Holiday with your dog – going to Spain: Micro’s story

My humans like to travel – and I love to be with them. I don’t mind travelling as long as I can cuddle with my humans.  Ever since I can remember, my humans take me to far away (editor’s note: Spain) for the Summer holidays. I love the beach! No, really I loooove it. If the window is open, I try to jump out and run towards it… – but my humans don’t let me. I’ll still keep trying, though.

Last year, we had a change in programme of how to get there. The two previous years, we drove down the entire way – with a pit/hotel stop in the middle. This time, we were going to try the auto-train as my humans told me. This meant I had to go into the travel box during the night – I don’t like the travel box. I knew it was going to happen when I saw G fighting to get the stabilising rods into it. And then there was a different routine to packing – I know routines! My humans make a detailed list – even with colour coding.

 (Editor’s note: yes, I was organised , there was some colour coding in lists going on. Actually I made 3 lists: 1 for the car (everything we would take: clothes, food, things for the holiday rental e.g. bedding, towels, kitchen wares), 1 for the train (over night packing , + 1 lunch, dinner and breakfast), and 1 for all food to take with us. My parents usually want us to bring them things from here as well, lots of things to keep in mind…)

We left home (for a change) not at the crack of dawn, but at sun rise, and drove down to the place where lots of dogs go and meet on a slightly artificial green (Editor’s note: Channel tunnel terminal at Folkstone). I love it there: lots to sniff and smell! I got to run around for a long time, and my humans got some breakfast. I don’t need that, in fact I wouldn’t even consider eating breakfast if it was right in front of me, not when there are sooo many things to smell!

We arrived at our house after a brief slumber and M’s parents were already there to greet me. I love them! They are funny. I love the place there, I’m allowed so many things, I can take myself out for a morning pee without a lead, totally grown up. I get to go the beach – even though rather early that year, but who cares, it’s THE BEACH! I get lots of tasty new snacks – I am very choosy with all sorts of food, it’s not easy to please me. I get to visit the vet, who is not scary here, and run around his office. I get to make new friends at THE BEACH and run around with them. And I get to spend so much time with my humans – I could get used to that.

Summary editor’s note:

Taking the auto-train is worth the planning ahead  (dog or no dog). It’s surprisingly flexible to suit your needs, and cheaper than driving down (thanks to toll roads), including petrol and mileage on your car (about 800km /497miles less in total). You should book your auto-train tickets early, otherwise you will just break even with tolls and petrol – not counting the mileage. Once you’ve dropped off your car (which you can do the entire day that you’re booked to go) you’re free to do what you want. Explore the city, travel ahead – your choice. Technically, you don’t even have to pick up your car. If you’d rather go directly to your holiday destination, SNCF’s partner EXPEDICAR can get you a driver, who will drive your car there.

In town with dog

We obviously have only been to Paris and Narbonne with the dog. From our narrow range of exploring Paris, we found it more dog friendly in reality than on paper. Lots of ‘must haves’ were waved or disregarded, e.g. no dog was muzzled on any train we saw, while – on paper – it’s imperative. Micro didn’t have to travel in his travel box on the way back and lay stretched out in between us. It  was about 30C in Narbonne when we travelled back, so exploring for all of us was more or less limited to trying to get something to drink and staying in the shade. For restaurants, it’s up to the proprietor to allow dogs or not, but there are lots of tables outside where your dog can be with you. Holidays with dogs are trending – a lot has changed since we first adopted Micro. Some places open up more, some – like our beach in Spain – limit access further, but – at the same time – there are more (louder) voices to defend your choice and let you take your dog with you. Keep an eye out for changes and explore. As always, good dog behaviour (as in no barking/annoying people)  and good human behaviour (as in always clean up after your dog) goes a long way, and it helps if your dog is cute as well.

Night train in France with dog

 The only thing I would not advise is a recliner seat when travelling with a bigger dog – i.e. any dog that can’t comfortably sleep on your lap or under your seat. There is simply not enough space and people (especially kids) walk through the carriage isle all night. All trains going South were booked solid. I doubt there would be space next to you on a recliner carriage, unless you want to make your dog a second person. SNCF doesn’t allow big travel boxes (similar to in cabin air travel), and you will need space for the dog to lie down. Booking a compartment where your dog can stretch out will be a better option. There also is a ‘women travelling alone’ option for booking compartments, which we will try out this year, and report back. But, you see, we liked it so much, we’re taking the train again this year.

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