Traveling Without Penny: Why We Sometimes Don’t Take Her With Us

Hi, I’m Savanna! Read my introduction to learn more about me and my spunky Chihuahua mix, Penny.

In my last post, I talked about our family trips and why we take Penny with us as much as possible. To sum it up: it’s good for her to get out of the house and experience new things, it’s fun for us and her, she loves traveling, and it can sometimes save us money as opposed to boarding her. The increase in dog-friendly places has certainly made it easier to travel with dogs.

But as much as we like to travel with Penny, there are some instances in which we don’t take her with us on our trips. It’s definitely sad to have to leave her for a few days, but sometimes it’s just not convenient or practical for her to come along. Plus, we can all benefit from time away from each other.

In this post, I’ll explain why we sometimes don’t take Penny on trips with us, and why taking breaks from our dogs is good for all of us.

Our Reasons for Traveling Without Penny

As I said, Penny loves going places with us, so why would we leave her behind if she loves traveling so much? Here are some things we take into consideration when deciding whether to bring Penny along.

1. Some Activities Just Aren’t Dog Friendly

Despite more and more places being accommodating to dogs, there are still plenty of places that aren’t dog-friendly. When I plan a trip somewhere, I usually already have specific things in mind that I want to do, and that sometimes includes things that aren’t dog-friendly.

While you can find plenty of parks and other outdoor spaces that allow dogs, most museums and other indoor spaces don’t allow dogs, with the exception of service dogs. Many dogs can be messy, unfriendly, or not well-trained, so it’s understandable that places like museums don’t allow them. They want to protect the artifacts and the other visitors.

But even some outdoor activities don’t allow dogs, such as zoos, botanical gardens, etc. This is understandable too, as they want to protect the animals and plants from dogs, and dogs from the animals and plants.

So, if somewhere we’re visiting has a lot of unique experiences that don’t allow dogs, I personally feel that it’s better to have Penny boarded for the trip so that she can still get exercise and socialization. It’s better than her being stuck in a hotel room all day or leaving her in the car by herself (which I refuse to do and is generally not recommended anyway).

Penny is always glad that we're back home.
Penny is always glad that we’re back home.

2. It Can Be Hard to Find Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Sometimes we just can’t find suitable accommodations that allow pets. If we plan a last-minute trip, all the pet-friendly hotels may be already booked, or they cost more than what we can reasonably afford. If this is the case, Penny’s boarding place often does have last-minute availability, so we can board her instead of having to cancel the trip altogether just because we can’t bring Penny along.

It’s also worth noting that some hotels that do allow pets don’t allow you to leave them in the room unattended, even if they’re kept in a crate. So, going back to my first point, if we’re doing activities that don’t allow pets, but we have to have Penny in tow because she can’t be left alone in the hotel room, it’s easiest just to board her.

3. Boarding Is Sometimes Cheaper

One practical reason that Penny travels with us so often is that for short trips, hotel pet fees are cheaper than boarding. But if we’re going on a trip of more than just 2-3 nights, like our week-long road trips through different states, sometimes it’s actually cheaper to board her than pay nightly hotel pet fees in addition to the cost of the room itself.

4. Method of Travel

If we’re traveling in our own vehicle, we take Penny as much as possible. But if we were going to fly (something we haven’t done yet but plan to do one day), we would likely not take Penny with us. There are so many hoops you have to jump through and fees you have to pay when flying with dogs, so it would still be cheaper and easier to just board her. Also, if we were using a rental car instead of our own vehicle, many rental car companies don’t allow dogs in rental cars.

Why Taking Breaks from Our Dog Is Good for All of Us

Even if all of the above reasons for not taking Penny were non-factors, sometimes we still don’t take her with us. Why? Because it’s good to take a break from our pets once in a while.

By taking a break from the responsibilities of dog ownership, you can focus on the trip more and enjoy yourself fully, as well as bond with your family without something else vying for your attention. You also don’t have to worry about whether your dog that you left behind in the hotel room is okay, whether they are barking or being a nuisance to other guests, and you don’t have to seek out exclusively dog-friendly activities.

I believe that it’s also good for dogs to take a break from their humans sometimes. If we decide not to travel with Penny, yes, we have family that would be willing to keep her. But we board her instead because it gives her the opportunity to socialize with other dogs and people that she doesn’t see on a regular basis. This actually benefits us and Penny when we do travel with her, because then she isn’t as nervous around new people or dogs that approach her.

Penny's New Orleans souvenir
Penny’s New Orleans souvenir

We Always Bring Her Back a Souvenir

Even if we don’t bring Penny along with us on our trips, we always make sure to bring her back a souvenir, usually in the form of treats or a new toy. There are so many cute stores that cater to dogs nowadays, and many of them have homemade treats, cookies, and unique toys just for dogs. So that’s what she usually gets! We just want her to know we thought about her on our trip.

It can be hard to go on trips without Penny and not see her every day. I would take her on every trip if I could, but sometimes it’s just not feasible. However, taking a break from our dogs is good for everyone. If nothing else, it serves as a good reminder of how much we love and miss them every time we’re apart. If we don’t take breaks from our dogs sometimes, we’re robbed of getting to see how excited they are when we return to them, because we know they love and miss us too!

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