A few days ago, I read this cute story about a family who took their cats on vacation to the beach. It was timely for me because we’re considering taking pets on vacation with us next summer.
My Experience Traveling with Pets
When I was young and single, I had a cat. Whenever I made the 10-hour drive back to Denver, I used to bring my cat. He was really chill in the car and relaxed at my parents’ house. The main reason I brought him was to save pet sitting money.
Then, within a five-year period, I relocated across the country, twice. I had to fly with my cat in a carrier under my seat. Even though I got him some calming medication from the vet, these flights were not pleasant for my cat at all. He was very stressed and off for days after the flights.
Now that I have a family and two dogs, we occasionally take our dogs with us when we visit family. My in-laws live about six hours away, and our dogs have always been good in the car. Their house has a big fenced-in backyard, and our dogs love the attention from all the other visitors and the playtime with other dogs.
Since we usually visit my in-laws over holidays, bringing the dogs saves us a few hundred dollars. Pet sitting is expensive, and the prices go up over the holidays.
However, if there are more people staying at the house than just us, we suck it up and pay for the pet sitting. One time over Thanksgiving there were 8 dogs staying in the house, and it drove us crazy.
Taking Pets on Vacation Next Summer
Other than family visits, we wouldn’t normally consider taking our dogs on vacation with us. However, my family does travel a lot over the summer, and my kids especially miss our dogs.
While I haven’t finalized our travel plans for next summer, one trip we’re considering is a short visit to Broken Bow, Oklahoma near Beaver’s Bend State Park. We would rent a cabin with a hot tub in the mountains and explore the nearby lake and hiking trails.
It’s only a 2 ½ hour drive from our house, and many of the rental cabins welcome dogs. As I was exploring rental options, I found a few groups of cabins that are entirely pet-friendly. A few, like this one, even advertise fenced-in yards so your dogs have a safe place to run.
Reasons to Leave the Pets Home
My husband and I were talking last night about the reality of taking our dogs to Broken Bow. In theory, it seems like a great idea. Our dogs and our kids would love it.
However, there are some downsides. First, while we would save money on pet sitting, most cabin rentals require an extra deposit for pets. Taking the dogs is still likely cheaper, but not entirely free.
Then of course there is the reality of bathroom breaks during the car ride and at the cabin. The drive is so short that it won’t likely be an issue, but we can’t just stop at a restaurant and leave the dogs in the car.
At home, our dogs go outside to do their business and play at least 10 or more times a day. In a rental cabin, unless we have a fenced-in yard, I would have to leash them up and walk them every time. They would drive me crazy.
Also, I worry about our dogs escaping the cabin and getting lost in the woods. One of my dogs recently got out in our neighborhood, but after a joy-ride run through the neighborhood she just ran back to our house. I’m not sure that would happen in the wilderness.
The bottom line is that bringing the dogs would be two extra living things I would need to take care of. And do I really want to do that on a vacation?
Readers, do you think taking pets on vacation is a good idea? Heck-yeah, or no way?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.