Our holiday road trip started this year just with me, S and Lonni. Rest of the family joined us later. It was hot and Lonni tried out every fountain we could find. I wasn’t really sure were people’s looks disapproving or admiring. Lots of people asking, how’s Lonni coping on 3 days trip/8-10 hours driving a day? To be honest, we quite often forget she’s in the car. She sleeps most of the way and just waking up bit confused, if I break to hard 🙂
She has to stay in the car on the crossing from England to France, which takes about an hour and half, but she seems not to be traumatised by that and as soon we get off the ferry, we try to find beach to let her run a round before heading of to Germany. This time the beach we chose, was full of hunters. We decided not to take risk to get shot and drove bit further from Calais, where we found the beach with no sea to see 🙂 Lonni managed to find the bit of muddy water. She was absolutely disgusting and smelly – ready for our stop in Antwerpen.
The first night we stayed near the area, where the iron curtain used to be. We stopped for dinner in Duderstadt, beautiful German town.
We stayed close-by at Herzberg in the lovely apartment .
It was newly decorated, very clean, with small kitchen and very spacious walk in shower.
Lovely place to stay with the dog, beautiful Harz countryside and some lovely walks too. Pity we didn’t have more time to look around. It’s off the route a bit, but we love taking the road trip as part of the holiday and often try to find places, which are more interesting than roadside chain motels.
Second day we drove in Poland. Lovely country, where is so much to discover. We stopped at Wroclaw – the charming university town with beautiful old square, river and lots to see. People are friendly and always happy to help you. It’s so much cheaper than in UK or in Estonia. Real gem worth visiting. There are lots of places to choose, when staying in Poland. This time we stayed roadside motel, which was ok, but the lady who runs it was bit surprised and shake her head, when we showed up almost at midnight with Lonni. I think her son advertises the place as a dog friendly and not telling her 🙂 She told us not to let Lonni in the bed – like we can stop her while we are sleeping 🙂 Other than that it was ok. Lovely breakfast and off we went to our last stretch of the journey.
I usually start to feel home already in Germany, food is similar to Estonia. Poland even more so. Lithuania feels like “Hey, I’m home” – rye bread, potato salad, pork and so on. Even there is still all day driving to do.
Our must stop in Lithuania is Marijampole. Because it’s on the right place, where we need break from the driving, they have lovely park with lots of fountains and streams we can cool down us and Lonni (but also where is good chance to lose all your phones – long story, happens only to my husband!) and there is handy cafe next to the park with the terrace, we can have our lunch and I can get all excited about ordering all familiar foods I have been missing.
Few tips for having road trip to Europe with your dog:
- Check that your dog’s rabies vaccination is up to date. It has to be done 21 days before entering to UK (other countries in Europe don’t seem to care about it). The vaccine is valid for 3 years so no need to do it every year but also no harm (at least didn’t see any side effects to our dog)
- Goes without saying, she needs to be microchipped, but it was only checked entering UK.
- You need the pet passport. Plan it advance as it varies how long it can take. In our case it took 2 weeks from applying. You can do it through your vet.
- Don’t expect your vet knows all rules about travelling with your pet – do your own research. The best resource for the current laws is https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/coming-back-to-the-uk
- Before entering UK, your dog need tapeworm treatment. It’s given as a pill and the vet has to sign the passport. It needs to be given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before returning UK. Find the vet in advance in the country you visiting and book your appointment. If you travelling in different countries do your calculations correctly and don’t miss the time frame for the treatment.
- In our route the only ferry, which doesn’t let pets out the car is between Dover and Calais. When leaving your dog in the car, leave the windows open. I used to leave something to chew for her but I don’t think she ever touched anything. It’s only 1.5 hours so most of them are absolutely fine with it. You can leave bowl with the water.
- If it’s you first time travelling with the pet give her lots of practice. Take a long drives, leave her in the car for some periods, not on the hot days of course! Lonni used to get car sick, when she was younger, but she grow out of it.
- Stop at least every 3 hours and give your dog at least 10 -20 minutes stretching , especially if it’s a big dog as there isn’t much room in the car.
- Take your own food for dog with you. At least for the duration of the travel. We don’t have much time to go supermarkets and we’d like to use all our stops for sightseeing . Also you dogs stomach might get upset with the new food and all the excitement.
- Have a poo bags with you! Lots of them! In every pocket and bag you have! You don’t want to be middle of nice town square next to the big pile of poo and nothing to clear it up.
- Have your dog bed with you for hotels and camping or where ever you staying. It will be something familiar for her in the new places you visiting. (even so Lonni prefers our beds 🙂 )
- Have a bowl for the water in the car and lots of bottles of water for you and for your dog. Offer her drink whenever you stop.
- If you feed your dog with anything like we do, it’s handy to have little plastic box with you, when you have breakfasts or meals in the hotels, so you can take bits of meats, eggs, fruit (yes, Lonni loves melons and banana) and other things for your dog. Also it comes handy if you only find big tins of food in the supermarket and want to use only half of it. If you only use dry food it’s won’t be necessary.