The Advantages of a Camper Van When Travelling With Dogs

Are you wondering whether a camper van is for you, and your dogs? Well, let me tell you, my dogs looove road trips! And I am sure yours will, too.

When I started road tripping more than a decade ago in France, I was travelling in a Landrover Defender 90. It was way too small for the three of us to sleep in (that’s me and two dogs), so we had to stop of at hotels for the night.

While my dogs loved exploring new places every day, being in a different room every night scared them a little. I don’t think they got used to it quickly. It rather felt like they just gave up on stress, before finally stopping to worry about it.


Why dogs love camper vans

Both my dogs were very laid back anyway and they did get used to the daily change after a few weeks. However, this is where a campervan is just sooo much better than hotels: The dogs return to their home-on-wheels, their very own safe space, every evening and can just chill. If you have a nervous dog, you will notice the difference.
One of my original travel dogs is still with us. Now an old man who is losing his eyesight, returning to a space he knows like the back of his paw, makes a big different. He can just zoom around the space without having to learn and memorise a new layout.


Why you will love camping with your dogs

So that was the main advantages for your dogs. What are the advantages for you?
Dogs travel with as much clobber as a baby! If you are in a van, you don’t have to unload their luggage every night.

You also don’t have to try and keep them off the hotel bed long enough to throw a blanket over it…which you probably have forgotten at home anyway or it got so filthy last night that you’re better off not using it tonight… Your van is yours. If you get it filthy, you clean it. No extra cost for cleaning or fixing damage your dog did, unless you decide to get it sorted.

Finding nice clean hotels and B&Bs that allow dogs and are in the location you want to be in can be really hard. Unless you book many months in advance. But I suspect you are that type of person. No, me neither. On holiday, I’m not spontaneous. I’m impulsive. I like to be free to decide my destination on the day.

I did end up having to sleep in the Defender a couple of times. The dogs had a much better night than me on account of being able to stretch out. Once my (now) husband joined the pack, the Defender’s days were numbered. There wasn’t even enough room for everyone’s luggage.

Other advantages of travelling in a campervan with dogs

The above is just one reason why we now got a camper van. That, and my years of dropping hints of how practical a camper would be (in whatever situation we were just in).

Just think for example: on a cold day on the beach, we warm ourselves with a cup of tea. If the dogs got wet, we put the heating on. We don’t have to go anywhere and give up the view. We can just be and stand still for a bit.

The other advantage of a camper is no more hunting for dog-friendly cafés or pubs. On our first trip out, we were cheerily told by the server at one tourist attraction’s café, on a cool and windy October day: “you could sit on our terrace” and turn into popsicles, I assume. To which my newly-cured of campervan-opposition husband said: “That’s ok. We’ll have it takeaway and go back to the camper.”


Hiring a dog-friendly campervan in Surrey and Hampshire

If you are still not sure whether a camper van is for you, just rent one. I promise, you will not regret it. Finding campers for hire that allow dogs, however, is even more difficult than finding hotels that allow them, but it is worth the effort of finding one.
We rented a van out of season (because we were too impatient to wait for spring) from Ocean Mist Campers. On top of an excellent introduction to how things work, their  dog-friendly van was so well though through that we took lots of notes of things to get for our own van.
We liked our rental experience so much, that it didn’t take a month before we bought Clementine.

If you are looking for more advice on travelling with your dogs in a camper van, head to my blog about the 10 most important things to think when preparing to take your dogs camping.
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