How to travel across America with your pup

My first bus ride in Florida

I adore car rides. It sounds cliche for a pup, but there is something about my ears and jowls blowing in the wind, the sounds of nature, and the smell of pee that gets me every time. Since I have so many new dog friends interested in traveling and I have successfully completed my first cross-country road trip, I decided that a post on how to travel across America with your pup was a necessity for my new blog.

Smiling after a happy day at the park

Step 1: Check your health

Going for a routine vet check-up to make sure you are healthy, vaccinations are up to date, and heartworm/tick medication is ready for the trip is imperative for your pup’s health. Some parts of the country require different vaccinations, so make sure you have the right ones, and always have your pet’s paperwork in the car with you in case of emergency. Since I’m an American bulldog and my breed is banned across multiple cities in the U.S., we always have our paperwork handy so that we don’t get into trouble. I take my flea/tick medication monthly so that we can go on beautiful hikes and camping trips without having to worry about any yucky pests. Not all doggies like traveling, so I would try a short test trip to make sure your dog doesn’t get sick in the car. If she does get nauseated, there are many good products on the market to settle their bellies on the road.

Me and Dad on a canoe

Step 2: Plan your route

Planning your route is probably the most difficult part of a cross-country America road trip. Fortunately, there are many cool tools my mom has used to plot out our route. Google Maps and Roadtrippers are our favorite resources to plan the journey. Roadtrippers uses interactive maps that can help you figure out the best, fastest routes to get to your destinations. You can save your trip on the app and use it throughout the trip. If you are a banned or restricted breed like me, it is crucial to know which cities don’t allow your pup and to avoid them at all costs. We always check out Dogsbite before driving to a new place. After all, I did come from Miami — the only city in Florida where pitbulls and pitbull-like breeds are banned. If you need help planning a dog-friendly road trip, please don’t hesitate to reach out so we can help. Mom and Dad have visited almost all of the states and love to travel. Soon I will be as well-traveled as them!

Me and Monkey

Step 3: Pack for your pup 

Making your pup comfortable on the road is the most essential part of the trip. Bringing their bed and one favorite stuffed animal for cuddling will help ease any difficulties your pup may have with being away from home. When traveling cross-country, you need to pack your dog’s food, water/food bowl, and a first-aid kit with any medications or supplements your pet needs. My necessities are my comfy bed, monkey, a collapsible water bowl, and a portable container with a scoop to hold my food. Check out my Scarlett’s travel gear page to learn more about my necessities on the road.

Me sleeping with Mooseberg at the La Quinta

Step 4: Find dog-friendly hotels and destinations

There are a few helpful resources for finding dog-friendly destinations, and Mom’s favorites are Booking and Bring Fido. When you use, make sure to click the button that only shows pet-friendly hotels before booking your trip. The website doesn’t always inform you about excess pet fees or weight restrictions, so we always cross-check the hotel on BringFido. The cool thing about BringFido is that they tell you the exact weight/breed restrictions and fees at most hotels, plus they recommend some good pet-friendly restaurants in the area where you are staying. So far, our favorite hotels with no breed restrictions and pet fees are La Quinta (for budget-friendly, pet fee-free rooms) and Kimpton hotels (for fancier dog-friendly rooms).

Quick tips for an America road trip with your pup: 

  • Make sure your pup’s vaccinations are current.
  • Bring your pup’s vet paperwork.
  • Don’t forget your flea/tick meds.
  • Use to plan your route.
  • Pack your pup’s favorite toy.
  • Pack your collapsible water/food bowls.
  • Pack your dog food in a portable container with a scoop.
  • Use to book your dog-friendly room.
  • Use to check pet fees and breed or weight restrictions.
  • Take state sign pics at the state welcome centers — it’s safer than stopping on the side of the highway with your dog!
  • Contact us if you need help planning your trip.

I hope you found this post helpful and informative, and I would love to hear any feedback from my pawsome friends.

Pin this, pups:

How to travel across America

Stay tuned for my next blog post where I write about dog-friendly fun in Portland, Oregon.


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46 thoughts on “How to travel across America with your pup

  1. Oh Scarlett! I love your very informative Blog about travel. It makes me wanting a pup to be my own. But at least I can follow you and visit too. This blog today was so informative for all the travel pups and their folks. Today’s blog was a two hands up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love to travel with my pet bird, so thankfully we never have to stop for pee breaks, but it is harder to find trustworthy hotels (that won’t charge extra or clean while our bird is in the room). Great job on doing the extra work to make travel possible with your dog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so cool that you travel with your bird, I don’t think a lot of people have experienced that! I imagine you would have to leave up the “do not disturb” sign so they don’t come in while your bird is alone. I do know that Kimpton hotels are not discriminatory toward any type of animal at their hotels (birds, monkeys, snakes, you name it!). You should look into them for travels with your feathery friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s good to know, thanks! Once we left a do not disturb sign (and a note on our reservation not to clean the room) and the staff removed it and cleaned anyway. This was at a German hotel and ever since then I’ve had a hard time trusting hotels with the safety of our bird. Fortunately, AirBnBs don’t usually clean during your stay, so that’s been good for us!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My humum says I might be going to Australia soon (it’s a long way so I am a bit scared) but she says this post will be useful when they take me on trips there too! Love Sally dachshund 🐶

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww Sally, you are going to have so much fun! Australia is a beautiful place with tons of great trees to pee on. I know you will have a blast and just remember you have your humum with you 🙂 🙂 🙂


  4. What a fabulously informative post, great idea to do this! So many people must want to travel with their pup and you have given them a great tick-list and pointers to think about from the start. Interesting that you carry your paperwork with you so you don’t get into trouble with Scarlett, bless her cottons! (she looks so adorable sleeping with her teddy!) #feetdotravel

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for the tips – especially the recommendations on pet-friendly hotels! Our furballs aren’t quite well-behaved enough to join us on our longer road trips, but they do travel with us occasionally, so it will be nice to stay at a fee-free hotel the next time they’re with us! #feetdotravel

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awesome post, as always! I agree with the car ride! I once saw an old man sticking his head out the window on the train and I thought I’d try it when no-one was looking. The wind in your jowls is a great feeling!! hahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting post for dog lovers, many people in Europe prefer to leave their dogs home while they travel. Btw Scarlett, I love car rides too, I find it so relaxing! Love the pictures, especially the one with the Mooseberg which is absolutely adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a lot of people in America leave their dogs at home while they travel too because it’s easier. We just hate to be away from each other for too long so we found ways to make it work 🙂 thank you for reading!


  8. This is a great post! We haven’t taken our dogs long distances yet, but will keep these tips in mind when we do. We love looking at all the great places we can go on Bring Fido too! Thanks for sharing these tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First, thanks for stopping by my blog. I am so glad to have read this post, as I never even thought about our Lucy not being allowed in certain cities! Or taking her vaccination records. We’ve just had her since January and she has traveled to Illinois and back with my husband. She’s a good traveler, and everyone loves her, so she will undoubtedly be going on more trips, after I check these sites you listed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Amy, thanks for visiting mine as well! We were initially surprised with the strict breed restrictions in certain states too. I’m glad you found this post useful, I look forward to sharing more and reading more from you too! 🙂 Happy travels!

      Liked by 1 person

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