How to Plan a Short Vacation with your Dog

I travel a lot. It’s not always for long. In fact some of my favorite trips are weekend getaways. But I definitely pick up and leave the normal working world often, at least once a month, and most of the time I do it with my dogs.

I still remember planning my first trip with Frankie. I saw photos of people stand up paddle boarding with their dog. And I just had to do it. But I didn’t even know where to start. So to the internet I went. Trying to find somewhere I could rent a board and take Frankie paddling with me. I found a place in San Diego, and from there the idea of going out of town with Frankie was born. But really, the question was how do I travel with a dog? I had never done it before. And I happened to have a human only activity in San Diego that weekend. So the planning started.

For this trip, really any trip, I start with what my budget for the trip is going to be. This is important because it determines where I’m going to stay. Do I need to find dog friendly campsites? A budget hotel? Should I go the Airbnb route? Or am I splurging on a fancy place to stay.

Once my budget is in place I start my research. And I am a research nut. I want to know anything and everything about where I’m going. This means dog friendly restaurants, activities, beaches etc. For this trip I knew I wanted to go paddle boarding and I need a doggie daycare open on a Sunday to watch Frankie while I went to Legoland. I also wanted to take Frankie to an off leash beach before paddle boarding so she would be a little tired before we went out on the water.

Some of my favorite websites to look for dog friendly things to do and places to stay are and (California only). Starting with websites like this. It can lead you to some great ideas of places to go with your pup. Especially places to eat. Which in California can be tough. It is normally too hot to leave your dog in the car for even a short amount of time. So you want to find places that allow dogs. Once you find the places that interest you. Check out their websites to make sure they really are dog friendly. If the website doesn’t list it, I suggest calling them to confirm. I’ve found some of my favorites restaurants this way. Also, be prepared to spend all your time eating outside.

For this trip, Frankie’s first weekend away, we stayed at the Hotel Indigo. We stayed on the weekend and this hotel is a really high end hotel. Especially for a super dog friendly hotel. I picked this hotel because they had a package that included doggie day care, a dog bed, and dog cupcakes on arrival. I was definitely splurging on this trip. There was also a dog friendly bar on the 9th floor. It overlooked Petco Park. So Frankie and I hung out at the bar one night watching baseball on the television as the game was going on across the street. The bar was amazing. The staff and patrons all loved Frankie. There was an artificial grass yard there for the dogs. It was a great experience.

My advice for anyone traveling with your dogs is this.

1. Plan a budget.

2. Research, research, research! Not only do I look at what is dog friendly, I look at all the reviews. Whether it’s a hotel, restaurant or dog park. The reviews are crucial to my decision making process.

3. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I personally love paddling with my dogs. As well as going to bars or pubs with them. Frankie and Storm are instant conversation starters so it challenges me to be more social.

4, Plan out your stops on the road if you are going to need them. Since it’s hot where I live I love Petsmart and Petco for bathroom stops.

5. Bring items from home to keep your dog comfortable. I like to bring chews and my blanket.

6. Have fun!

Hopefully some of my process is helpful in planning your next trip. Soon I will describe how I plan longed trips with the pups as well. If you have questions, I am happy to answer them.