Traveling is an activity that I’ve always enjoyed, but I’ve never been over-the-top excited to go out of my way to do it. It can potentially be expensive, exhausting and stressful. However, 2017 was a tough year for me, and recently I decided I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and expand my horizons. I started doing so by traveling with Wynston – just he and I. Through our experiences, I’ve learned that traveling can take on a whole new dynamic if you bring a companion pet. Traveling with a dog has proven to be mentally and emotionally beneficial not only for me but also for those around me. Here’s what I’ve learned from traveling with Wynston.
Traveling With a Pet
Dogs makes people smile, even at 4am…
It was 3:30am. Wynston and I had arrived at the airport even before the Southwest Airlines customer service employees did. I sat on the floor with Wyn, feeding him treats as we both relaxed and took in our surroundings. A groggy person in sweat pants would walk passed us every now and then, looking down at Wynston and smiling. After finally paying Wyn’s pet airfare and making our way through security, I grabbed my morning coffee and a cup of fruit. I made us comfortable at our flight gate, Wynston sitting next to me in his carrier. If passengers spotted him, they’d smile, say hi and maybe throw in a sleepy wave of the hand. At that moment I became extremely mindful – people had been smiling at my boy all morning, despite the fact that it was dark outside, quiet in the airport and really freaking early. Dogs make people smile, even at 4am.
Dogs bring people together.
While waiting in line to get seated on the airplane, three strangers struck up conversation with me about dogs. A sharply dressed business man, a middle aged woman in sweats, and a Millennial man who could have come straight from a rap video. Funny thing about the young Millennial – he mentioned how he totally needed a roller carrier/backpack for his little dog. I definitely didn’t expect that to come from him. Dog lovers come from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life, but it just doesn’t matter. Dogs bring people together, and that’s what makes them so incredible.
Dogs reduce anxiety for you and others.
If Wynston is with me my anxiety levels are automatically reduced. His company is especially helpful in specific situations which cause me stress, such as flying. On our flight back home from Dallas, TX the lady sitting next to me said she was extremely nervous to fly. She then noticed Wynston and we began talking about dogs. We conversed about pets for the entire duration of the flight and upon our descent she said to me, “I completely forgot about being nervous to fly because of your dog. Thank you.” Dogs are proven to lower stress, anxiety and blood pressure levels.
On a side note, I tend to worry about my pets when I travel if they are at home. But if you travel with your dogs, you won’t have to put yourself through that worry! Boarding dogs or leaving them with a trusted friend or family member can put unnecessary stress on all parties involved, especially the pups. Bring them on your travels and worry no more!
Encourage adventure and discovery.
I’m an introvert and I’m not one to leave my comfort zone. However, when I have Wynston by my side I’m much more open to trying new things. In fact, he inspires me to want to explore new places. Knowing that I’m taking my son with me to make memories and take photos adds a fantastic element of fun to the experience. Rather than sitting around or chillin’ in my hotel room, having Wynston with me makes me want to get out and seek adventure.
Who doesn’t love traveling with their best friend? The downside is dogs don’t have opposable thumbs so they can’t pull their own luggage (but doggy backpacks amirite?). When traveling with Wynston, I never feel alone. There’s something magical about having a loving companion by your side. One who won’t cry, complain or argue with you, of course. In the past I didn’t enjoy traveling “alone,” then I discovered how amazing it is to have Wynston with me on my journeys. Now I could literally travel anywhere for an extended period of time and never get lonely.
You get the special treatment.
People love dogs. Yay for us dog moms and dads, right?! For one of our recent trips, I strolled up to the American Airlines ticket counter at the airport so I could pay for Wynston and check us in. The very kind customer service lady not only upgraded my seat, but she put me next to an empty seat so I could have plenty of room for Wynston and I! Then at the TSA security line, I was given the VIP treatment by an agent who allowed us to skip the entire line. So far I’ve also been allowed to be a part of “pre-boarding” on both Southwest and American Airlines because I needed extra time to get Wynston comfortable. All you have to do is ask. I’ve also found that hotels (specifically IHG hotels such as Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites) are extremely accommodating to those with dogs. Just make sure you let the hotel know that you’re bringing a dog beforehand so they can potentially have a ground floor room near an exit ready for you!
If you have a dog with you, no matter what breed, you’re less likely to be the victim of a crime. Of course dangerous people may be more intimidated by certain breed dogs, but overall dogs reduce the risk of assault, robbery, etc.
Now that I’ve traveled to several places with Wynston, I can’t imagine traveling without him. He just makes every trip so much more fun and exciting. Whether it’s a road trip or airline travel, bringing my boy with me is a must.
Do you travel with your pets? What do you like about it?