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If you've ever thought about taking your dog with you on vacation, you probably already know that flying with a pet can be difficult due to the restrictions imposed by the airlines. When you set off by car with your pet, you will have much more flexibility and freedom for the furriest member of your family, until you reach your final destination.

But it may take a lot of planning so that your best friend is always happy and safe in your car. Here are some tips to plan a perfect vacation with your dog.

Visit to the veterinarian

Before going on vacation with your dog, make sure it is up to date with all vaccinations and treatments. Talk to the veterinarian to find out if there is a risk of diseases or parasites in the area where you intend to travel and take the necessary measures to protect your animal.

The required documents

If you want to travel abroad, you need a passport for your dog, which must include information about vaccines and treatments.

What you need to have in the car for traveling with your dog

There are some important items that you will need to have on hand when you have your dog on board.

  • Food, water, snacks and bowls for the pet, so that your little animal is always happy, fed and hydrated.
  • A pet blanket or bed that smells like home, so that your dog feels comfortable and relaxed throughout the vacation.
  • A favorite toy or a chew toy, to help your friend have fun and not be stressed.
  • Medicines, which can be prescribed by a veterinarian for your dog, if he feels a state of anxiety in the car.
  • Collars and leashes, which you might need for walks or hikes. And if you work on leash training, you may even need more options.
  • Potty bags for when he has physiological needs.
  • Everything else you know your dog would need, because you know him best. Think about what you know he might enjoy when you're on the road for a few hours in the car.

Preparing the car for a long journey with the dog

If you have packed everything on your travel list with your pet, you will have to make sure that your car is also ready for the dog. There are several precautions you must take to keep your animal and car safe throughout the trip.

  • Think of cages, car barriers for dogs or seat belts, which may be necessary in certain areas.
  • Protect your car with seat covers.
  • Keep water close at hand.

Route planning

Plan a route that includes regular stops so your dog can exercise, drink water and relieve himself. Take breaks every few hours to allow the dog to relax and enjoy the journey.

Make a plan for the moments when you get out of the car

You will probably have to get out of the car sometimes to eat or go to the toilet. Make a plan for your dog at times like this, whether it's about having other family members to supervise it, or whether it's about finding dog-friendly locations where you can enter with your pet.
Avoid leaving your dog unattended in the car for long periods of time, especially during the summer. Your dog can be exposed to extreme temperatures, which can seriously affect him.

Practice with short trips before going on vacation

Get your dog used to spending long periods of time in the car, going on various shorter trips, before going on vacation.

Plan stops for hiking and walking

Do your research ahead of time to find dog-friendly places to stop for hikes and walks with your pet. The reviews and photos posted online can help you decide which are the ideal places for you and your beloved dog.

Always look for pet-friendly hotels

If you are wondering where to stay during your vacation, there are several safe and reliable hotel chains that accept pets and that can generally accommodate your dog.
Although the pet policy varies from hotel to hotel, there are many "dog-friendly" hotels that specifically focus on welcoming guests with pets. They may offer additional facilities for dogs, such as landscaped walking areas, dog food and drink, beds and toys.
Popular dog-friendly hotels include:
Kimpton Hotels – A network of boutique hotels that accept dogs at no extra charge and provide pet beds and food and water bowls.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts – These luxury hotels accept pets and offer many amenities for dogs, such as toys, beds and a list of recommended places to walk.
La Quinta Inn & Suites – These hotels accept pets and do not charge additional fees for pets. In addition, it offers facilities for dogs, such as walking areas.
Best Western - The hotels in the chain accept pets and have special rooms for guests with pets, with a dedicated walking area.

Red Roof Inn – Accepts pets at no extra charge and offers rooms with hardwood floors to help prevent pet damage.
It is important to check the hotel's pet policy before making a reservation and make sure you agree with it. It is also important to make sure that you have all the necessary documents and vaccinations for your animal before starting your trip.

Travel insurance

If you have everything ready for your vacation by car with your dog, it's time to take an interest in insurance for the protection of your dog in case of accidents, injuries and much more.
There are insurance companies that offer coverage for pets while traveling. These usually provide coverage for medical expenses, loss or damage caused by pets.
To find insurance for traveling with your dog, you can search online or ask the insurance company you already work with. Check the terms and conditions of the insurance carefully and make sure that it covers all your and the dog's needs.