Traveling the UK and Europe with a dog
*Warning: this is a pup picture heavy post. Hope you enjoy!*
When we first made the decision to move across the pond, we knew we would be taking Lacey with us. She is like a child to us so there was no way we were leaving her behind. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair for her to miss out on all our travels! A very expensive plane ride later and she was living on this great big island with us. Since then she’s been to over 10 cities across 5 countries. We’ve taken her on short road trips to the beach and long ferry rides to continental Europe. She even snagged her very own passport!
She has seen the beaches of England, streets of Aberdeen, gardens of Glasgow, canals in Amsterdam, rivers in Prague and so much more. While traveling with her isn’t always a piece of cake, it has actually been fairly easy. It definitely takes more planning and research to bring her along, but we think it’s worth it. So what goes into a trip with our favorite travel companion?
First, method of transport has to be determined. Well, actually the destination needs to be determined which is partly chosen by how we get there. She is too big to travel under the seat on a plane and the UK is pretty strict about dogs flying into the country, so plane trips were out. Dogs travel free on all trains throughout England and Scotland, making that a great choice for us. Sadly, Eurostar is the only rail company we’ve found so far that doesn’t accept pets making it a non-viable option for getting over to France or Belgium with her in tow. To get to Europe we could have driven on the Chunnel or taken the ferry across to France or Holland. However, we were only renting a car and didn’t know the rules on taking it out of the country so driving wasn’t an option. The ferry was a nice travel option but Lacey had to be kenneled for the full boat ride (over 6 hours) which was a little tough on me. From there she was welcome on all trains across Europe, some with a small fee.
After location and method of transport we had to find pet-friendly lodging. This was much easier in some places than others. Many B&Bs in England gladly accept pets, but often larger hotel chains are less happy to. Some places will charge an additional pet fee, others won’t. We stayed at one hotel where the pet fee included a bed, towel and treats for her – she liked that hotel! We also found good luck with apartment rentals accepting pets for little or no fee. Plus she had more space to explore and we didn’t have to worry about keeping the cleaning staff out.
With lodging booked, the basics of the trip were ready. From there we often researched parks close to where we were staying, metro rules and the general pet friendliness of the area. Many cities allowed pets on public transport, especially in Europe. She rode trams and underground trains in Berlin, Amsterdam and Prague like a local. However, in Glasgow, pets were not allowed on the metro system so we had to take a cab to the hotel. Many of the places we stayed had large parks nearby good for taking walks and bathroom breaks, but a few didn’t – most notably Aberdeen. While there was a great large park about 1/2 a mile from the hotel, there was nothing within a few blocks save a few gardening beds with shrubbery which made those early morning and late night bathroom trips a pain.
We had so much fun exploring with our pup in tow. Its so great to see how pet friendly the UK and Europe is as a whole. People would stop us to ask about her, pet her or just ooh and ahh as she walked past. Many people had never heard of a Shiba Inu but a surprising number had. I’d like to think we were spreading the word of how awesome (though sometimes obnoxious) they are. In a few short days we’ll be putting her back in her dreaded travel kennel and dropping her off at Heathrow for the move back to the states. It’s not the end of her travel days, though. Rest assured, she’ll get to make many a road trip with us back home.