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  • Writer's picturebertandernietheberners

How to plan a trip with your dog

So you want to take your dog on a trip - awesome! We love traveling with Bert and Ernie. They are members of our family, and vacations wouldn’t feel complete without them. In this post, we’ll walk through questions you should ask yourself while planning and resources you may find helpful before and during your trip.

Ernie and Bert at Badlands National Park in Wall, SD - about 7.5 hours from Minneapolis.


As we think about trip planning and turning our vacay dreams into reality, there are a few buckets of questions we think about:


  • How far is it? How much time do we have? Is the drive easy (highways) or harder (backroads)?

  • Can we get there just by car or are other methods of transportation (ferry, etc) required?

  • Are there attractive dog friendly accommodation options? Hotel, motel, short term rental (Airbnb or VRBO), camping?


  • What is there to see and do?

  • Where can we get outside and stretch our legs (and paws)?

  • What are the best places to eat? Any specialty regional/local foods we should be sure to seek out? Is there a local brewery or distillery we can try?

  • Which of the activities & sights are dog friendly? How about restaurants?

  • What are we going to do with Bert and Ernie if they can’t join us for an activity or meal? Is the weather conducive to leaving them in the car (below 55 degrees), or do we need to plan on getting takeout or patio dining with them?


  • When do we have free time to visit?

  • Is this a seasonal destination? Should we be prepared for crowds (if visiting in high season) or closures (if visiting in off season)?

  • How do the activities in the area change with the seasons?

  • What will the weather be like? Do we need to pack special clothing or gear?

Bert visiting Baudette, MN - about 5 hours from Mpls.


These questions are all helpful if you have a destination in mind, but if you’re still scratching your head about where to begin, here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning!

Our experiences

Start where you are, right here on! We have an archive with plenty of trip reports and itineraries for dog friendly travel around the Upper Midwest (and some beyond).

Other travel blogs

We have lots of talented friends in the Midwest who travel a ton and share their experiences. Their posts and Instagram pages are great sources of inspiration.

Destination websites

Cities and regions are the experts on their areas, and there are lots of great ideas for things to do and places to stay on their pages. Some examples below, but a bit of Googling for your specific destination should lead you to the right one.

Dog travel sites

There are a couple of great resources for folks traveling with dogs. Check these out, but don’t forget to confirm pet policies directly with any lodging to make sure there haven’t been changes since the sites were updated.

Draw a radius

Another exercise that may be helpful is to use a site like WithinHours to find destinations within a selected distance or drive time from your location. You can customize this as much as you want. Use it to get inspiration for day trips if you already have an extended trip planned!

Ernie and Bert at a short term rental cabin near Comstock, WI - about 1.5 hours from Mpls


We love traveling with our dogs. It may take some extra planning ahead of time and a bit of extra logistical maneuvering on the ground, but it’s always worth it to be able to experience new things together.

Where will you be visiting next with your dog?

Bert and Ernie at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO - about 13.5 hours from Mpls.

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