I’ve Travelled Around Europe with My Dog and this is the Most Dog-Friendly City

Alice, 27, from Essex is a keen traveller, but unlike most, she likes to have a special guest in tow when visiting new places. Exploring the world by her side is her 4-year-old chocolate labrador, Hector. The pair share their wholesome travel adventures on Instagram and TikTok to over 400K followers combined, under the handle Hectorthechocolabo, with hundreds falling in love with the adorable pup.

Together they have travelled to France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Wales and Scotland, meaning Hector has visited a total of 9 countries. Speaking exclusively to onsite travel booking company, Omio, on her experience travelling with Hector, Alice says, “experiencing it with my dog made it even more special.”

Taking your dog travelling sounds like a daunting task, however, Alice explains how easy it can be when you don’t need to use air travel:

“We use the Eurostar to cross into Europe, it is extremely convenient, affordable and flexible too. The Eurostar is super easy to use. You use their pet check-in for a smooth arrival, drive your car onto their trains and it’s as easy as sitting in your car for 35 minutes during the crossing. You then simply drive off the train and into Europe.” 

She continues, “We had to use a car train in Switzerland to pass through a mountain, this was an open train so it was really cool to open the windows and watch the snowfall as we passed between and through the mountains! Hector also got to stick his head out the window (safely) to take in the view and all the new smells.” 

When using other modes of transport within cities, such as trains and trams, Alice explains, “Hector would lay down by our feet and many people gave him a fuss. We have never had any issues when travelling in another country with Hector on public transport.”

Thankfully, Hector is a fan of car journeys, and Alice says, “he is super relaxed on long journeys and we make sure we stop regularly for toilet breaks. He usually goes to sleep on the back seat for the whole journey which makes travelling with him really easy.” which worked perfectly on their longest journey of 8 hours from Sion, Switzerland to Luxembourg city.

When it comes to accommodation, dog lovers will be pleased to know that there are plenty of options when it comes to finding somewhere to stay. Alice explains, “We usually find all of our accommodation on Airbnb, we look for dog-friendly accommodation, ensuring that it’s large dog friendly and has an enclosed garden or somewhere close by for Hector to go to the toilet.” 

She continues, “We have also been to a few dog-friendly hotels in cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Bruges and Brussels. Again, we always make sure they’re big dog friendly as we have occasionally found that Hector’s size is an issue. He’s 43kg and some hotels have a doggy weight limit/size limit meaning Hector is too big – so make sure to check this if you are looking for dog-friendly hotels.”

Of all the places Alice and Hector have visited together, Alice says that The Netherlands was the most dog-friendly, “Everything we did here was dog friendly, from the cities to the smaller towns and villages, it felt like Hector was welcome everywhere. Cafes and restaurants welcomed him with open arms, always offering water for him, even a blanket for him to sit on in some places! We even managed to take him on a dog-friendly cruise around Amsterdam which was wonderful to experience together”.

Thankfully, they haven’t experienced any negative reactions to Hector joining in on the travels, as Alice told OMIO, “We haven’t been anywhere in Europe yet that has said no to Hector joining us at meals, or in public spaces etc. European countries seem to be much more dog-friendly which is really inviting as we love taking Hector everywhere with us.”

Talking about her favourite adventure with Hector, Alice said, “My personal favourite was Switzerland, the scenery and landscape is second to none. We have so far only visited during Winter so we experienced a LOT of snow – which was so much fun. Hector enjoys playing in it and it was awesome to experience snow on that level as we don’t often get much here in East England. We stayed in a lovely Airbnb in the Swiss Alps with beautiful walks on our doorstep. It was an experience I’ll never forget.”

Whilst you may think that Alice and Hector have done their fair share of travelling, they’re not done yet, still having plenty of plans in place for future trips together. Alice told OMIO, “We have Switzerland and Italy on our bucket list for our next adventure! We have it planned already and are going to be doing a road trip in a campervan in the summer. I’d also love to take Hector to Norway in Winter too this year and maybe explore some more Christmas Markets further into Germany as we only visited East and Southern Germany.”

With trips on the horizon and plans in place, Alice will be looking to her previous experience to make sure their upcoming travels run just as smoothly, sharing her top tips, Alice says, “Firstly, and most importantly, make sure you have all of the correct travel documents for your dog. It is not as simple as just hoping on the train, you will need an animal health certificate and rabies jab from your vet. You can find more information on the documents you need to travel within Europe on the Government website!”. She continues, “Don’t forget a first aid kit. It’s important to know basic dog first aid when travelling abroad and to ensure you have the necessary kit in case of any emergencies. I always carry a spare lead and collar and include my country’s area code on Hector’s dog tag.” Lastly, Alice recommends, “Research the area before you travel, it’s always good to see what dog-friendly activities there are – I found social media to be really helpful when researching areas to visit”.

So, if you have ever thought about taking your pooch to see the world, make like Alice and Hector and get your first trip booked!

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. She studied English Literature at Fairfield University in Connecticut whilst taking evening classes in journalism at MediaBistro in NYC. She then pursued a BA degree in Public Relations at Bournemouth University in the UK. With a background working in the PR industry in Los Angeles, Barcelona and London, Charlotte then moved on to launching Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden and has been running the online magazine for the past 10 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a bit too much effort into perfecting her morning brew.