Traveling with Your Pet in a Campervan
By Kim Merryman
Did you know that from October to June, you can bring up to two pets on your Escape Campervan rental? For a cleaning fee that probably costs less than a pet sitter, you can enjoy van life without missing your best friend. Here’s a checklist for how to have fun and be safe while traveling with your pet in a campervan.
Preparing to travel with a pet
Reserve the right Escape Campervan model
If you’re traveling with a larger dog, the Big Sur and Newport campers have the most room for your pup to have their own sleeping area. The Big Sur’s back seat remains in place when the human bed is set up, so our 85-pound Golden Retriever slept happily there. The Newport camper has some floor space in the kitchen area where your buddy can stretch out.
If you bring smaller pets, any Escape Campervan model should work. Consider bringing your small pet’s bed along with you to make them feel at home in the front seat.
Update medication and vaccinations
Make sure your pets have up-to-date rabies vaccinations, flea and tick preventative, and heartworm preventative. If your pet isn’t already on preventative medications, check in with the vet to see if any are needed for the areas in which you’re traveling.
Make sure your pet is welcome
Check campground and park websites to make sure pets are welcome. In most U.S. national parks, pets are not allowed on trails, but they are often welcome in campgrounds. If you’re planning to stay in an area where pets cannot join you on an outing, do not leave your pet unattended in any vehicle. It’s dangerous, especially on warmer days. Many state, regional, and city parks, as well as several national monuments do allow dogs on trails and are often less crowded.
If you’re really looking forward to a long hike in a national park, you have a few options:
- Have one of your travel partners stay at camp with your pet.
- Book a day and/or night at a nearby pet sitter on sites like rover.com or dogvacay.com.
- Find a local doggie daycare facility. You might need proof of vaccinations, so bring your vet records and check with the facility first.
Pets are not allowed in Escape Campervans during the months of July, August, and September. If you’re traveling during those months, please book your pet a separate vacation with a sitter.
Pack your pet’s bag
Pack a pet bag or bin and include the following:
- Pet food and food bowl
- Packable water bowl and large water bottle (I love the PupCup—it fits onto the bottom of your bottle!)
- Leash (Consider getting a longer leash for when your pet is hanging out at the campground.)
- Collar and ID tag with your up-to-date contact information
- Pet medications
- Vet’s contact information
- Bags for pet waste
- Blanket or small pet bed
- A toy or comfort item from home
While traveling with your pet in a campervan
Remember that when you’re traveling with your pet in a campervan, if you need to relieve yourself, your pet probably does too. If you are thirsty, they might be too. If you need to stretch your legs or get some exercise, so does your pet.
When hiking with your pets, take more water than you think they’ll need, and make sure you have a portable bowl for your pet. Bring some pet food and treats to make sure they have enough energy.
Follow trail and campground pet rules
Unless you want fines to pay, leash your pets in campgrounds and on trails that require leashes, don’t try to sneak your pet into places that don’t allow them, and respect posted rules and laws. Even if you know your pet is perfect and won’t cause any problems, don’t risk it. Many of these rules exist not only for the safety of you and your pets, but also so that the flora and fauna in the area are not disturbed or harmed.
Oh and always, always, always, pick up and pack out your pet’s waste.
Scan for ticks
Even if your pet is taking preventative medication, ticks may still get on their fur and carried into the campervan. If you’re in an area with ticks, do a quick check before your pet hops into the back seat.
Keep a close eye on your pet
Your pet is probably just as well behaved and loyal as you think, but skunks, mountain lions, coyotes, and rabid raccoons don’t care about that. Out in the wild places your pet doesn’t know by heart, they might get lost, turned around, or distracted. Keep your pet within sight and voice control, or better yet, attached to you with a leash.
Winter, spring, and fall are the best times to try out van life with your pets. Reserve your Escape Campervan now and take the trip of a lifetime with your furry co-pilot.