Traveling with pets

Traveling With Pets

Mike and Jennifer's dog, Bo.

Not too long ago I conducted an informal survey of people on the Roadtreking Facebook page about how many have pets.

The results revealed about two-thirds (roughly 67 percent) do, in fact, travel with pets (usually dogs).

A while back, I did a podcast episode and got advice from a real-life pet detective about keeping your animal from getting lost, and what to do if it happens.

But what about traveling in general with a pet?

The go-to source, in my opinion, is the husband-wife team behind gopetfriendly.com – Rod and Amy Burkert.

One of the reasons I like GoPetFriendly.com so much is because Amy and Rod are full-time RVers themselves, traveling North America in a Class A and documenting thousands of places friendly to pets. Their site is an encyclopedia of travel advice for RVers looking for pet friendly places.

Amy and Rod have traveled over 80,000 miles over the past five years with their two dogs, Buster and Ty. I talked to Amy and am happy to report she offered up lots of great advice for our listeners about traveling with your four-legged friends.

First off, she reports a trend that is going to make many of you happy.

“I think travelling with our pets is becoming easier,” Amy told me. “More places are recognizing that (travelers) are a viable market.”

Specifically, that means more businesses (hotels, restaurants, municipalities, and more) are becoming more pet friendly.

When businesses pull back on their levels of pet-friendliness, there is generally one place to look: in the direction of irresponsible pet owners.

Specifically, she said, owners “who decide it’s not important to pick up after their pets, or decide that the rules – leash laws and stuff like that – don’t apply to their pet.”

“Then there’s an incident and everybody suffers,” she said.

That applies to other places, too, such as beaches, where people who don’t clean up after their pets cause them to be banned. Because public places like beaches aren’t looking to make as much money as possible, Amy said you don’t really see a change in the number of public places that are pet friendly.

Amy says that gopetfriendly.com chronicles information about places that are friendlier than others based on the couple’s own experiences and input from others.

(Check out their website and look for the “add a listing” option.)

“We’ve got over 60,000 locations across the United States and Canada now,” Amy says. “And that covers hotels, campgrounds, beaches, wineries, dog parks, restaurants, pet supply stores, veterinarians, doggy day care – really anything that we could think of that we thought people would need when they’re traveling with their pet.”

Amy said she and Rod have two travel companions in form of a German shepherd and a Shar-pei.

It was finding the German shepherd as a stray – and subsequently discovering the challenges of travelling with a large dog – that they began GoPetFriendly.com.

“He was a big gangly dog that was just a little bit more difficult to travel with,” Amy said. “After our first three-and-a-half week road trip with this dog, my husband and I decided we were going to start this website and bring all this information together so people have an easier time planning a trip where they can find things to do and places to stay.”

Example?

The GoPetFriendly.com website has a road trip planner, where users can enter starting and ending points of trips and see pet-friendly places along the way.

As you can imagine, keeping it going is a full-time job – exactly why Amy quit her job as an accountant to run GoPetFriendly.com (Rod is able to manage his consulting business on the road).

With so many pet owners like us on the road, we’re grateful for their work!