Two Dogs and a Toddler
A lot of us see travelling as a liberating or an enriching experience. Inspiration for travel is everywhere. There are almost an infinite number of blogs, Instagram accounts and Facebook pages that talk about travelling solo, with your partner or with your pets. But what happens when you have children and pets?! The answer is, it only gets better!
My Husband and I have always loved to travel. We have both done solo holidays, as well as numerous holidays with friends and family.
It was only natural that from the beginning of our journey together, we dreamed of going on some great adventures together! And then came our son to join the party! Since then on, every new adventure involves our two dogs and a toddler!
We have driven over 7000 kilometers over the last 2 years. Our very first trip was over 2000 kilometers, when our son was a wee baby, just under 3 months of age. Although, every family is unique, we can still learn from experiences that others have had. So, let me share with you what works for us, how traveling with dogs and infants/toddlers is different from travelling alone and how we try to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, through every diaper change for our son and every pee break for dogs!
Plan your itinerary
It’s my role as the Navigator to chart out route for the drive. We plan stops roughly every 200 kilometers. We walk the dogs and they get to relieve themselves if they need to. The toddler gets a snack or a drink, so he always has a happy belly. Every parent knows it’s no fun driving around with a hungry and angry child on the back seat! Small snacks also ensure the little belly isn’t too full and prone to throwing out the excess, if you know what I am mean!
Don’t forget the picnic basket!
We can be quite adventurous as adults with food and experiment with new cuisines and local foods when we travel. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about children or pets. So, we prefer to have a little basket with fruits, sandwiches, breads, spreads or jam for us and dry food/treats for the dogs. Also, a good amount of bottled water. All this can be easily replenished when you stop over or reach your destination.
Pet Friendly Accommodations
Whether it’s your hotel at the destination or its the places where you plan to stop over for the night, it’s worth your time to research options for good pet friendly accommodations. There have been times when we have altered our route to ensure we are staying at a hotel/homestay that has good ratings or recommendations. By doing so we have been lucky enough to discover amazing new places that we may have not gone to otherwise and meet people who share our love for the outdoors and pets.
Keep your schedule flexible
With all the possible planning, there may be situations you encounter, which you may have just not anticipated. I remember on one of our journeys, I came down with a very inconvenient bout of cough and cold. We decided to stay an extra day at the homestay, so I could rest and recover and more importantly not pass the germs over to my fellow passengers! Needless to say, its important you carry your own personalized first aid kit that has medication that you or your dogs may need.
Plan on doing activities where everyone can join in.
You may not be able to trek with a toddler, but you can surely do smaller trails. We personally prefer to go to places that have a stream or a lake close by. It was an amazing experience to watch our toddler enjoy his first kayak ride on the lake with our dog who loves the water, swimming alongside for support. The fascination children and dogs have for everything new can be quite infectious!
I am sure you have heard the saying, “It’s about the journey and not the destination”. From our experiences so far, I would say it’s about the journey, just as much as it is about the destination. Especially so, if you are driving! Try and see the drive to your destination, as a part of your holiday. Don’t let the explorer in you be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being a parent of your human or animal child. Go on new adventures, see new places after all, your little explorer’s only source of inspiration, is YOU!