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Car Travel / Travel with Pets / USA

10 Things I Learned RVing Across the Country with a Dog

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Susan Rigby impressed us when she spent 3 months finding the pet-friendly side of Italy, but her new adventures with Chihuahua mix  Seymour raise the bar even higher.  Imagine one woman, one RV, an energetic canine companion, and a nation to cross. Keep reading for the 10 things Susan and Seymour learned along the way.

When I drove across country with my dog Seymour the first time, I realized it was time to start RVing. On the first trip, it was difficult to find places to stay that allowed dogs, and when they did, they either charged more or gave us the oldest rooms they had.

Being a single woman of not unlimited means, I found ways to travel inexpensively with Seymour. When we got back home I bought a small, used camper van, and our love of RVing began. We took numerous short trips in it, but finally ventured across county. Now that we were able to save money on the lodging, it gave us extra for tours and special treats.

1. Bring the Important Items You Need for Your Dog

Sure, you can purchase most things along the way, but why spend the money when you don’t need to? I brought a few of his toys because they took up little space. Other necessities included food, treats, bowls, sweaters, a rain coat, his crate and the doggie purse carrier. It sounds like a lot but it all fit in one small shopping bag. Seymour was set for days on the road without having to spend money on him.

I also prepared for contingencies: I brought Seymour’s health records, in case we needed an emergency vet stop or pet boarding. Luckily we never needed them, although there was one time in a Louisiana state park where Seymour was sniffing around in the high weeds near the swamp when I happened to see the “Beware of alligators” sign and I quickly pulled him closer to the road. I’m not sure there would have been anything left of him to take to the vets if we had come across an alligator! I also brought a large picture of him, just in case he got lost. Again, I didn’t need it but was glad I had it.

2. Look for Inexpensive or Free Places to Stay

I had to purchase gas, so I tried to save money on our overnight stays. Many casinos have camp grounds or allow you to overnight park in their parking lot. A few times when they had camping, I went into the casino to join their club and one of the benefits was a free night in their camp ground.

We also stayed in state parks and Corp of Engineer parks. Both are relatively inexpensive. The best part, I could always park near the restrooms for my convenience.

I have never stayed at a truck stop, but would if I really needed to. Only a few days did we stay in an actual RV park. When we did that, I took advantage of their laundry rooms and free internet. All of the places we stayed allowed pets but all required them to be on leashes. I require Seymour to be on a leash when outside, so that was no problem for us. One of my favorite private RV parks was Cloud 9, which is located near Hot Springs, Arkansas. They even had a walking trail for dogs.