We recently got a question on our Facebook page asking how we travel with a dog. They had noticed that most campgrounds post you cannot leave a dog unattended, which limits some of the things they can do in an area. It’s true that having Samantha puts some restrictions on what we can see & do. Many of the indoor attractions are not dog friendly and even some of the outdoor attractions do not allow pets. National Parks are restrictive as to where dogs can go, and restaurants can be touch & go if they allow dogs on their patios.
When we first made the decision to get on the road with Samantha, we decided that we’d make an effort to include her in everything we did. That was a big change for us, normally if we were going somewhere that posed a question we would leave her home. Once on the road we started calling everywhere, and reading websites pretty closely to determine if dogs were welcomed or allowed. This does mean modifying our plans quite a bit when we travel compared to when we are stationary in a house or apartment. Here’s some modifications we make:
We love eating out when we travel. We truly think it’s a requirement to try local venues and dishes and we make it a point to eat out at least a few times a week. What we tend to gravitate towards when traveling with Samantha is road side shacks, food carts, or sit down restaurants that are dog friendly with a patio. If there isn’t a restaurant that caters to dogs, we order take out & find a nearby park to eat our meal. Not only do we get to nosh on some out of reach food this way, but we also get to explore a smaller local park we might have passed by.
While we aren’t museum hounds, we do like walking through galleries and exploring works of art. That gets hard to do with a dog, Samantha is well behaved but not welcome in most museums! We have attended outdoor festivals in the past that are dog friendly, and instead of seeking out indoor art sculptures, we try to explore outdoors ones instead. A perfect example is when we went to Tucson and saw the rattler bridge and visited a historic mission. Or in Memphis when we visited the Ornamental Metal Museum. Perfect chance to walk around, view some culture & take our pup!
We love road trips. Luckily, Samantha also loves road trips & is a perfect traveling companion. It only makes sense that we tend to take on a lot of driving when we travel. This is one of the big reasons we went with a Class A & a toad, versus a 5th wheel or not having any car at all. The sights we have seen picking a point on a map & driving to it has been incredible. If Samantha could talk, she would probably agree! Of course there are plenty of smaller parks and scenic overviews to walk through and sniff to keep Samantha interested.
Walk around Town
We have done random walks in so many cities, I’ve lost count. We pick a spot to park & walk neighborhoods, downtown or historic districts. We especially love seeing a non touristy part of a city. In Houston, we spent some time along the greenbelt & we were treated to great city views along with art sculptures. In Galveston, we spent hours walking the neighborhoods. We enjoyed Fresno this way too. It’s a neat way to see a slice of normal life in areas that maybe aren’t touted as ‘attractions’.
Dog Friendly Attractions
There aren’t too many of these. Of course, if it’s advertised that dogs are welcome that piques our interest. Some obvious examples, are dog and car friendly beaches and walking historic trails. Some things that you might not think of right away are wine tastings(depending on the winery & state) and air museums. We went to Pima and it was fabulous that Samantha was allowed both inside & outside the buildings.
The RV – Leaving Her
We do our best to not leave Samantha alone in the RV. One, it’s not fair to her to stick her in a small place for too long, and it’s also not fair to our neighbors if she becomes upset. Before we leave her, we evaluate the surroundings to determine if it’s going to work out. Kids playing the next site over? Probably not a good idea. Dog outside next door that will ‘taunt’ her? We scrap the plans. Storm coming through? We’ll stay with her. The times that we do decide to leave her, we do the following
- We exercise her well, both normally and especially the day before or of.
- We limit our time away to 2 -3 hours.
- We make sure to leave an overhead fan running to block out most noises, and close all blinds & windows so she doesn’t see anything to bark at. (She will only bark if you are on our site or touching the RV & well, you shouldn’t be on our site or touching the RV – this means you too squirrels!)
- If we have neighbors & they are out, we notify them that we are leaving & offer our number.
- We have our contact information on our door. If she is disturbing anyone we want to know so we can return immediately, and if there is an emergency we want to be notified. We haven’t had an issue yet with someone misusing our information.
We haven’t had a problem with this method so far. We’ve found that the neighbors appreciate the heads up, and we’ve heard no complaints. And, yes, we have even followed up with people to make sure she was quiet. We also only take advantage of this arrangement a few times a month. We are comfortable with knowing that 95% of the time, she’s a really good dog.
This wasn’t on our radar the first 6 months we traveled across country – mostly because after only a month & 1/2 on the road, Samantha had bilateral hip surgery. She’s recovered quite nicely from it, and while we finish our work notice, goes to InBark for doggy daycare. The downside to this for our dog, is she doesn’t self regulate & we don’t want any irreparable damage done. InBark has been excellent as they listen to our concerns and moderate her time with other dogs well. We may utilize daycare facilities on the road to perhaps have time for a long hike, but it will depend on many factors.