmaine Hammond
I am writing this article while travelling in a Winnebago Motorhome with my husband behind the wheel and our dog Toby enjoying the space to sprawl out. We have discovered that RV travel is a great way to travel with your pets, and even run your business from the road.
This is our first RV experience, travelling 15,000 kilometers across North America in an RV with our dog Toby, and learning lots along the way.
We are fortunate that Toby travels well; however, we have had dogs that were nervous travellers. Here are some lessons about pet-friendly travel that our dogs have helped us learn to make travelling with them as smooth as possible:
- Do your homework
Whether the focus be pleasure or work (or in our case a combination), preparation is key. Research the communities you will be visiting to explore their pet-friendly features, such as dog parks, fenced-in dog runs at tourist centres and pet-friendly activities or attractions. Be sure to research different campsites’ rules for pets so that you’re prepared before you get there. Consider bringing along a pet yard fence for a make-shift yard, or ground stakes for when you’re at the campsite.
- Take breaks to stretch, rest and play
Not all pets travel well. Breaks along the road trip are as important for humans as they are for pets. Breaks keep the driver(s) fresh and alert, and provide everyone (both four- and two-legged) with rest and opportunity to play. Breaks help pets manage their anxiety as well. We have learned to leash our dog before opening the door in the event they bolt (or see something you don’t see, like a squirrel). Keep these routines throughout the trip; consistency helps your pet travel well. If this is your first time travelling by RV, take your dog in the RV for several short drives as a practice run. This will help your pet become comfortable in the RV.
- Hydrate and eat healthy
Packing water and ensuring you eat healthy makes for a smoother travel for pets and their human family members. Ensure you have collapsible water pouches or bottles to bring water on your hikes and outdoor activities so that you and your pets stay hydrated.
- Pack smart
Pets also require some important items. Bring along copies of your pets’ veterinarian records; it’s a good idea to store these digitally in your cell phone in case you are on an adventure and don’t have the file with you.
- Prepare for the worst (and hope for the best)
It’s hard enough when your pet runs away when you’re at home, let alone when you’re travelling! When travelling, attach a tag to your dog’s collar which displays your dog’s name and your cell phone number. If you and your pet become separated and your home phone number is on the tag, it becomes difficult to reunite the family quickly and easily. If your pet is microchipped with a microchip identification number, ensure the records are up to date, especially the contact numbers. Finally, ensure you have an up-to-date photo (front and side view) of your pet on your cell phone, without sunglasses, costumes or funny poses.
The more you plan and prepare, the smoother your trip will be for the entire family…including your pets!
About the author: Charmaine Hammond is an international professional speaker and bestselling author travelling with her husband and dog Toby on their Million Acts of Kindness Tour. Fraserway RV is their RV sponsor for this tour. Learn more at theoriginalteamtoby.com.