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A Canine Companion’s Guide to European Road Trips: How to Travel Europe by Car with Your Dog

How to Travel Europe by Car with Your Dog

Greetings, travelers and dog lovers! Are you prepared for a memorable European road trip, with your furry companion joining in the adventure? Exploring Europe’s beautiful landscapes and cultural riches with your dog is undeniably exciting. However, it requires a combination of fun planning and practical preparation. Let’s explore how you can ensure a smooth, enjoyable journey for both you and your four-legged friend.

Before deciding to bring your pet to Europe, make sure to understand the additional costs involved and ensure you can accommodate these in your budget. Note that service dogs and emotional support animals are usually exempt from fees and cabin restrictions. If you’re traveling with such a companion, remember to check with your airline and submit the necessary paperwork before your flight.

1. Selecting Your Four-Wheeled Companion:

Choosing a Car: If your European adventure spans several months or more, purchasing a car could be a smart choice. Services like CarTurf (hello, mycarturf.com!) offer a variety of vehicles ideal for your road trip. Remember, comfort for your dog,or any animal, and storage space for your gear are just as important as fuel efficiency and reliability.

CarTurf recommends searching for a car that will suit your needs, budget and preferences at mobile.de for a good start. CarTurf can direct you in this process or you can go at it alone, it’s up to you. The benefit to using CarTurf is that they can help you buy and register the car remotely so the car is ready upon arrival.

Registering Your Vehicle: Once you’ve chosen and purchased a car, it’s time to make it official by getting it insured and registered. The process requires having an address in Europe so let CarTurf handle that part. CarTurf will guide you through the essential steps, ensuring all your paperwork is in order even before you arrive in Europe.

Dog-Friendly Car Essentials: Safety and comfort are paramount for your pet. Invest in a sturdy dog seat belt, a spill-proof water bowl, and a cozy bed or blanket for those long drives.

2. The Essential Paperwork:

Microchipping: A mandatory requirement in Europe. Check that your dog’s microchip adheres to the ISO 11784/11785 standards.

Pet Passport and Heath Certificate: A non-negotiable for canine travel in Europe. These documents are indispensable for pet travel within European countries, ensuring your dog meets all health and vaccination requirements.

The pet passport documents your dog’s microchip number, rabies vaccination, and other pertinent health information, while the health certificate, often required for entry into certain countries, confirms your pet’s overall health and fitness for travel. Ensure everything is up to date to avoid any travel hiccups.

Travel Insurance: While optional, it’s a wise decision to cover your pet. This can be a lifesaver for unforeseen veterinary needs.

Understanding Restrictions: Awareness of European countries’ specific regulations regarding dangerous or banned breeds is essential. Some countries have restrictions or outright bans on certain breeds, so it’s vital to check these regulations before your trip. This knowledge can help you plan your route and accommodations accordingly, avoiding any complications during your travel.

3. Crafting a Tail-Wagging Itinerary:

Planning and Mapping Your Journey: Europe is brimming with dog-friendly destinations, from serene beaches to lush hiking trails. Plot a route that offers a balance of excitement for you and your dog. If you’re most comfortable in certain climates and temperatures, pay attention to the locations and average temperatures at different times of the year.

The freedom of movement within the Schengen Area makes European travel with pets more accessible. Plan your travel days considering the distance and time you’ll spend on the road to ensure a comfortable journey for your pet. Scheduling rest stops every few hours allows your dog to stretch, relieve themselves, and enjoy a bit of playtime, making the travel experience enjoyable for both of you.

See some great recommendations on destinations with your dog at https://mycarturf.com/europes-most-paw-some-road-trip-adventures-with-your-furry-co-pilot/.

Finding Pet-Friendly Accommodations: Europe offers a wealth of dog-friendly accommodations, from hotels and Airbnb to campsites that welcome pets. Research and book these accommodations in advance, paying attention to any additional cost of bringing your pet. Ensure the places you choose are well-suited to your dog’s needs, providing enough space and comfort to relax after a day of travel.

Understanding Local Dog Regulations: Each country has its unique set of rules for canine visitors. Familiarize yourself with these to ensure a smooth journey.

4. On-the-Road Wellness:

Routine Breaks: Regular stops are crucial for your dog’s well-being. Plan your journey with ample opportunities for your dog to stretch, play, and relieve itself.

Avoid Leaving Your Dog in the Car: This is a serious no-go. Cars can rapidly heat up, posing a significant risk to your pet.

Emergency Preparedness: Carry a doggy first-aid kit and have a list of vets along your route. It’s always better to be prepared for any situation.

Always keep a list of contact details for veterinaries, pet emergency services, and embassies within reach. Whether it’s for routine check-ups or unexpected situations, having these contacts can provide peace of mind during your days of travel.
Additionally, consider carrying a list of pet-friendly assistance services in case you need support or guidance while on the road.

5. Maximizing Your Travel Experience:

Balancing Activities: Diversify your travel with a blend of driving and outdoor activities. Europe’s natural beauty is a playground for your dog, from the Alpine trails to Mediterranean shores.

Socializing Your Dog: Take advantage of Europe’s dog-friendly cafes and parks. It’s a great way for your dog to interact and enjoy new experiences.

Capture the Moments: Document your journey. These photos and videos will become cherished memories of your shared adventures.


Traveling through Europe by car with your dog is a unique and enriching experience that requires thoughtful preparation. From the rugged landscapes of Portugal to the ancient allure of Greece, the memories forged on this journey will last a lifetime. With the right planning, preparation, and a touch of patience, you’re all set for a road trip that promises to be as fulfilling as it is delightful. So, pack your bags (and dog treats) and embark on an adventure that’s sure to be paw-sitively fantastic! 🚗🐾🌍

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