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Planning a Vacation with your Furry Family Member

This year, Doug and I were not quite sure what we were going to do for vacation this summer.  We talked about flying somewhere, which meant that Victory would be unable to go with us.  She is too big to go with us on a plane in the cabin, and we will not crate her and put her in the belly of a plane — we are not sure who would have more anxiety — Victory or us!  (However, later this month, Victory will have her first ever sleepover with her Grandpa Dick and ‘Uncle Nick,’ while we go and see the Rolling Stones in Columbus with my sister and brother-in-law!)  So, after going back and forth, we decided that a vacation would not be the same without our fur girl, and we just could not imagine not including her.  I know, we are those ‘crazy dog people,’ but we are just fine with that!

So we are headed back to Canada late this summer.  This will be our fourth vacation in Canada, all with our furry family members, Biscuit and Victory.  We are going to be staying in a cottage on the Saint Lawrence River, just outside of Quebec City, Quebec, a French-speaking area.   We will likely stop in Manchester, Vermont, on the way up and we also, of course, have to make a stop in Montreal to eat at the Orange Julep — it has the most amazing orange drink!

Doug takes care of finding and making all the arrangements for our vacations, and I do the list making and most of the packing!

Below are some general tips from Doug on how to plan an international vacation to include your furry family member:

1. Plan Ahead:  Outside of this year, we make our reservations early, usually in December or January, seven to eight months ahead of time, as there are not as many dog-friendly places to rent, so the selection of places to rent is definitely more limited (the same rule also applies to hotels.)  Additionally, typically the rentals during the summer months fill up quickly, which is another reason to plan ahead.  We use Airbnb and VRBO to book our vacations.

2. Be Patient: Sometimes it takes a while to sort through the available dog-friendly options, but we have, fortunately, always found a place that we liked!  (Doug is good about finding the right place for us to stay during our vacation!)

3. Check the Reviews: Before we even consider a place to rent, we read all of the reviews to get a general sense of how others have enjoyed (or not enjoyed) their stay.

4. Contact the Owner:  Once you find a rental(s) you like, it is a good idea to communicate with the owner to get a sense and feel to ensure a smooth stay and to better understand the terms of the rental, i.e., deposit required, currency required, and payment and cancellation terms, etc.

5. Check Google Earth:  It is always a good idea to locate the property on Google Earth to get an idea of the property and its immediate surrounding area.

6. Check the Surrounding Area: It is also a good idea to research the surrounding area online for restaurants, grocery stores, entertainment, etc., in order to get a sense of how far away these amenities are located, as some rentals are located in more remote areas.

7. Check the Requirements: Make sure you have the appropriate paper work completed by your vet in the proper amount of time prior to your vacation.  You can learn more about what each country requires in order for your furry family member to enter particular countries by visiting here.  Also, it is a good idea to check the country’s requirements and restrictions on food (upon entry and upon exiting) to ensure you can either bring your furry family member’s food.

8. Trust your Instincts: Most of all, trust your instincts.  If you have any hesitations, or something feels off after completing the steps above, trust your instincts and only rent a place that feels like a good fit for you and your needs!  Your instincts generally do not lead you astray.

Below are some images from our vacation last year!  We had a great and relaxing time together!

Happy Friday and Happy Mother’s Day!

P.S.  You may also like this post — packing for your furry family member’s vacation!


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One Comment Post a comment
  1. Anonymous #

    It doesn’t sound like you will go wrong wherever you go. Planning is “half the fun” Your thorough planning will eliminate any surprises. I’m sure Victory will have a good time as long as she is with you. (We are supposed to get SNOW ON Sunday!)

    May 8, 2015

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