Top tips for planning a dog friendly holiday

Going away with your four legged friend can be one of the most rewarding holidays ever, but finding the right location, accommodation, and then planning what to do can seem daunting.

I must admit, that when we first got Murphy I was surprised at the amount of limitations having a dog can have to holidaying in the U.K. but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Before you set about finding somewhere to stay my first tip would be to think about what you and your dog will want from the holiday. Is your dog a big walker? Do you want to be near the beach and the sea? How far do you want to travel? Once you’ve got a list in your head of criteria then you can start the search.

I normally like to go on a beach holiday. We live in the East Midlands so only really get chance to go on the beach when we’re on holiday, and Murphy loves paddling. When I’m looking for somewhere to holiday I tend to search for the best dog beaches and base my location around them. Not all beaches are dog friendly and have some restrictions (particularly in the summer months) so it is worth checking.

Have a few locations in mind, and then begin searching for the perfect accommodation. Things to bear in mind are making sure there is an enclosed garden (unless you don’t mind taking your dog out for a wee on a lead), and that the location is safe and suitable for your dog. If your dog doesn’t like or can’t manage big stairs for instance then this is something to bear in mind.

I was initially surprised at how many properties don’t allow dogs, but there is still a vast array available. And cottages don’t have to be the only answer- try B&Bs, pubs etc. Most Travelodges are also dog friendly, and a great cheap option.

Once you’ve found the perfect place to stay, double and triple check the local dog restrictions. I know I’ve said this before, but there really is nothing worse than finding the perfect location and paying to be near the beach, only to find that you can’t use the beach while you are there.

When this is all done, begin to plan. I know some people like to “see where the wind takes them” when on holiday, and that’s fine, but having a bit of background knowledge is incredibly useful, particularly when you have a dog.

I normally start by buying a map of the location I am going to so I can see all the local footpaths and walks. Then I’ll start searching on the internet for local walks, dog friendly cafes, car parks etc. This might sound a bit anal, but it is so useful to have the postcode of a car park before you set off for a walk. Even if you don’t do that activity while you are there, at least you will have the option.

I like to make a note on my phone with all the things I like the look of, including costs, postcodes and opening times, so that I know where I am going if I decide to go. It is also much easier to find out in advance whether somewhere is dog friendly so that you are not turned away on the day.

Before you go, I find making a list of things you need to take really useful. Your dog can’t pack for himself, so making sure you have everything is imperative. Of course, knowing where you can buy things when you get there if you forget is also helpful.

Do you have any top tips you have when it comes to booking a dog friendly holiday?

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