Expert's tips on travelling with your dog in Australia

Make no bones about it – Australia's 20-odd months of rolling lockdowns produced a need among many for unconditional companionship. The result? More of us are now proud parents of new pets, many of them canine.

But now we're beginning to feel the freedom to travel again, how do we balance our new "family" obligations with the call of the road?

Melbourne-based travel writer Paul Chai knew that call would return, so he factored it into his choice of pet.

"We wanted a pet that could join us on our travels rather than one you leave behind," he says. "We have rabbits but they really don't listen to us and would make terrible travel companions."

His family settled on an old English sheepdog they named Orinoco. "We were all set to hit the road and even got Ori on Instagram (@orinoco_goes), then we got locked down again."

So Chai put the further downtime to good use and researched his a book, The Nomad's Guide to Taking Your Dog on the Road in Australia.

It's an essential compendium for roving Rovers, offering tips and advice covering all aspects of journeying with a dog.

Chai says while Australia has a long way to go in relation to dog-friendly hospitality, improvements are happening, which makes good business sense, considering Australia has one of the highest dog ownership rates in the world, with the RSPCA estimating 40 per cent of homes have one.

Chai says key to successful travel with pups is preparation. "When you arrive somewhere you need to know where the dog parks and dog-friendly beaches are and you likely need to book your accommodation in advance as pet-friendly places are harder to find and reduce the options for spontaneity," he says.

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"And check if your trip involves national parks because dogs are a big no-no there, so you might need to change your destination or find some on-the-road dog sitting."

He also notes, the term "pet-friendly" can be fluid.

"Some stays advertise as welcoming pets but do not allow them inside, others have weight limits on dogs, and some places that do not advertise as dog-friendly will allow pets after a chat. Call ahead and make sure you know all the rules."

He recommends short road trips before the long ones to ensure your dog doesn't get car sick. "It happens," he says. "Also, always carry water and, even if you are by the roadside in the back of Bourke, make sure you pick up after your dog."

The Nomad's Guide to Taking Your Dog on the Road in Australia (New Holland, $29.90). See newhollandpublishers.com

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