It is a dilemma we hear often, “I want to take my dog on vacation, but am not sure it is a good idea, and if it is, how should I go about it”. While I love travel for pets and humans as a general rule, make sure you understand it is another life to care for, which takes effort, and if extra effort is not what you want to expend on your vacation then do not do it. We will discuss stay home options later. Now, you have meditated, agreed that no one is perfect, and are now striving to have as much fun as possible on your adventure. Travelling by car is a great way to see and smell the country. Checklist the essentials’ food, water, bowls, meds, treats, bones, toys, towels, folding crate, doggy first aid kit and of course training gear; harness, leashes, gentle leader etc.. Depending on your dog’s age and activity level plan “rest stops” that will allow for leg stretching and going potty as well as adventuring a bit. A mentally and physically exercised dog is happier and more responsive. I prefer to plan my stops in advance. Insuring a room is waiting for us and giving me a clear daily destination. Some prefer “seat of their pants” travel, which can be fun, but be ready for full hotels or lack of dog friendly spaces. Personally, I like nice hotels, Loewes and other higher end hotels are completely dog friendly, almost to the point of being doggy obsequious. They do not designate dog rooms, so you don’t get the stinky room by the dumpster. I do request a room with easy outside access and may do a drive around to see exactly where I want to be. Try to maintain feeding/walk/play times and amounts as much as possible, while mixing in acceptable amounts of new adventure. Once at your destination get cozy. Establish your dog’s space, explore the area, and plan day trips that highlight new sights, sounds and smells. As always I am cautious meeting new people and dogs, evaluate the potential new friend before dashing in, and do not be afraid to say “no thanks, we are in training” to anyone you are not sure would be a good influence on your buddy. Make sure your dog has time to recuperate between adventures. If they look fatigued, crate your dog with their favorite safe chew, turn on some Air Supply, crank the air conditioning, dim the lights and go have your own adventure. Have fun.