My pup Gus is my baby, best friend, and partner in crime all in one — he and I are a little family now, so when I decided to ditch New York City for a romp around Central America, leaving him behind was simply out of the question. Since endeavoring to take him out of the U.S. and into various places around Nicaragua, I’ve learned a thing or two about traveling with a pup in tow. Below are some tips to make traveling with your dog a bit easier.
As soon as you know what your plans are going to be, start figuring out what you have to do to get your pup there with you. If you’re heading out of the country, the USDA-APHIS office is going to become your best friend — they’re the government body that regulates animal travel in and out of the States. Throughout my entire experience they were wonderfully helpful and ridiculously responsive via email — they always got back to me with top notch information within a day. So don’t be shy, shoot ‘em an email if anything gets confusing.
Train, Train, Train
Whether you’re looking to book a hotel or need to jet somewhere quickly and need a pup sitter, having a well-behaved and well-trained dog makes everything a thousand times easier. If your dog is nice, clean, and well-behaved, you’re much more likely to be welcomed in when you show up at a random hotel or get a yes from a fellow traveler when you need a pup sitter than if you have a wild, tasmanian devil-esque creature fluttering around beside you.
Lots of hotels and Airbnb’s will either say nothing about a pet policy or will say that they aren’t allowed, but that doesn’t always mean you can’t bring your pup. I’ve booked a lot of places and subsequently asked if I can bring my dog along — after explaining that he’s well behaved, clean, etc, etc — and gotten the green light. You’ll seriously limit your options if you only look into places that say they accept pets, and you’ll usually encounter fees with these places too.
Don’t Give Up
Yes, it’s a bit of extra work to get health certificates in order and sometimes it takes extra time to get places with a pup in tow, but it’s so worth it and so doable. In fact, the biggest takeaway I got from the whole process was how much easier it was than I thought it would be. The perception that it’s wildly expensive or near impossible to pull off is just that — a perception. And now that I’m here with Gus, I wouldn’t have it any other way — I feel safer with him by my side as a solo female traveler, he makes it way easier to meet people, and I explore and see sides of places and cities that I never would if I wasn’t taking Gus out for walks or going on adventures to find dog food in obscure locations.
I couldn’t recommend traveling with a pup more. I’ve met a lot of people that are sad because they didn’t bring their dogs and miss them, but I have yet to meet a single person who regretted bringing their pup along for the ride. And why would they? There’s not a single thing in the world that isn’t made better by adding a dog.