Category Archives: Pet Travel

Pet Travel Made Easier with Hosteling International

hostels now pet travel friendly in europe

When I created TBP 0004 “Enjoying a Hostel Environment” I mentioned that one should leave the dog home if planning to stay in a hostel. I didn’t think that any hostels existed that were open to pet travel because the logistic of a dorm room are not conducive to such amenities.

It can get too crowded with just a bunch of humans and their huge luggage, but can you imagine adding three barking chihuahuas and a giant St. Bernard to the mix?

That would be utter insanity!

But apparently hostels in Europe have figured out a work-around for the dog issue.

After I posted that podcast, I received an email from Hosteling International with a link to their blog post about a few of the hostels that DO allow dogs.

I was thrilled to read the article because even though I enjoy solo travel, it can get a bit lonely.

The dog obviously keeps me company, and many of the dog-related places that I visit (like dog parks) offer a great way for humans like me to socialize on the road, but there is nothing like finishing a day of sightseeing in a common room or in the kitchen and sharing my experiences while listening to others who also have advice and could guide my next day of touring.

I hope that the American hostels will follow suit and consider opening their doors to pet travel, too.  I love staying at hostels and have really missed the camaraderie and the social way to learn about the the destination.

 

 

Five Tips for Visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

rock and roll hall of fame bon jovi needs to be a member
I <3 BON JOVI SINCE THE 80’S! They had his motorcycle when I visited a long time a go but he needs to be a member ASAP!

How random is it that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, Ohio?

One would think it would be New York, Los Angeles or even Nashville…

But if you are crossing the country and getting tired of the typical sights of the mid-west (corn fields, Amish markets, sports stadiums, etc), The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is an awesome alternative.

Cleveland was one of my favorite stops when I was regularly driving between Chicago and New York because of the Rock Hall!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located right on the banks of Lake Erie in Downtown Cleveland and is very easy find. They have signs leading to it from miles away on several of the highways, and if you have GPS you will be all set.

rock and roll hall of fame greenscreen

It’s definitely worth the stop, even if you only have time to check out the free part, which is the main level and part of the basement. You can still get plenty of driving in for the rest of the day.

This is how I visited the first time and it was the perfect way to get some fun in the morning before a long, 8 hour drive to my next stop in the Bronx (New York).

Here are my five tips for visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

1. If you are looking to stay in a hotel, I recommend staying in the suburbs, near the airport. You will find better rates there, especially if you use one of those Roomsaver booklets that are in every roadside stop on Rt. 80, and many of the places don’t mind if you have a dog (try Best Western or La Quinta). (And if you have to kennel your dog while at the Hall of Fame, there is a Petsmart with a very good Pet Hotel and day-camp that is only slightly out of the way when you are headed to the museum from the airport area).

Grateful dead special exhibit at the Rock and Roll hall of fame 2012

2. Garage parking for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is $10. It’s better to park in the train station and walk two blocks. You’ll be parking outdoors, but it’s equally convenient. One thing to note… they have signs all over the place that tell people to not leave valuables in the car because there have been break-ins. I have never had a problem, but maybe it’s a good idea to leave the laptop in the hotel safe rather than the car when your going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the day.

3. Leave PLENTY of TIME to see the museum. This museum is HUGE! The first time I visited, it took me two hours to simply go through the free basement and first floor area, which has many awesome relics, like guitars that belonged to some of my favorite rock music legends, and rare candid pictures of artists, as well.
Don't go to the museum on a Cleveland Browns Football Game Day
4. Don’t go on Game Day! One Sunday last fall, I had the whimsy to go to the RRHOF as I was passing through on my way to Indiana. When I arrived, EVERY PARKING LOT WAS FULL and the streets were complete gridlock! The Hall of Fame is right next to FirstEnergy Stadium, the stadium where the Cleveland Browns play football, and the day I went, not only was there a big game, but tailgaters has started to throw back brewskis and bratwurst outside the stadium at the butt-crack of dawn. Needless to say, I did not get into The Hall that day.

5. Become a Member! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is $22 for an adult pass and $33 for a two day adult pass, at the time this blog post was written. If there are two adults in your party and you pay for parking for two days, the price is $86. Better to get a “Duet Rocker” membership, which includes parking for one of the days, and will bring the price down to $85 and allow you to visit for free for a whole year. You get other perks (like discount purchases in the gift shop) and are helping to preserve rock and roll history for future generations.

Membership rock and roll hall of fame

 

Finally, here is a single shot video I made when I first visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It is a (almost) 360 degree shot from in front of the Rock Hall.

It’s Hot, I’m Traveling with a Dog and I Have to Pee

Leslie Lellowww.firewalkproductions.com

Imagine you are driving across Texas and it’s 110 degrees outside the car and you have to pee.

All you have to do is stop at the next service station and take care of business.

Now imagine you have a dog with you.

Not as simple, is it?

As everyone knows, it is very easy for dogs to overheat in cars, even when the temperature outside the car is a lot lower than 110.

So what do you do when you are on a road trip with your dog and you have to pee?

Here are some options

How to Take a Bathroom Break when Traveling With a Dog

Leave the Air Conditioning On While You Go Inside

In a pinch I have left the car on with the air conditioning blasting, and that seemed to work.

Obviously, you can’t be inside a long time because (1) there are laws about keeping your car running idol for too long and (2) despite the wonderful invention of air conditioning, the sun beating down can still make the inside of the car very hot.

Pee Outside

It’s probably easier for you to take a bathroom break outside with Fido if you are a guy, but again, in a pinch, I have done it.

Tie him to something in the shade

This solution isn’t an option with my dog because he hates being alone outside for even a fraction of a minute.

Also, I have heard of thieves snatching designer dogs from owners who leave them outside alone. The thief can make a lot by reselling the dog, but the duress on the owner goes much farther than the cost of the dog.

My dog is a mutt, so I’m not worried about this, but he’s also my best friend, and therefore, always at my side.

I wouldn’t recommend this option.

Bring Another Human

While I’m a big fan of the solo road trip, they can also be fun with other people.

And if you are bringing your dog with you on the road trip, having another human with you can save a lot of hassle, not only on the road, but also at hotels, stores and anywhere else your dog is not allowed in with you.

Best Choice #1: Bring the Dog Inside With You

In many of the rest stops that line America’s highways, it’s likely you will be able to sneak your dog in, especially if the entrance is on the outside of a building. I have done this numerous times, and unless there is a restaurant or food preparation going on nearby, no one should have a problem with you bringing your dog inside (unless your dog is unfriendly or loud), especially if it really is 110 degrees outside.

Even non-dog-owners know that leaving a dog in a car is a no-no and most people you meet on the road will understand why you need to bring your pooch in.

Best Choice #2: Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is not always a choice you have available when the 32 ounce big-gulp suddenly wants to leave your bladder, but that’s the point.

While it’s tough to know everything about the journey, you can research dog-friendly places that will let your dog come with you on a bathroom break, how long the trip will be vs. how long your pup can hold it, what the weather will be like and how much liquid you really need to consume during the trip.

By taking the time to think the journey through before you pull out of the driveway when traveling with a dog, you and your dog will be much more happy and comfortable.

TBP 0014: Western Michigan Offers Respite for City Dwellers

Travel Western Michigan Better
South Haven, Western Michigan

As I gazed at the sunset over Lake Michigan, I marveled at how different the atmosphere was compared to when I stood at the waters from the opposite side, in Chicago. More nature. Cleaner. Peaceful. Quiet. Desolate in early spring.

These are the characteristics I yearned for during my road trips when I was living in Chicago, but the choices were never as obvious as when I lived in other major cities in the United States.

I found a piece of heaven in Western Michigan that soothed the anxiety and pressure I was constantly experiencing in Chicago.

In today’s podcast I will be talking about my weekend trip (well, mid-week trip) to Michigan to get away from Chicago. I felt much better after this excursion and think it is very important for city dwellers to get into the country and “get the city off of them” once in a while.

TBP 0014 is a shortie so it’s good if you want to squeeze a podcast in while you are driving around running errands this is a good one to pick. 🙂

Happy Travels!

PS: I brought my dog on this trip and as long as you can find a hotel that is pet friendly (I stayed in South Haven, but I understand Holland is even more dog friendly), this should be a good choice for your animal companion. He LOVED playing catch on the beach and it was completely empty so we could really spread out!

Links:
South Haven, Michigan
The Beachtowns of Michigan
Douglas, Michigan
Holland, Michigan
Pet Friendly Things To Do in Holland, Michigan

TBP 0010: Better Pet Travel

pet_travel_better

I didn’t even think about pet travel when I got my first dog, but after my first trip through the desert from Flagstaff, Arizona to Venice, California, I realized that traveling with a pet takes more thought than just throwing Fido in the back seat and giving him a potty break half way to your destination.

If you don’t have a pet, some of the things I say in this podcast might relate to traveling with kids.  I don’t have kids, but I’m sure the same amount of preparation goes into baby humans as it does for baby animals.

Some of the topics I cover in the TBP0010 “Better Pet Travel” include: preparation and packing, lodging, visiting friends, driving, flying, restaurants, play and relaxation.

Three important things that I didn’t mention in my pet travel podcast:

1. Some states have seat-belt laws for dogs.  In New Jersey, if you don’t have your dog in a restraining harness when he or she is riding in the car, you could get a ticket. Plus, you always should have your dog restrained anyway because it is dangerous for both of you to not have your pet secured in some way.  I was driving 30 miles per hour with my dog, Buddha, when I first got him and he was not in a restraint.  I had to stop short and he bumped into the dashboard somewhat hard.  He’s had harder hits running into other dogs at dog parks, but it was enough to catch my attention and from that day on he was in a harness that attaches to the seat-belt of my car.

2. Regarding hotel stays with your dog: a lot of places require you to crate your dog if he or she is left alone in the room. Some don’t even allow you to leave the dog or cat alone in the room.  A crate comes in handy when leaving the animal, but is a huge pain in the butt to lug  into the hotel and takes up a lot of room in a vehicle.  I used a crate when my dog was a puppy, but as he got older I knew I could trust him if I stepped out for a short while, like going to the breakfast bar in the hotel.  I never bring a crate with me now, but I can’t recommend that to people with dogs that can be rambunctious indoors.

3. Always clean up after your dog – both inside and out.  If your dog shreds toys like mine does, pick up a majority of the fuzzes before you leave the hotel.  And always pick up your dog droppings – they attract rodents if you do not and nobody likes to walk their dog in the middle of a minefield filled with poopbombs.

Haha… I actually use the term “pet peeve” in this podcast.

Pet Travel Links:

Bring Fido: http://www.bringfido.com/

Trips With Pets: http://www.tripswithpets.com/

Go Pet Friendly: http://www.gopetfriendly.com/

Travel Pets: http://www.travelpets.com/

Luv My Pet for Affordable Pet Vaccinations (which are often required if you decide to board your pet in a kennel rather than take him or her with you): http://www.luvmypet.com/

Happy Travels!

Leslie
www.facebook.com/travelbetterpodcasts

PS: Did you enjoy this podcast and blog post about pet travel or know of someone that would enjoy it? If so, please share it with others! Thanks!