There’s not that many people who travel with their pets, at least amongst people that I know. And previously I’ve been one of those people. Either leaving our Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, with a family member, a dog-sitter or even at a kennel, for periods between a weekend and 6 months. So, why have my husband and I changed our minds and headed off travelling with our dog, including taking him on the long and expensive journey to Europe?
Our Dog is Part of Our Family
Firstly, just like other pet owners, when I’ve travelled without Schnitzel I’ve missed him a lot. Missing him sitting on my lap, wondering what he would do in certain situations. He was a big part of our life when living in Sydney, from daily visits to the dog park to taking him to dog-friendly beaches (despite his dislike of swimming). He was part of our child-less family.
Most of all my husband and I missed him when we headed off to South East Asia for 6 months. Remembering that sad look Schnitzel gave us when we shut the gate on him to head to the airport. Towards the end we even counted down the days until we would see him again. And he was so excited at our reunion!
The Limits of Pet Minding
There was also a more practical side to taking Schnitzel along with us on our travels. We’d left him with family, and it’s tough on someone minding a dog long term. Day in, day out, they have an extra dog to look after, put up with its quirks. A dog to make alternative plans for when they go on their own holidays.
While home for Christmas, we were making plans for our next travels, with no end date in mind. And not surprisingly Schnitzel’s sitter put a time limit on how much longer they would look after Schnitzel. With no-one else that could mind him long term, if we didn’t take him along with us, we’d be faced with giving him away. And how can you give away someone who’s family?
It’s Much Easier to Travel with a Dog in Europe
Previously my husband and I had rarely travelled with our dog in Australia. Australia just isn’t a suitable country to travel with pets. No pets in airplane cabins, banned on most trains, not allowed inside the national parks, which contain so many of Australia’s fabulous sights. And rarely allowed in accommodation.
In Spain, it’s been so much easier, and other parts of Europe are even more dog-friendly. We’ve taken him on the train (although in a container on the Spanish trains), pet-friendly hotels and Airbnbs have been easy to find, no-one gives us dirty looks if he barks sitting outside at a cafe. And meanwhile he’s been getting lots of walks, especially on our wanders around historical city streets, and lots of attention from the locals.
Plus Our Dog Reminds Us to Travel Slowly
Finally, as my husband and I are travelling long term and have projects (such as this blog) to work on along the way, we’re trying to travel slowly. As people who have previously crammed a lot into holidays, it’s sometimes harder than you’d think. But travelling with Schnitzel helps us with it.
It’s easier on him if we spend longer in each place, allowing him to settle down instead of constantly shifting his “home”. It’s also harder to make spur-of-the-moment travel plans when we’re travelling with him, such as jumping on cheap flights. Plus, it’s also a lot nicer to just hang out in our Airbnb when we’ve got his company to enjoy. (Especially when he wants to sit on my lap on cold winter days!)
What are your thoughts? Have you ever travelled with a pet or are you considering travelling with a pet?