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We know that pets are part of the family, and we do not want your travels to be frustrated by this. That is why today we are going to show you some ideas and solutions for those of you who have dogs and do not want to leave them behind. Freedom belongs to everyone, including our furry friends!

[This is a guest article, the result of a collaboration between Staatenlos and Pawbutlers. Its founder, Caroline, was a guest on our German podcast].

If you are a travel lover and a dog owner at the same time, you have probably wondered whether it is possible to take your pet on a trip around the world.

If you Google it, you probably will not find much. Your friends and acquaintances with pets probably do not know how to help you either.

From my own experience, I can tell you that most people will react sceptically to the idea of travelling with a pet, or even advise against it.

The good news is that it is possible to travel around the world with your dog. However, it does require some preparation and flexibility.

My partner and I have been travelling with our little poodle Baloo for some time now. We are currently in Northern Cyprus and in a month’s time, we will be going to Thailand for 3 months.

So, in this article I will show you how you can travel with your dog so that you can both enjoy your adventures around the world.

Can I travel around the world with my dog?

Let us start with the million-dollar question: Can I travel around the world with my dog?

The short answer is yes, but….

In principle, you can travel with a dog, but you must take into account several factors.

Travelling primarily involves variety and constant change. What is great for us humans is not so great for dogs. Most dogs like routine and consistency. They are happiest when they know exactly how the day is going to go.

Naturally, you can establish routines when you travel. However, it will not be the same routine as when you are at home and your furry friend knows exactly when he can go for a walk and where his sleeping place is.

Therefore, travelling is best suited to dogs who are very attached to their human friends or who have a particularly relaxed attitude.

Baloo, for example, is very obsessed with me, and is happiest when we are together. Exactly where we meet does not matter to him as long as he has me by his side.

It should also be noted that dogs can only enter certain countries after quarantine. In addition, large dogs can only fly in the cargo hold.

Both of these are major stress factors and are not suitable for most dogs.

What do you need to travel with a dog?

Now that we know that it is possible to travel the world with a dog, let us take a look at what is needed for such a trip.

As I have already mentioned, you need a lot of time to prepare. In addition, you will have to prioritise your dog’s needs when planning your trip.

Let us look at the individual points in detail.

Pay attention to the animal’s needs

When travelling with animals, it is essential to pay attention to their needs, or rather, the animal’s needs must be put in the foreground.

For example, you should adapt your itinerary according to your dog’s personality.

Your dog does not like the heat very much? Then Scandinavia might be a more suitable destination than Southeast Asia.

Does your dog suffer from anxiety when you are separated? In that case, flying is not a good option for a large dog.

Small dogs can fly in the cabin, which means that they can always stay with their owner. Unfortunately, this is not possible for large dogs (with a few exceptions).

Slow Travel: the best option

It is also important to note that Slow Travel is the best way to travel with your dog.

Often, especially when travelling the world, we decide to move every few days because we want to discover as many places as possible. This is no longer convenient when we travel with our pet because, as I have already mentioned, dogs prefer routine and constancy.

It is much better to stay in the same destination, in the same flat, for at least a couple of weeks. This way, your dog can get used to the new environment and adapt comfortably.

This is what we do now with Baloo. We usually stay in one place for at least a month before continuing our travels. This is good for us because, as digital nomads, we also have to work. This way, you can really settle into a workspace and have enough time to work, without giving up excursions and day trips.

Respecting country entry requirements

Of course, knowing the entry regulations of the different countries you want to visit is essential when planning your trip.

For dogs, it is very different. While most of Europe has the same entry requirements (the dog usually needs to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies), a dog has to be quarantined for at least 10 days before it can enter Australia.

I am sure you can imagine how much fun these measures would be for your dog… Exactly, pure stress. We definitely advise against destinations with similar requirements for pet travel.

I would only agree to a travel quarantine if I emigrated to the country and then had no intention of going out with Baloo for several years.

Otherwise, I only take Baloo to countries where there is no mandatory quarantine. Here are the countries with the most pleasant entry conditions for your dog.

The golden rule: take enough time for planning and preparation.

The bottom line is, as I said, always allow enough time for planning and preparation.

I started planning for Baloo about 3 or 4 months before the trip itself. Normally, I am a spontaneous person and I usually travel without booking any accommodation. I usually ask around once I am in the place until I find somewhere to stay.

This is no longer advisable when travelling with a dog.

Apart from the fact that the route has to be decided in advance because of the relevant entry regulations and the means of transport because of the size and personality of the dog, not all accommodation are pet-friendly.

In fact, there are countries where dogs are not allowed in almost every hotel.

Anyway, do not worry: there are other great accommodation options that are more suitable for travelling with your furry friend, and we will talk about them later.

Vet visits and bureaucratic requirements are also very important in preparing for your trip. Almost all non-European countries require a rabies titre test.

As a rule, the rabies vaccination must first be updated. The titre test can be done after 30 days and the result is received after another 14 days – by the way, the original must always be collected from the vet.

Many countries want to see the title test in advance in order to issue some kind of import permit (this was our case in Northern Cyprus, and it will be pretty much the same for our next trip to Thailand). It may take a few days before you receive this permit.

This means that you will need about 2 months just to complete this procedure. Therefore, I recommend that you prepare your travels at least 3 or 4 months in advance in case you need anything else.

What is the best way to travel with a dog?

Thus, the next question you are probably asking yourself is what is the best way to travel with your dog.

Naturally, this is also part of the planning and should be considered and decided well in advance, depending on the means of transport.

On wheels: road trip by motorhome or camper van

Travelling with your dog by road is often the best option.

This makes it easier to adapt and means that you “only” have to pay attention to the entry regulations of each country. With a campervan, it is especially easy, because you do not even have to bother looking for dog-friendly accommodation.

We used this method in 2021 for about 4 months. We travelled around Europe with the camper and Baloo. We had no problems with entry anywhere. Only in Norway did we have to go to a vet beforehand to have the required deworming treatment administered to Baloo there.

Travelling light: travelling by plane and with a backpack

If you prefer to travel light, I recommend backpacking alone with your small dog so that you can travel in the cabin.

Almost all major European airlines allow dogs and cats up to 8 kg to travel in the cabin, as long as they fit under the seat in front of you.

Calmer dogs do not mind being in the hold, but for most dogs it is extremely stressful.

You will also need to find an airline that will allow you to travel with your dog as hand luggage.

Lastly, an important tip: always call the airline beforehand to ask if you can bring your dog on the flight you want to take.

Most airlines have a limit of 1 pet per cabin (or one pet per economy class and one per business class). I learned this the hard way, because the Turkish Airlines website only said that you had to check your pet in at the airport. After calling to make sure, I was told that the pet seat on this flight was already taken, so I had to postpone the already expensive flight because of the costly rebooking fees.

The best accommodation: Airbnb or House-sitting

As promised at the beginning of this article, here are some tips on accommodation that works great with dogs.

On the one hand, you can rent a flat or a house on Airbnb. On their website, you can filter your search to find only pet-friendly accommodation.

The other fantastic and very affordable option is house-sitting. Through house-sitting, you can stay in a pet owner’s house or flat for free. In return, you take care of their animals during their absence, and look after their house (water the plants, garden the lawn, etc.).

Naturally, in each case you will have to clarify beforehand whether it is a problem to bring your own dog. House-sitting with your dog is often possible and, of course, an excellent opportunity for your dog to meet new friends to play with.

We tried this method with Baloo for a whole summer in Switzerland and he had a great time with all the four-legged friends he made there.

This, in turn, prompted us to launch our own house-sitting platform: Pawbutlers. Today, it allows you to find fantastic destinations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and we are working to expand across Europe.

For destinations outside Europe, there are several platforms, such as Trustedhousitters.

What are the best destinations for travelling with a dog?

So, after all this planning information, you will probably want to know which are the best countries to travel with your dog.

Here you will find a short selection on different continents.

Switzerland, Austria and Scandinavia

When it comes to Europe for pet travel, I am personally a fan of Switzerland, Austria and Scandinavia.

The main reasons for this choice are the temperatures and the scenery. Most dogs tend to overheat too quickly. When it comes to large breeds, 30 degrees and 80% humidity is not even an option.

On the Scandinavian Peninsula in particular, you will be safe from those temperatures without a problem. The average temperature there is around 20 degrees, even in summer. Moreover, there is hardly any humidity.

In Switzerland and Austria, the temperature does not exceed 30 degrees either, and you still have the option of retreating comfortably to the mountains.

All these countries are well equipped with hiking trails and there are no (visible) stray animals either, so that they are, broadly speaking, true dog paradises.

United States and Canada

In North America, both the United States and Canada are ideal for a trip with your dog. In fact, on flights to and from the USA, you have the option of taking a large dog in the cabin as long as it is trained as a therapy dog.

Both countries are good for road travel and have a lot to offer in terms of nature. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in many national parks. Otherwise, your dog will have a great time in these two destinations.

Panama and Mexico

From my own experience, I can assure you that Mexico in particular is an absolute paradise for dogs. I would say that I have never seen so many dogs in one place as in Mexico City. Naturally, this makes people completely infatuated with dogs, so you will find plenty of dog parks, as well as dog-friendly cafes and restaurants.

In the rest of Mexico, however, there are plenty of stray dogs that you will probably want to stay away from.

Like Mexico, Panama is a good destination for travelling with your dog within Central America. In both countries, your dog can enter without quarantine. Panama is also relatively dog-friendly, although you will see far fewer dogs than in Mexico City. On the other hand, there are not as many stray dogs as in Mexico.

Thailand and the Philippines

Finally yet importantly, let us look at the best Asian destinations.

Here, unfortunately, it is not so easy to find countries where dogs can enter without quarantine. For example, Bali (which is an extremely popular destination for digital nomads) is, unfortunately, ruled out because it requires this quarantine for dogs.

The two countries most suitable for travelling with dogs are Thailand and the Philippines. In both countries, dogs can enter without quarantine and, although most hotels are not very dog-friendly, Airbnbs are very cheap. In most of them, dogs are allowed to accompany you.

In addition, in these two countries there are always expats looking for dog sitters for their holiday homes.

However, there is one small drawback: no Asian airline allows dogs in the aircraft cabin. Therefore, I have yet to clarify how we are going to get from Thailand to the Philippines in a few months, because right now I have no idea. Maybe we will have to fly with a European airline via Europe. We will have to see.

More questions about travelling the world with your dog

Now you know the answers to the big questions about “how to travel the world with your dog”.

Here are the answers to a few more questions that may have arisen while reading this article.

Is it possible to travel the world with a dog and a cat?

This article is mainly about travelling around the world with a dog, but is it possible to take a cat with you?

Well, in principle yes. The entry requirements for dogs and cats are often similar or even identical.

With cats, it depends mostly on their character, because most cats are very attached to their usual place of residence. As a rule, they are much less attached to their human friends than they are to their home. This is why cats tend to stay at home, even on holiday.

It should also be borne in mind that some airlines or even countries have restrictions on the number of animals per person.

Hitchhiking with a dog – is it possible?

Hitchhiking is, of course, another of the cheapest ways to travel the world.

When travelling with dogs, it eliminates airline hassles and can make things easier for you.

However, you will probably need more patience and flexibility on the road. Not everyone likes dogs and, depending on the country, many people are even terrified of them. If you have a large, long-haired dog, it is likely that many drivers will not want to take you in their car.

However, if you can find a transport with a tolerant driver, hitchhiking is usually no problem.

Can I take my dog on a round-the-world trip by boat?

In principle, you can also travel by boat with your dog.

However, you should take enough time to prepare for the trip, as not all ships allow dogs on board.

If they are allowed, they often have to sleep in a kennel overnight. That is something I would not be willing to go through, because Baloo suffers from severe separation anxiety.

Fortunately, at least small dogs can usually sleep in the cabin on ferries. However, in the case of long boat trips, you have to make sure well in advance.

Another problem with boat travel is the limited freedom of movement. If you go ashore every few days, this should not be a problem, but being on a ship for weeks at a time is probably not very exciting for most dogs – unless they like swimming.

What should I do if I prefer to travel without my dog?

After all this information you may be thinking: “Phew, this is too complicated for me. I would rather travel without my pet…

But what is the best way to do it?

In my opinion, the best solution is to rely on house-sitting. There are many people who would be happy to look after your house and your dog for several weeks or months, as they can stay in your home for free. In addition, your dog will be perfectly comfortable in familiar surroundings. With Pawbutlers, you can have your dog looked after in your home for 99 Swiss francs (about 100 euros), no matter how long you are away. This saves you a lot of money on kennels and a lot of stress for your dog.

In addition, if you just want to have a four-legged companion on the road, house-sitting is still the answer: look after someone else’s home and enjoy canine companionship and fantastic accommodation for free.

One last point to bear in mind: the dog tax

Just when you thought there was nothing left to tax, some countries come along and surprise you. In some countries, there is a tax on dog ownership.

This very creative tax varies, for example in Germany, between 5 and 186 euros per year, depending on the municipality. Does this seem too little to you? In 2021, Germany collected 400 million euros at the expense of animal lovers.

In the EU, only Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg levy this tax. In the Netherlands, some municipalities levy a special tax on private dog ownership. Of course, this is just a small anecdote, but it is always good to know what you are getting into if you finally decide to become a resident in one of these countries.

Conclusion

As you have seen, it is perfectly possible to travel around the world with your dog.

However, not all dogs will enjoy such a trip.

Therefore, it is essential to work on careful planning. You should also be able to judge whether your dog has the right personality for a long trip. There are dogs who prefer to stay on the couch at home rather than go on adventures with their human friends.

In these cases, do not forget the option of house-sitting so that your dog is well looked after without leaving his comfort zone.

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