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Economical Travel With Pets

May 12, 2011 by · 6 Comments 


By Karen Brucoli Anesi

As families plan summer vacations part of those plans often include pets, and their accommodation for the trip, and weighing the costs, benefits and alternatives. If you are reading this blog, chances are good that you are a pet owner. And most pet owners have experience with deciding whether to leave the dog at home with a dog sitter, kennel the dog in a boarding facility or take the pet with them.

Camping with your pet is often (but not always) the most economical choice. While cost should not drive the decision whether your dog travels with you, for many families, the additional cost of pet care can be the vacation deal breaker.

So what are the real costs?

Campground Fees

First of all, the campground may charge a pet fee or impose certain restrictions on breeds and sizes of dogs. The time to find out is before you make your reservation. Make no assumptions and ask questions about pet policies and management expectations.

Visit the Vet

Before traveling with any pet—especially when leaving your home base—a trip to the vet may be in order. Wherever dogs gather, “kennel cough” is a possibility.  A bordetella inoculation is a good idea. Dogs that have not been tested for heartworm may need to be tested and then placed on proper preventative medication. If you are living in the far northern parts of the United States, heartworm may not be a problem. But where mosquitoes are plentiful, heartworm is epidemic. If your dog contracts heartworm, the prolonged care and cost of treatment can be quite expensive. Better to be safe than sorry.Proof of rabies inoculation is required at most campgrounds. If you have not kept good records, costs can be incurred reproducing and assembling records.

A Test Run

Most families who travel with pets would have it no other way. Leaving them would not seem like a vacation. But just as no two dogs are alike, no prescription for canine campground happiness holds true for all dogs. It’s probably a good idea to take your dog on a brief camping trip closer to home to learn how he reacts to kids, other pets, or strange surroundings, before embarking on a cross-country adventure. Some dogs who may not be bothered by thunder and lightning, will be fearful of inclement weather when their home is the family RV. If you have to camp with an unhappy pet, the whole family could end up unhappy.

The bottom line is to treat your pet like a family member. Crating a dog for many hours, leaving him alone in an RV while the family is off sightseeing or stressing the pet in any fashion, means stress for all.  Most campers say dogs add fun and appreciation to camping trips because of their natural love for the outdoors and that the costs are small, compared to the benefits.

About the Author:

Karen Brucoli Anesi, along with her husband, Frank, own Lock 30 Woodlands, Ohio’s only Best Park in America and the highest-rated campground in the tri state area of Ohio, PA and W. VA. She is a member of the Board of Regents and an instructor for The National School of RV Parks and Campground Management. Karen has a home in Durango, Colorado, where she’s a contributor, former columnist and special assignment reporter for the Durango Herald.


6 Responses to “Economical Travel With Pets”
  1. Stephania Andrade says:

    My family and I always travel with out pets unless we know there aren’t any accommodations of it they are not allowed on the property. They absolutely make our trips that much more memorable!

  2. Hi Stephania~

    Thanks for the comment. And you’re right–pets can really make vacations so enjoyable!

  3. Cameron says:

    Thanks for this post! I’d always assumed that traveling with my pets would automatically be expensive. I actually have a trip planed for Seattle with my Dalmatian of three years. I booked the pet friendly hotel with Pet Hotels of America ( and we’re planning on driving thee (4.5 hours). After the hotel we’re planning on finishing the trip by camping in the Washington forests, they’re beautiful and my dog will love it! I completely agree with your advice to treat the pet like a family member. Since I started doing that, travels have been much smoother and I don’t forget valuable things (like dog treats)

  4. I love Dalmatians! Thanks for the recommendation of the Pet Hotels. Hmm…maybe Woodall’s Blog should do a post on the best Pet Hotels in the country?
    Hope you and your Dalmatian have a great trip!

  5. Bob says:

    RE: Travel with Pets
    We have two dogs that we travel with, one of the dogs turns out to be bothered by the A/C, and this has never been a problem at home, just in the 5th wheel, we run the A/C in the lower area and he stays up on our bed and keeps track of the fluffiness of the pillows. The other dog seems to have a problem adjusting to “using the facilities”, she needs to walk for some distance before she is ready, again at home, no problem, we have made time allotments for this process, it also gives us a little bit of exercise. These are just two things we have come across in taking our dogs camping, we take the dogs with us whenever we go unless it is absolutely impossible to do so, but like you have noted there always seems to be a work around. As a side note, NOT ALL DOG ONWERS UNDERSTAND THEIR DOGS, beware, one of our dogs, as a puppy, was attacked by another dog in the rv park at the “dump station” when the owner turned it’s dog loose in the dog run and said “it’s ok he’s friendly” their dog was far from friendly and our bulldog has never been the same.


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  1. [...] Economical Travel With Pets | Woodall's Campgrounds, RV Blog .May 12, 2011 5 Responses to Economical Travel With Pets. Stephania Andrade says: May 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm [...]

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