Our PR & copywriter Vickey shares her experience with pet-friendly travel.
When people see my Insta stories with Roy running on the beach, they often ask: "Wow, do you bring your dog on your trips?" as if it's something out of the ordinary. And to a certain point, it is - I don't see puppers on airplanes too often. But I think that's because many people imagine it to be much more difficult than it is. In this blog, I will talk all about our latest trip to Tulum, Mexico, with our toy poodle - and hopefully inspire you to venture out with your furry BFF!
Why Travel with a Dog?!
OK, let's address the real question before we go any further! My husband and I always try to take Roy on our adventures whenever we get a chance. The reason is simple: everything is just better with a doggo! It's hilarious to see your pup getting zoomies in the sand, swimming in the ocean, stealing a strawberry from your breakfast. It's comforting to have them sleep with you and not worry about how they're doing in a dog hotel or a friend's place back home. It's heartwarming to see your furry friend exploring new things and possibilities: last year in the Dominican Republic, Roy figured out for the first time that he could dig, and he has been digging sand obsessively ever since. It just creates more unforgettable memories and enriches every trip with their canine goofiness. There is no other reason, but that's enough!
Before traveling, you need to check your destination country's requirements for traveling with pets. Some places require only a proof of rabies vaccine, while others might require a few weeks of quarantine for animals. Mexico and the Dominican Republic, where we traveled last year, require a veterinary certificate issued by a licensed vet with vaccine and deworming info. You can get a form here, but there are specific requirements for the paper format, so it's better to print it out beforehand at any place that provides printing services and bring it to your vet for filling out. Some quick Googling leads to websites that say Mexico no longer requires certificates if you're traveling from Canada, but I recommend ignoring that: we were still asked to show it at customs. Also, keep in mind that Mexican authorities require the pet carrier to be empty when you present it: if there are any dog toys, treats, or a favorite blanket inside the carrier, they will have to throw it away. Woof!
The trickiest and most expensive part is flying. Most airlines we have used to travel with Roy charge approximately 100CAD per flight for an animal. Generally, dogs under 20 lbs can travel in the cabin - but some airlines have a higher limit. If your dog is heavier than that (and is not a service animal), it will have to go in cargo. Be sure to check if the airline you're going to use allows pets: most of them do, except for low-costers. Since you can only book a place for your pet by contacting the airline directly, I recommend choosing your flight online and then calling them to confirm available pet spaces and proceed with your booking by phone. Other than that, just check your airline's carrier requirements. If your pup travels in the cabin, the carrier has to fit under the seat in front of you.
🛌 Finding a Dog-Friendly Stay
If you're traveling within Canada, the US, or Europe, it won't be that hard to find a hotel, motel, or hostel that allows pets. However, most of them will charge extra for a pet per day, which might make your trip significantly more expensive. And if you're going to a holiday destination such as Mexico or the Caribbean, it will be tough to find pet-friendly hotels at all (although not impossible). You can search for pet-friendly hotels at BringFido – they also usually provide some useful info about what are the charges and the rules in each hotel.
Me and my husband don’t really wanna deal with all the extra charges and weird rules (some hotels forbid leaving your dog alone in the room, but also forbid dogs in their eating spaces – go figure!). That’s why we always opt for airbnb when travelling with Roy. Just filter out non dog-friendly spaces and choose – there’s usually plenty of options and typically no extra fees apply.
Tip for separation anxiety: If you are planning to leave your dog alone at your room from time to time during your stay, prepare in advance! Pack some of his favourite toys, especially things like kongs or puzzle boards for treats. Leaving something to keep your pup occupied while you are away will greatly reduce his stress in unfamiliar environment.
Ok, let’s get down to specifics! If you are planning a trip to Tulum, you’d be pleased to know that the city is generally pretty dog-friendly. However, there are certain activities you can’t really bring your doggo to, such as swimming at cenotes or visiting Mayan ruins. Since these are a must if you’re in Tulum area (especially cenotes!), these are the day trips you would want to leave your pooch at your airbnb with a bunch of treats for. Oh, and there are also dog-sitters available in Tulum and nearby areas with pretty good reviews!
Other than that, we found taking Roy places with us pretty easy and chill. There are a lot of stray dogs on the streets, but they were never aggressive and would only approach to give our pup a sniff. There were also tons of tourists with their dogs at beach clubs, and Roy found some playmates for his vacation.
TOP 10 DOG-FRIENDLY PLACES IN TULUM
1. Raw Love
This place is pawsitively amazing! With multiple locations in Tulum, you can choose to hang out in the city centre or lounge on the beach. Raw Love is the pawfect place for a day of relaxation and beach fun with your pup. No cover fees, vegan food, and plenty of shade to chill in hammocks. What more could you ask for?
Get ready to chill out in style at TUUCH! This minimalistic and beautiful spot is located in a gated community, making it the pawfect escape from Tulum's party scene. Delicious food and access to saunas and steam rooms for around 50 CAD make it worth the visit.
Calling all wellness enthusiasts! Holistika is the pawfect spot for you and your pup to get your zen on. With private and dorm-type rooms available, you can stay overnight or just spend a whole day here. Hop on a midday yoga class, chill by the pool, and finish off with an amazing dinner at their Tierra restaurant.
4. Honesta Vintage
If you’re up for a lil’ shopping spree, look no further. Honesta Vintage has the most mind-blowing vintage selection I’ve ever seen – not just in Mexico! They also have a unique selection of local Mexican artists and designers. But most importantly – you’re welcome to come with your dog (and the dog that lives in the shop is beyond sweet)
5. Palma Central
Get your dance on with your pup at Palma Central! This outdoor space is the pawfect spot to enjoy a fun night of salsa or bachata while munching on deliciousness from food trucks. It can get pretty crowded – so keep that in mind if you doggo isn’t a fan of sensory overload!
This hidden gem is the pawfect spot for coffee and noodles, Long Time Coffee is a hidden gem owned by a young couple who live on the premises with their two adorable dogs. You'll feel right at home here, and the coffee is simply the best in Tulum!
*It is better to check in with them on Instagram if they are okay with you bringing a dog – since they welcomed a little one in their family, their doggos Spicy and Chopstick have become pretty protective! When we visited with Roy, we just opted for a roof seating to keep the families’ dogs chill.
7. La Guarida
his unique space combines a party venue, a community centre, a restaurant, and even a cinema club! There's something for everyone here, including your furry friend. Enjoy a coffee and hide away in one of the dozen rooms or get a glass of wine and hang out at the bar.
(Can you spot Roy on that pic?😜)
8. Ahau Tulum
This beach club is the pawfect spot for your pup to make some new friends! With daily yoga classes, great cocktails, and artisanal shops, you'll have a blast here. It’s also the place where we’ve met most of fellow dog pawrents, and Roy had a great time playing with friends!
9. Kilem Nails
Yes, you read that right – a nail place that welcomes your pup! Ki'lem offers a range of services, including basic or gel manicures and lash and brow lamination. Plus, your furry friend can join in on the pampering
Last but not least, we have the spacious and budget-friendly Ak'iin Beach Club. With comfy beds and sofas, a nice little pool, and resident DJs playing almost daily, this place is a pawty in paradise. Plus, you can bring your furry friend along for the ride!