Beyond Budapest: A Guide for you and your dog

JB in the water. Photo: By the author.

One of the biggest perks of living in Budapest, and Hungary in general, is the vast amount of travel opportunities that do not require stepping foot anywhere near an airport. Being landlocked, the country has road and rail access to its neighbours with ease and because of this there is no reason why your four-legged friends should miss out on the adventure.This summer we packed up the car, with JimBeam in tow, and made the short road trip west across the Slovenian border towards Lake Bled. We are lucky that JB loves being in the car and is a very happy traveller so here are a few top tips to make your travel experiences, plus a dog, as hassle free and enjoyable as possible:

1) Plan ahead

Whilst we have found most of the capital cities in Europe to be very dog friendly, this isn’t always the case outside of the big towns. Make sure you plan your trip considering any rest breaks and pit stops with your dog in mind. Travel sites such as Air BnB and booking.com all have the option to search for dog friendly accommodation. We’ve also found that many other apartments and villas will accept dogs if you make a special request for a small additional fee. Checking, and double checking, in advance is key to a stress-free trip avoiding any awkward scenarios. 

2) Be prepared

Packing to travel with a dog is similar to going away with a small child. Make sure you take ample food, treats and toys for the length of the trip. There is no guarantee that you will find the same brands, or any depending where you staying, and the last thing you want whilst away is a grumpy and hungry dog. Depending on where you are travelling you also need to prepare your canines documents. Within the Schengen zone a valid pet passport, microchip and up to date vaccinations are enough, but if you are going further afield it’s worth checking with your vet if you need any additional paperwork. 

3) Respect others

You may love your dog but not everyone will. Be respectful when it comes to public places, parks or restaurants – if in doubt it’s always better to keep your pooch on the leash. When you travel with your dog they encounter new things they might not normally come across in their daily routine; new smells, other dogs, excitable children and other small furry creatures. Small furry creatures are unfortunately JB’s week point, he spent the best part of an hour trying to dig out a water vole on the bank of Lake Bled without any luck I might add! Being slightly more vigilant than you might be at home can make sure you, and others around you, enjoy your holidays without any unexpected surprises!  

4) Be prepared to compromise

Even on the best prepared of trips there may be things that just don’t work out as planned. You might find places you wanted to visit aren’t as dog friendly after all, or you can only eat in certain parts of the ‘pet friendly’ restaurant or only sit on designated parts of the beach. Keep this in mind and try not to view changes to the plan as restrictions, make a list in advance of alternative options just in case back up plans are needed! 

5) Enjoy the company

 Being able to travel with your pet is a great thing. You can share your adventures and make memories together. Traveling with your dog isn’t quite as straight forward as picking a last-minute deal online, it requires slightly more time, planning and preparation than that. But don’t let that put you off, Budapest is a great base to set off on pet friendly travel all over Central and Eastern Europe.