Planning for International Family Holidays with Dogs

If you have looked forward to the perfect family vacation only to find out your dog is not allowed on the beach, you will undoubtedly want to plan your holidays more thoroughly in future. It is very frustrating when dogs are not allowed or welcomed in certain places but with a little research it is possible to find extremely dog-friendly locations overseas.

There are of course other considerations that are not always in the forefront of our minds, especially when we’re excited about booking our breaks. However, it pays to spend the time ensuring your holiday is trouble free, enjoyable and as dog accessible as possible.


Unlike your usual last-minute vacation, travelling with a dog will require extra time to plan. This is certainly not a holiday you will be able to book the week before!

If you want to thoroughly enjoy a carefree holiday, it can be wise to choose your destination based on its dog-friendliness. By all means, check how accommodating your usual holiday spot is but be prepared for restrictions to vary considerably across countries and locations.

Pet Transport

Until the UK officially leaves the EU, your dog can travel under the pet passport scheme. The relatively short travel distance makes Europe one of the simplest locations for taking dogs on holiday.

Destinations further afield are still possible, but the requirements and preparations differ across countries, meaning it is important to plan well in advance to ensure your dog meets the importation requirements such as vaccinations etc.

If your trip requires air transportation, getting your dog used to the travel create in advance will help reduce stress.


The most challenging aspect of bringing a dog on holiday is not being able to enjoy all of it with them. Therefore, some of the areas you will need to research include, dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, beaches and parks. It is also worth investigating the location of the nearest vet to where you are staying.

If you are not that bothered about going out for meals, you might prefer to book a holiday villa rather than a hotel. This will mean you don’t have to worry if local restaurants will allow dogs.

Dog-friendly beaches can be a challenge to find in the peak season so it may be worth travelling just outside these calendar months. This will hopefully give you and your furry friend greater choice and freedom on your holiday.

Health and Safety

The most important action you will need to take prior to your holiday is to get your pet insured. This will alleviate potential stress if the worst was to occur. Choose a policy which covers as much as possible, for example property damage as well as illness.

Assuming you have opted for a hot climate and depending on your dog’s specific breed, it is vital to keep dogs cool. Just think, if you find the midday sun swelteringly hot, imagine being in it with a thick fur coat on!

If the beach is on your agenda, choose an area with some shelter, bring plenty of fresh drinking water and be aware that hot sand can easily burn your dogs sensitive paw pads.

Moreover, to ensure the beach remains dog-friendly, adhere to any specific beach rules, clean up after your dog and avoid allowing bothersome behaviour.

For considerably colder climates, if you have a breed with a short coat you may like to bring appropriate attire to keep your dog warm and protected from the elements.

Packing for Dogs

You will want to ensure you have everything to keep your dog happy throughout your trip so preparing your packing list in advance can be a good idea.

Here are some essential items you may find useful to bring:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Collar, lead (long and short) and identification tag
  • Cold climates – dog coats, booties, thermals, blankets etc
  • Hot climates – travel water dispenser, cool matt or coat etc
  • Dog bed/basket
  • Favourite toys
  • Tasty treats
  • Dog first aid kit
  • Poo bags
  • Brush
  • Medications
  • Specific food if your dog is fussy or is on a prescription diet
  • Towels