We are dog lovers here at Tumbleweed Travel Co. How could you not be? Dogs are the best companions and outdoor enthusiasts. This is why you might want to think about your pooch when planning a vacation. If you are considering on taking your dog with you on an RV trip, you certainly want to plan ahead. Here are some tips and things to think about before packing up fido for an RV road trip.
Know your Pooch
Traveling is a way of exploring the world, getting out of our comfort zones and pushing us to experience new things. The same goes for dogs. Take some time to think about if your dog would enjoy a camping trip in an RV. This is really only something you will know as an owner. Is your dog comfortable in new surroundings? Are they anxious and nervous when experiencing new sounds, smells, locations? Do they enjoy meeting strangers (both humans and other dogs)? How are they in the car? Do they do well on leash? Will they be able to relax at night with new sounds everywhere? Obviously, you would love your dog to travel with you, but it is always good to turn it around and consider if THEY will enjoy the trip.
RV Rentals and Campgrounds
Full time RVers and those who own their own trailers or rigs don’t have to worry about rentals, which is beneficial if you plan on traveling with your pet. Unfortunately, many large RV rental companies have a strict no pet policy. Before booking a rental, it is important to note the pet policy. Cruise America does allow dogs in their rentals and are a great company to book with if you want to travel with your dog. They have 132 rental locations across the US (and Canada) and happily welcome furry travelers. Most campgrounds allow pets, but not all. It is important that you plan your route to pick campsites that do. It is not uncommon for campsites to charge a small amount extra for pets, and most have policies that your dog will need to be leashed at all times when outside of your camper.
Pack for your Pup
Just as you will put some thought into packing for your vacation, your dogs will need to be planned for, as well. An RV is a new experience for a dog, so make sure to bring some familiar items along for them. A dog bed, toys, food, poop bags, a leash, treats and medications are must haves. Once you move into your RV, set up specific areas for feeding/ water and a bed, so your dogs knows its safe place. It might be a good idea to invest in a spill proof water bowl for the RV floor similar to this one. When driving, we have found that putting your dog bed close to the drivers area helps the dog relax, settle down and feel part of the family.
Pick Your Destinations Wisely
The sad truth is that National Parks are not very dog friendly. Pets are allowed in picnic areas, parking lots, along the paved roads, and in the campgrounds, but must always be leashed. Pets are very rarely permitted on trails or in buildings. This is a huge factor, as the appeal to most National Parks is getting on the trail and seeing the views, rock formations, slot canyons, geysers and wildlife. Not being able to travel on trails, renders much of these spaces off limits if you want to get out with your dog. It’s not a solid option to leave your dog in the RV while you explore, either. Weather and campground restrictions limit this. So, it is with sadness that we recommend you plan your RV vacation limiting time in National Parks. Luckily, there are many locations that are inclusive of traveling with dogs! Wilderness Areas and State Parks are a great alternative to National Parks. Not only are they sometimes less busy, but most have miles of trails to explore and exercise your dog. Some of our favorites are the Black Hills and Custer State Park in South Dakota , public land around Moab, Utah and the mountains and water of Lake Tahoe in California.
Keep your Doggies Cool
We are sure to dog lovers, this doesn’t need to be said, but don’t plan to travel in hot climates where you might have you leave your dog in an RV. Granted, most modern RVs these days do have air conditioner units, but these ONLY work when connected to electric power at a campground. RVs, like cars, can get very hot very quickly, even with windows open. Keeping an RV cool without electric hookups can be a feat. Luckily, traveling in cold weather is easy, as most heaters in RVs are powered by propane and have no limitations as to how they will work. It is best to avoid the desert climates if you are traveling in places where you are limited in areas you are able to bring your dog.
Taking a dog on an RV trip seems daunting, but it can be a really fun way to explore RV life with a furry companion. If you need help planning a trip and want to bring your dog along, contact us!