At first, travelling with your dog may feel a little daunting, but it is so rewarding – and you have more travel options than you might think. To help you and your trusty canine companion get out and about, we are bringing you our three-part guide to travelling together. From transport choices to handy tips, you’ll be on your way in no time.
With the rise of amazing pet-friendly venues around the UK enough to motivate even the least intrepid of travellers, in this edition we’ll be bringing you all you need to know for long-distance adventures around these here isles – pawfect for those long weekends away, whatever your transport preference.
Hit the road
If you’re travelling with your dog over long distances, pups with panache prefer to travel by car. It’s flexible, and you can stop for a leg stretch whenever you want. Just fling fido’s doggy bag in the back, and you’re off! Whilst not the most glamorous of pawstops, motorway service stations often have dog walking areas and water bowls available – remember to stock up with poo bags, water and treats before you hit the road. For tantalising ideas of where to break the journey, check our pet-friendly pages pages, and the RAC’s ‘Walking The Dog – Motorway walks for Driver and Dogs’ is a handy guide for further ideas of where to break your journey. Also, take a look at our guide to travelling essentials to help you pack for fido.
If your woofer doesn’t have his own wheels, several hire car companies will allow dogs in their vehicles by prior authorisation, including Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Europcar. They’ll expect you to return the car in a clean condition, and may charge an extra cleaning fee to remove pet hairs.
Fancy heading out for a spot of ‘training’? This bit’s a doddle – all UK trains allow up to two dogs or cats to travel per passenger, as long as they’re on a lead or in a carrier. Fido won’t be able to join you in the buffet car, though, so pack some snacks for him (and if our experience of railway buffets is anything to go by, fido’s got the best of that deal!).
Travelling with your dog by coach can be trickier, as each company sets its own policy. Some, like National Express, accept only assistance dogs, while others, like Stagecoach and the Oxford Tube will carry pets at the driver’s discretion. If you’re travelling some distance, it could be easier to let the train (or the hire car!) take the strain.
If Rover’s more of the dashing aviator type, he may be able to reach his UK destination by plane. Many airlines carry dogs in the hold in approved containers, but you do need to speak to the airline first as there is a limit on the number of individual animals they can carry on any one trip.
The last mile
Just a hop, skip and a jump to go? Fido may be able to stick out his paw and flag down a pet-friendly taxi. Many taxi companies will carry small pets in carriers, or sitting on their owner’s knees. If fido is a Great Dane, check with the individual company first! Some national companies, such as Addison Lee, have had a policy of accepting animals via pre-booking and at the driver’s discretion for some time now, and for National Pet Month they have launched the ability to book a Pet Friendly Car via their app – perfect for tech savvy paws.
A possible alternative to taxis might be jumping on a bus. Most local buses, including London Buses, welcome well-behaved pooches, as long as they’re on a lead or in a carrier and don’t take up a passenger seat. Some operators may make a small charge. To be on the safe side, you can check with the specific operator first.
For more inspiration, take a look at our guide to getting out and about with your dog – it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Stay tuned! If Fido fancies himself as a bit of an urban hound about town, make sure he keeps one eye open for our guide to London travel, while jet-setting pups will appreciate our guide to international travel – both coming soon.