November 30, 2022
Jacqueline Lambert has written six books about dog-friendly adventures and has also had her travel stories featured in a number of anthologies.
So far, she has travelled to 17 countries with her dogs – “The Fab Four.”
They have visited England, Wales, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Belgium, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina.
With a wealth of knowledge to share, we chatted with Jacqueline about the benefits (and pitfalls) of travelling with dogs internationally.
What are the challenges of travelling with 4 dogs? What are the benefits?
Brexit posed the biggest challenge, because overnight, British/EU pet passports ceased to exist. This made the paperwork required to travel with pets much more costly and onerous. Fortunately, we foresaw this might be a problem and put our pups on French passports. The Fab Four is now Le Quatre Fabuleux and, unlike us, they have retained their freedom of movement throughout Europe and the rest of the world!
I have carried out vet visits in French, Italian, and German. Thankfully, the Romanian and Albanian vets both spoke English.
Obviously, there is a cost involved with travelling with pets. The pups require vaccinations to travel and we pay extra for their passage on ferries or the Channel Tunnel. Some campsites impose hefty dog charges – the worst we’ve come across was €8 (around $12 AUD) per dog per night in Germany, which almost doubled the €40 ($60 AUD) campsite charge. I think that really translates as ‘dogs not welcome’ and we didn’t stay there.
Although Europe is generally very dog friendly – Italy even has supermarket trolleys with built-in dog carriers – many European beaches and national parks ban dogs or insist they are kept on a leash. This came as a shock since in the UK, dogs are permitted to roam free so long as they are kept under control around livestock. It’s difficult to visit some indoor attractions with dogs, but if there’s something we particularly want to see, Mark and I just visit separately. We’re never keen to leave the dogs unattended in our camper, as they would be at risk of theft, overheating, and we don’t want them to disturb other campers.
We struggled to get high-quality dog food in the more remote parts of Eastern Europe, although throughout Western Europe, all our favourite brands were widely available.
The benefits of travelling with dogs is the joy they bring us every day, and the number of people we meet because of them. We have made lifelong friends all over Europe because of the pooches. For example, we visited a lady in Poland who we met in Italy because her daughter came to see The Pawsome Foursome every evening. In fact, she was the lady who told us to go to Hel, which inspired my most recent book.
What advice would you give to people thinking about travelling with their pets?
Travelling with pets is great fun, and I couldn’t bear to be apart from The Fab Four, so we plan our lives and travels around them. I love that they can share our adventures.
However, to travel with pets, you need to do your research and give yourself time to prepare. Here are my top 10 tips:
- Banned Breeds: Some countries do not allow certain dog breeds to enter, or even transit. This usually applies to bulldog-type, attack dogs or fighting breeds, such as a Staffie, Pit Bull, Mastiff, Japanese Tosa, Doberman, or Rottweiler. If Banned Breeds are permitted, there is often legislation such as a requirement for the dog to be muzzled in public or registered at the town hall to consider. Check this with an official website or embassy for the country you wish to enter or transit.
- Entry Requirements: Every country has its own entry requirements to prevent the spread of disease. If you fail to meet the criteria, your dog may be refused entry, placed into quarantine, or in extreme cases, may be destroyed. I have found the Pet Travel.com website very useful, as it lists the entry requirements for 220 countries. Note that you may have to conform with certain requirements to re-enter your home country.
- Can I Travel Straight Away?: No. Some vaccines require several weeks or a month to become effective, and if a rabies antibody blood titer test is required, it must be passed four months prior to travel.
- What Paperwork Do I Need?: A pet passport and/or animal health certificate. Again, check the entry requirements of the country you’re visiting and give yourself time to get the paperwork sorted. Always travel with original documents.
- How Can I Protect My Pet?: Travel abroad may expose your pet to diseases against which s/he has no resistance, so consult your vet to make sure you have the most appropriate vaccinations and parasite treatments. Also be aware of hazards in the countries you intend to visit. The UK is very safe, so it came as a shock to encounter poisonous snakes, killer caterpillars, deadly diseases, vicious strays and shepherd dogs, plus large predators such as wolves, bears, and lynx, which are endemic in Europe!
- What Is The Best Way To Travel With My Pet?: For international travel, pets are generally regarded as cargo, which is why we choose to travel overland with our four, so that they stay with us all the time. Since we travel in an RV, we don’t have to worry about finding pet-friendly accommodation, and their surroundings remain familiar. Some international airlines allow small dogs in the cabin (usually under 10kg). Some ferry companies have pet friendly cabins, but both of these opgions are limited, so book well ahead. Otherwise, your pet will have to stay in kennels or in your vehicle during a ferry crossing. Pets are not always permitted on public transport. Where they are, it is usually a requirement for them to be muzzled. I believe you have published a very useful post on safety tips for travelling with pets, which covers many of these points.
- Get Your Pet Used To Travel: Rather than embarking on a round-the-world tour as your pet’s first experience of travel, get them comfortable with your chosen mode of transport.
- Packing List For Travel With Dogs: I have compiled a printable packing list for travelling with your dogs – find it here.
- Research a Vet At Your Destination: You will thank me for this if you have a sudden emergency!
- Wuff Guide To Travelling With Dogs: For further doggie travel tips, such as dealing with hot or cold weather, check out the Wuff Guide To Travelling With Dogs on my blog.
Are most of the parks in Europe pet friendly? How do you find the ones that are?
Most parks are pet friendly, although as mentioned previously, some do charge extra for pets.
The UK’s Caravan and Motorhome Club and Camping And Caravanning Club official sites mostly accept pets free of charge, and frequently offer facilities such as dog walks or exercise fields.
In Europe, many sites stipulate a maximum of 2 dogs, but we have learned to say, “They are very small and well behaved,” in a variety of languages. We have only been refused on one site, which stated a limit of 1 dog, so we knew we were taking a chance.
Many of the camping apps allow you to search for pet-friendly sites. A favourite of ours is Eurocampings ACSI, which lists around 10,000 inspected sites all over Europe. We also find the Park4Night and Searchforsites apps very useful.
In Australia, retirees who spend time on the road are known as ‘grey nomads’ is there a similar term in Britain/Europe?
I’m not sure there is such a term in Britain or Europe, although grey nomad sums it up rather well!
Where’s next for you and your pets?
We’re currently in the Italian Alps for the winter ski season, before returning to Britain for a few months to catch up with family, friends, and admin.
We haven’t quite decided where to go in 2023. We had planned a trip around Scandinavia and the Baltics (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) but are keen to go back to Romania then on to Bulgaria. Since Brexit (Britain’s exit from the EU) we’re limited to the same 90-day limit as Australians in the whole Schengen visa-free area. With talk of Romania and Bulgaria joining Schengen, we would like to see them while we still have freedom to spend 90 days in each country!
Where can people buy your books?
All my books and anthologies are available on Amazon. Follow this Universal link to find them on your local Amazon store.
If anyone has any questions about my nomad lifestyle, doggie travel in Europe, wants to follow our travels, or to find out when I release new books, please don’t hesitate to contact me via any of the means listed below. I will always do my best to help!
- Follow my blog: WorldWideWalkies.com
- Like me on Facebook:
- Follow me on Amazon: to/JLambert
- Follow me on Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/18672478.Jacqueline_Lambert
- Follow me on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jacqueline-lambert
Adventure Caravanning With Dogs series:
Year 1 – Fur Babies in France – From Wage Slaves to Living the Dream: is the true story of how we accidentally bought their first caravan – then decided to give up work, rent out the house, and tour Europe full-time with our four dogs.
Dog on the Rhine – From Rat Race to Road Trip: Now, with a little caravanning experience under our belts, we got more adventurous and crossed Germany, before going on a brief bark around Bohemia and the Balkans (the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Croatia).
Dogs ‘n’ Dracula – A Road Trip Through Romania: Told we would be robbed, scammed, kidnapped by gypsies, eaten by bears, or attacked by wild dogs and wolves if we managed to avoid the floods, riots – and vampires – we Boldly Go Where No Van Has Gone Before. We explore Europe’s largest wilderness, adopt a street dog, and tow a caravan across the Carpathian Mountains on one of the world’s most dangerous roads. This book won the Chill With A Book Premier Readers’ Award, 2022 and was a finalist in the Romania Insider Awards for Best Promotion of Romania Abroad, 2019.
It Never Rains but it Paws – A Road Trip Through Politics And A Pandemic: Five years after giving up work to travel full-time, we race against time to leave the UK before Britain exits the EU. If Brexit happens, our precious pups will lose their pet passports and be unable to travel. But Brexit isn’t our only obstacle. How do we cope when, a few months into our trip, the pandemic leaves us trapped in the epicentre of Europe’s No.1 coronavirus hotspot?
To Hel in a Hound Cart – Journey To The Centre Of Europe: “Go to Hel!” The local wasn’t being rude. She was describing Poland’s best beach and windsurfing destination. Released from coronavirus lockdown, we packed ourselves and the pooches into our hound cart (RV), but are unsure where our wanderlust might take us. Our adventures soon start stacking up. Dodging precipitous cliff-side roads, political unrest, and a global pandemic, will we make it to Hel in a Hound Cart – or is that what will happen to our plans?
Adventure Travel with Dogs Series:
Pups on Piste – A Ski Season in Italy: We spend three months in Monte Rosa, a little-known ski resort tucked under the second-highest peak in Western Europe. It also happens to be in the world’s Top 5 off-piste ski destinations. With parables from on-piste and off, we get lost, stranded – and are told by an instructor, “Don’t miss the turn or you’ll go over a cliff.”