Antarctic Peninsula, Foyn Harbour © Oceanwide Expeditions

5 Destinations to Visit Without Your Dog

While many places in the world are dog-friendly, unfortunately there’s a few destinations where it’s very difficult or downright impossible to visit them with a dog. Destinations where there’s a long quarantine to enter the country, or there’s even laws about bringing dogs full stop.

But, some of these are still absolutely amazing destinations to visit and hard to resist dreaming of visiting. While you could wait until one day when you no longer have a dog (and before you get a new dog, naturally), you could also make an exception for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I’m sure you could find a willing friend or family member, or have a dog-sitter stay at your home, to experience these amazing destinations to visit without your dog.

1. Australia

Destinations to visit without your dog: Australia
Australia is home to many unique animals, including kangaroos

As Australia is an island nation and free of many diseases (including rabies), it has very tough laws for importing animals. Until not long ago, bringing a dog into Australia meant a quarantine period of months. While luckily it’s now only 10 days (assuming everything has been properly prepared and your dog shows no signs of illness), that’s still a long time if you’re just visiting for a holiday. Not to mention the thousands of dollars involved.

Even if you are visiting for an extended trip, Australia is still unfortunately far from a dog-friendly destination. For starters, there’s over 500 national parks in Australia. These are home to many of its most famous sights. And sadly dogs are completely banned, even in your car. Even in the cities, dogs are usually banned inside of restaurants and are not allowed on some major forms of transport, such as trains in Sydney. Hopefully this is slowly changing, but until then, holiday down under without your dog.

2. Iceland

Destinations to visit without your dog: Iceland
The out-of-this-world scenery of Iceland

While Iceland is part of Europe, which is generally the most dog-friendly part of the world for travellers, again it’s a rabies-free island nation. If you thought that the 10 days quarantine for Australia was long, in Iceland dogs and cats are quarantined for a lengthy 4 weeks! Not only that, pets are only allowed to arrive during a three-day period each month. Doable but tough if you’re permanently moving to the island, but out of the question for a holiday.

I’ve also heard from someone living in Iceland that dogs aren’t allowed to walk down the main street of one of the cities. This may not be true, but in Reykjavik the keeping of dogs was banned for many decades. This was due to a high transmission rate of worms from dogs. While dogs are once again allowed, if you’re heading to Iceland to watch the Northern Lights or swim in the Blue Lagoon, leave your dog behind.

3. Antarctica

Destinations to visit without your dog: Antarctica
A seal in the pristine Antarctic © Oceanwide Expeditions

Think of animals in Antarctica, and other than cute penguins and majestic whales, you’ll probably also picture sled dogs. During historical explorations of this icy continent, sled dogs played an important role. However, these dogs are no longer found on Antarctica. Back in 1993, the Antarctic Treaty banned the use of sled dogs, as there was evidence of canine distemper being spread to the local seals. And as the most pristine environment on Earth, it’s important that Antarctica is kept that way.

It’s that same pristine and unique environment that enchants so many travellers to dream of visiting the white continent one day. And while taking an Antarctic cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime dream, that you should certainly add to your bucket list, it’s one trip where you’ll have to leave your dog behind.

4. Bali

Destinations to visit without your dog: Bali
Dreaming of villa life in Bali?

Think of tropical destinations that are perfect for chilling our for a month or two, and Bali is near the top of the list. But for prospective digital nomads on Bali, this is one place where you won’t be able to bring along your dog. The current law for Bali is that no dogs or cats can be imported or exported out of this Indonesian island. This even applies if you’re coming from a rabies-free country. And there’s no sign of the ban being lifted anytime soon.

Even if the movement of dogs was permitted, I’d urge you to reconsider taking dogs to Bali. There’s a high level of rabies on the island, including amongst the native monkey population. If you’ve previously visited the island, you’ll know how common and annoying the monkeys can be. There’s also unfortunately a large population of stray dogs. Both factors mean it wouldn’t be a safe environment for a treasured pet.

5. New Zealand

Destinations to visit without your dog: New Zealand
The pure mountain scenery of New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand have many similarities, including when it comes to the importation of pets. Just like Australia, dogs face a minimum quarantine period of 10 days when arriving in New Zealand. The one exception? Dogs coming from Australia, naturally! Also keep in mind that similar to Australia, dogs can only be imported from a set list of countries. This list includes most developed countries, but excludes many countries in Asia, Africa and South America. Furthermore, in the New Zealand paperwork, the dog needs to be certified as living in the listed country from which it is being transport for a minimum of 6 months beforehand, so it’s not easy to get around.

If you are able to bypass your dog being quarantined, as you’re visiting from Australia, keep in mind that you’ll face similar difficulties sightseeing in the country. Dogs are also banned from New Zealand national parks and many other conservation areas. This includes Kiwi highlights such as Milford Sound, Mt Cook and the Tongariro Crossing. It’s best to enjoy an odyssey to the land of Lord of the Rings without your dog.

Are any of these destinations on your bucket list? Would you be okay at leaving your dog behind to visit them?

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