How to Hack Car Travel with a Pet

Hacks and tips for car travel with dogs or cats. Essentials and products for your next road trip including safety and pet care.

After being car-less for almost a decade, I am so excited to be buying a car to go along with our move to the suburbs in New Jersey. This opens us up to much easier travel – to be able to just jump in the car and go. And this makes it easier for Bruno, too. Car travel is definitely the easiest way to travel with Bruno, and where he’s the most comfortable. He settles in to his bed very easily and can sleep for hours.

Bruno in the back of the car ready for his next road trip!
Bruno in the back of the car ready for his next road trip!

If you’re thinking of taking a road trip with your pet, here are my tips:

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1. Get the right essentials for your pet

We always set up Bruno’s bed in the car

Beyond bringing your dog’s bed and a couple favorite toys, you might want to consider some items that are travel and car friendly:

Sleepypod Pet Carrier

I LOVE this carrier. It’s taken us on many trips whether it’s airport, bus or car. It’s a bit pricey but it’s GREAT quality and has a lot of great features. One of the features is the ability to strap in the carrier with a seatbelt.

Collapsible Dog Bowl

Collapsible Dog Bowls are a life saver and are so easy to travel with. I love this set of 2 so one can be used for dog food and the other water. It’s great to use at rest stops or even in the car.

Dog Water Bottle

Another great option is a dog water bottle. I use this to keep water for Bruno on hand and he can drink out of the cup which fits on the bottom of the bottle. It’s sized like a normal water bottle so it will fit in a cup holder.

Rescue Remedy Pet

My friend Faith travels with her cat and suggested Rescue Remedy. It’s an all-natural relief for anxiety and motion sickness. You can buy it at Amazon or at Whole Foods.

 

2. Research Dog Friendly Restaurants and Parks

Bruno at a dog friendly restaurant
Bruno at a dog friendly restaurant

If you’re taking a long road trip, you’re going to need to take stops. I love the app and website BringFido. It will use your current location to find local pet friendly restaurants, parks and even hotels. That way you don’t need to worry about leaving your dog in a hot car or forced to rely on the drive thru.

 

3. Master Rest Stops

Bruno at a road trip stop at Snoqualmie Falls in Washington state
Bruno at a road trip stop at Snoqualmie Falls in Washington state

If you’re traveling with a passenger, take turns walking the dog around the parking lot while the other uses the bathroom. If you’re traveling solo, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR. You might not think it’s hot out, but temperatures can really rise in a car sitting in the sun.

Instead, you can tie your dog to a picnic bench or bike rack outside the rest stop. Remember, your dog probably needs a break too and this is a great time to give them some water.

To make tying up your dog easier, consider attaching a carabiner to your dog’s leash. It’s sturdier than a makeshift knot and can be connected to the dog’s leash or even collar, depending on how much distance you want to give your dog.

 

4. Research Hotels Ahead of Time

Bruno in his Sleepypod Carrier which attaches to suitcases
Bruno in his Sleepypod Carrier which attaches to suitcases

Not all hotels take pets, so if you need to make an overnight stop, make sure you do your research and book a pet friendly hotel ahead of time. There are many chains that are dog friendly, including Fairfield Inn & Suites, Candlewood Inn, Residence Inn, LaQuinta Inn, Motel6 and all Kimpton hotels.

For more information on pet friendly hotels, check out my guide here.

 

5. Pet Safety

Bruno loves to sleep on the floor of the passenger seat
Bruno loves to sleep on the floor of the passenger seat

I’m sure you always wear your seatbelt, but have you ever thought of your pet’s safety in the car? Pet seatbelts exist and most cars allow you to turn off the passenger airbag if your dog is going to sit in the front seat.

This is also a great time to practice your safest driving habits. That includes no cell phones or speeding.

 

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Hacks and tips for car travel with dogs or cats. Essentials and products for your next road trip including safety and pet care. Hacks and tips for car travel with dogs or cats. Essentials and products for your next road trip including safety and pet care.

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