If you are planning on taking a trip with your dog, the first step is always to make sure that you and your pet are prepared for the excursion and that you’ve researched pet friendly hotels and airlines. For those readers who are new to the experience, we’ve detailed some of things you’ll want to consider when first planning your trip in another post. Of course, once all the initial research has been done, you’ll want to focus on step two - actually enjoying your time with your pet!

Travelling with a dog is easier today than ever before. And it’s constantly getting easier as more pet-friendly locales open up all over the country. But aside from the simple fact that you can travel with your dog, there are a lot of reasons why you should.

First, more often than not, taking an extending trip without your pet means that your little friend has to be taken care of by someone else. If you’re lucky, that means having a friend or family member who’s willing to help out. You may have to open your home to them or send your dog to a new home for an extended period of time. A second option, which most people consider less ideal, is boarding your dog. Despite the fact that many dog boarding facilities are nicer now than ever before, it still means taking your pet to a strange place that could stress him/her out. Of course, boarding a dog is not cheap and if you want your pet to be as comfortable as possible, it can be downright expensive for the best of them. You may find that taking your dog with you is actually easier than trying to keep him/her at home without you.

Second, and more importantly, travelling with a dog is a rewarding and enriching experience! Not only do you get to spend more time with you best friend, but you will experience new places in ways you wouldn’t have had a chance to alone. Because you’ll have your dog with you, you’ll meet other animal-friendly strangers you might never have talked to. And because most dogs enjoy open, green spaces, you’ll get to see parts of the city you’re in that you may never have chosen to explore. Finally, in case you didn’t know, dogs need walks! One of the best things about owning a dog is that they keep you active. With your pet in tow on vacation, instead of coming home needing to go on diet from going too hard on the eating, you’ll feel more refreshed, energetic and healthy.

No matter what the breed or personality of your dog, there are so many options of where to take them. Whether your pet is an energetic outdoors type or the kind of dog that prefers to sit quietly on your lap at a café, there are more choices now than ever before. Today, most big cities have a variety of dog-friendly parks, restaurants, beaches, and open spaces. That’s not just true in the United States but in Europe and many other parts of the world too. The modern cities of today are dog havens for travelers. And if you’re planning on traveling off the beaten path, many of America’s beautiful national parks are pet friendly as well.

From Yellowstone, to New York City, to Venice, Italy – travelling with a pet has never been easier or more rewarding. With the right plan and the right research, you will probably find that it’s an experience you will never forget, and can’t wait to recreate.