Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car

Ruffin’ it With Our Pups | Tips on Traveling With Dogs

Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car

Angie Rose writes tips for traveling with dogs by car, and in the process, she explores America’s love affair with the pet.

Ahh! Summer vacation…sun, sand, the cool sea breeze, and five wet noses!

Yes, our recent family road trip/vacation included our five adopted dogs. We live in Danville, CA, and traveled south to the Santa Barbara area to a small, old-school beach town called Carpinteria. We took the coast highway, which is a much longer and scenic drive, and stopped in the Big Sur area to camp one night on the way down.

Every time we plan a getaway, the first question is…what about the dogs? This is the first time we have had five dogs. Two of the pups are older, and one was just adopted, so we didn’t feel comfortable leaving them with a dog sitter or at our regular kennel.

Besides, the pups, can’t forget a daughter and her husband and our other daughter and boyfriend were coming, too! So were going to have a full house. We found a perfect Airbnb right near the beach and downtown, and I still can’t believe they let us bring all the dogs!

Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car

What to Pack for Your Dogs

Before I pack for myself, I make sure all the essentials are prepared for the dogs. I’ll include my list below of what I packed for my dogs this trip. Is there anything that you’d bring?

Dog Packing List

-Food & bowls-we feed them The Farmer’s Dog (comes frozen-so we bring a big cooler and transfer to freezer at the house)

-dog harnesses for car and extensions that hook to seat belts

-leashes, collars

-dog sweaters



-dog beds

-pet first aid kit, meds

-leads that hook to our van while camping


-lots of poop bags

Did I mention poop bags? Bring lots of them! Once you have all this set, you’re ready to hit the road with your pups. 

Tips For Driving With Dogs

The dogs know when we are packing for a trip, so as soon as the van door opens, they are ready to go.  Once everyone is buckled in, we are off.  It takes a bit longer with the pups getting to our destination, about every 2 hours is a potty break. Honestly, it’s good practice for humans to stop every 2 hours to stop and stretch, so it worked out nicely.  

Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car

Who cares if you have to stop with the dogs when you are driving down the beautiful California Coast. I love stopping to take in the breathtaking scenery! There are so many iconic spots driving down. Here are some of our favorites!

Our Favorite Pit Stops on Vacation 

So many beautiful spots, but I’ll share a few of them. 

One spot was the Bixby Creek Bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in California due to its interesting architecture. It was so busy by the bridge that we had to park farther away to get a photo.

Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car

Also, checked out an Elephant Seal sanctuary.

Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car

We did camp one night in Big Sur, then headed down to our Airbnb in Carpinteria.

Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car

One big goal of mine for the week was to get a family sunset photo at the beach.  So, I hauled all my camera gear with us on the trip. I told the family this was non-negotiable!

Otherwise, the general schedule was every morning a long walk and dogs played on the beach, my husband cooked a big breakfast for everyone, dogs napped all day, and every evening was another long walk. I could definitely get used to this schedule.

Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car
Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car

The dogs got lots of playtime at the beach, and they would sleep most of the day.  They loved it.

Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car
Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car
Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car
Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car

And, of course, I was photographing the dogs and family whenever I could.  I just love the beach vibe.

Always Take a Family Photo on Vacation 

I did get my family sunset photo at the beach on one of the last days we were there.  It’s far from a perfect photo, and it’s not going to win any awards, but it is an absolutely priceless photo to me. Whenever you’re with your family, I highly recommend taking a photo. Even if it’s not “perfect,” I’m sure it will be a treasured family photo. Maybe you didn’t get one on your trip. Then there’s no better time to schedule your pet photography session with me once you return! Send me a message here to get started.  

Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car
Tips For Traveling With Dogs by Car