Moving interstate is such a huge undertaking. Now I'm out the other side, looking back, I can't believe how much I underestimated it. Those last few weeks were insane - the last few days chaotic. 

Trying to move interstate and plan for a holiday at the same time? Even crazier. 

Holly  tends to be a nervous little dog when it comes to busy places, and she's terrified of loud noises, so flying was ruled out as a travel option pretty quickly. 

3000km+ road trip, here we come.

The Planning & What to Pack

If you aren't trying to plan a holiday when you're in the middle of moving house, chances are you know when you want to take your trip months in advance. 

Pet-friendly holiday homes are extremely popular, and many were already booked out when we needed accomodation (Christmas school holidays!). The best ones also already had advance bookings for next Christmas, so I advise you do your research and book as soon as you have decided on your travel dates (there are heaps in the Noosa/Sunshine Coast and Byron Bay areas!).

I wanted to know that Holly would have somewhere safe & secure to sleep, as well as somewhere to go whenever we went out during the trip. Because of Holly's fear of thunderstorms, I purchased her a hard air-travel crate. The other dogs travelling with us all had these Collapsible Soft Crates.

If your dog isn't a scratcher, chewer or panics in thunderstorms, I highly recommend purchasing a Collapsible Soft Crate to travel with. They are easy to set-up/pack back down, fold flat to travel in the car and very secure for your pet.  

If you do decide to purchase a crate, you will need to have it in advance (a few weeks should do) to crate-train your pet if they are unused to be secured at bedtime. Start off with treats, and a few minutes in the crate at a time, then gradually work up to them being locked in for bedtime.
I also recommend leaving them at home secured in the crate a few times when you go out for short periods of time so they know it's a safe place to be.

I also recommend purchasing a Car Restraint that clicks into the seat belt socket to keep your pet from moving about the car. Holly tends to travel at my feet on the floor if I'm not driving, but when she's up on the seat or I'm getting in and out of the car, it's handy to secure her quickly without worrying about her jumping out etc. I also purchased Holly a new harness as this was more comfortable for car travel (easier for them to lie down) and felt it was more secure than her collar.

Ensure your pets have up-to-date microchip and ID tag details, with your mobile number and their name on the ID tag, just in case. 

Make sure to pack spare dog-only towels, as many properties don't offer these. Essential if you are booking a beach holiday with your pet!

Another travel essential I recommend having is waste bags and a scoop. All properties will require you to clean up after your pets, and if you're on the road for the day it's good to be prepared!

Thankfully Holly travels well and doesn't get carsick, but if your dog does, you can use a homeopathic travel sickness remedy (you + children can use it too), as needed. I've used homeopathic remedy Ipecac 200c for myself when travelling in the past and it works wonders at eradicating travel sickness. Bonus - it also won't interfere with any other medication they are on and can be taken as needed.

Booking your accomodation

Before this move, I'd never travelled with a dog before. I assumed that my only options for pet-friendly accomodation would be caravan parks and maybe the odd farmstay. I couldn't have been more wrong.

It turns out most caravan parks are less dog-friendly than many holiday homes, with a laundry list of rules and the majority don't allow dogs in their cabins, only on van or camping sites. (If you plan to have a van holiday though, most places are OK if you avoid the franchise parks)

There are heaps of pet-friendly holiday homes, and even a few pet-friendly hotels, listed on sites like Stayz AirBnB, to suit every budget, from $100 a night through to $10k a night (no kidding). 

This is personal preference, but as a side note, I found more properties I preferred on Stayz (most are professionally run) than I did on AirBnB, which seemed more casual. 

Here's a few things to check when making a pet-friendly booking:

  1.  Make sure to check the "pet friendly" filters when searching on websites like Stayz & AirBnb to ensure pet-friendly only results.
  2. Not all "pet friendly" accomodation is, well, very pet-friendly, as I quickly discovered.  No-one wants to be stressed out about what their pet is and isn't allowed to do when on holiday, so I discounted any properties that had a long list of pet-related rules. Most people taking their pets on holiday with them have a well-loved, well-behaved and house-trained pet, so it's an added stress you don't need. 
  3. When reading listings, check to make sure that the property is securely dog-fenced, and your pet/s are allowed inside if that is how they live at home. 
  4. Let the property manager know what breed/s of pet/s you have with you at the time of booking. I also let them know that I had a secure crate for Holly to sleep in, and so they knew she wouldn't be left unsecured, unattended at the property.
  5. Know what you want: I looked for properties that had a decent sized yard and were also as private/secluded as possible. Many of the great pet-friendly properties have already taken this into consideration, but it's something to think about. Moving from acreage, Holly was used to a large yard and I also didn't want to have to worry about neighbours dogs etc. 
  6. Make sure to check the reviews. It can give you a good idea of how pet friendly the property & manager actually are. If there aren't any on the website you are looking at, a quick google search of the property title should bring it up on multiple websites for you to check. 

When I found a property that I wanted to book, I found I got better results sending my enquiries (see above) as a booking request rather than just a message. 

While on holiday

When you arrive a pet-friendly property, chances are your dog will want to run around and sniff everywhere other pets have been. Although house-trained and not one to try to escape, I always supervised Holly very closely when first arriving whilst she did the tour, and checked to ensure the fence was properly secure in all areas. One place we booked was supposed to have a secure yard, only to find the fence falling apart on arrival. Luckily we were only there for a few nights, which meant a few days of close supervision in the yard or on-lead time only. 

When you leave your pets unattended at a holiday property, I recommend leaving the TV or radio on for some background noise to help keep them quiet and settled. NB: Holly likes the jazz channel - don't ask me why!

After being on the road for 8wks, I stayed at a few properties and found some really amazing pet-friendly places to stay in the process. I've shared some of my favourites below!

Magnolia Cottage | Cooroy, Sunshine Coast

We stayed here for 2wks, and there was nothing I could fault about the property. It was even more beautiful in real life than the photographs online show. It was fully equipped with everything you could want (including a selection of tea, a spice/herb rack and all essentials). Magnolia Cottage was incredibly peaceful, private, relaxing and had an instant sense of home. I never wanted to leave! 

The property owners Nikki and Noel were also brilliant - they couldn't have been more relaxed, and with a border collie of their own, Magnolia Cottage was the true definition of "pet friendly". They even had water bowls out for the dogs when we arrived, and provided dog treats and towels.

The large yard was very securely fenced for even the little dogs (Holly is quite small, and the mesh was fine enough for her, but if you have a 'teacup' sized dog or puppy you may need to keep an eye on them). 

If you want accommodation on the Sunshine Coast hinterland within a 20min drive to Noosa and the beautiful beaches, I couldn't recommend this property highly enough. 

Bella Vita | Mudjimba, Sunshine Coast

This was another great property if you are after a more "metro" stay. The house was well-equipped (although you'll need to bring essentials with you, most provided were single-use only) and the property manager is there to greet you and show you through. The yard was more of a secure grassed courtyard, so not great for longer stays or bigger dogs, but the property is directly opposite a beautiful dog-friendly beach so there is room to exercise pets.

There were a few great cafes, delicious bakery and other little eateries just down the street from this property too within easy walking distance, and just 10mins from Maroochydore for all major shopping, or again only 30mins from Noosa. 

Zaffiro Beach House | Sapphire Beach, NSW

This property was not at all fenced, but the yard was quite large and private, and with private access to the pet-friendly beach. The verandah overlooking the ocean is also securely (pool) fenced. This was another very relaxing stay in a quiet, private location and the property manager Monique was amazing to deal with - she couldn't have been more accomodating.

The house was well-equipped and only minutes from town, with amazing views and the pool was beautiful!

Do you have any questions or tips for travelling with pets, or any fabulous pet-friendly accomodation I should check out? Please share below!!

Kelsey xx
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