1. Introduce us to yourself and why you started travelling with your pets?
My name is Lauren Hatcher and I'm the writer for Doggone Destinations, a dog-friendly travel blog for pet parents in America! Lady is my 3-year-old Mini Australian Shepherd and she is the continuous inspiration for our blog. She came into my life during a very difficult transition period of mine, and since that day, her companionship has been such a huge source of comfort for me. In many ways, Lady saved me.
We did and went everywhere together, even when I embarked on long road trips to visit my family and friends in faraway states. It was during these trips that I started planning fun and pet-friendly pit stops for us to visit along the way. I'd be willing to bet many pet parents would be just as surprised as I was to know how many places you've always wanted to see are open to our four-legged friends. That's when I got the idea for Doggone Destinations, and from then on, I started documenting our little adventures around America and shared travel tips with other dog owners.
2. What is your favourite place that you have travelled?
During our cross-country move from Virginia to California last year, one of the dog-friendly destinations we paid a visit to was Sedona, Arizona.That place was so breathtakingly beautiful that you could hardly believe it was real, and there were countless pet-friendly hiking trails to choose from. Wandering through Red Rock State Park with Lady felt like getting lost on another planet. I would've loved to spend more time there and look forward to going back!
3. What makes your blog page unique?
Doggone Destinations is more than just a travel blog. Our goal is to create an online community of pet lovers and travelers. I try to keep our content as authentic and relatable as possible by only writing about places that Lady and I have visited ourselves and being honest about our experiences. I want our readers to get the most out of our blog and feel like they can come to us as friends and fellow pet parents for helpful advice.
Aside from pet-friendly destinations and travel tips, I also share dog health and safety tips that you can use while at home or on the road, pet product reveiws, fun DIY project ideas, and more.
4. When did you start writing your travel blogs and tips?
I hit the "publish website" button for Doggone Destinations on March 24, 2018. I'll never forget how nervous yet excited I was!
5. What is it like traveling with pets?
Lady is the best travel buddy I ever could have asked for, and I'm sure many other pet parents would say the same about their own dogs. Most pups are just happy to be where their humans are, so they'll be down for absolutely anything you want to do. Want to go on a hike? I'm sure they'll be more than excited to join you! If you'd prefer a more relaxing activity, a picnic in a local park is a great idea that both humans and pets can enjoy together.
Of course, traveling with pets comes with its own unique challenges such as finding pet-friendly lodging and researching activities you can all do together, but I wouldn't want to travel any other way. Dogs enrich our lives at home, and I know from personal experience that their company also enriches our travels.
6. Do you own any pets yourself? What are they and who are they?
I do! We have Lady and two rescue cats, Captain and Chief. Both the cats and our Aussie get along together great. They're like my little family!
7. What is your favourite part about travelling with your pet?
Traveling with Lady has encouraged me to spend more time outdoors and try activities I normally would have skipped right over, and I end up having a great time. Besides, who doesn't love traveling with their best friend?
8. If you had one piece of advice to someone who also wants to travel the world with their pets, what would it be?
Do your research and prepare ahead of time! While traveling with pets is a fun and rewarding experience, it does require extra some extra planning. Double-check that your lodging is pet-friendly and look into activities that your dog will be capable of enjoying with you.
Also, make sure you have everything your dogs will need during your trip to avoid potential inconveniences. I share a free Doggie Packing Checklist on our blog to help pet parents in the packing process.
9. How did your pet cope flying so many hours?
Since Lady and I road trip to most of our destinations, I might not be able to answer this question fully. She has been on a 3 1/2 hour flight once, and as my emotional support animal, she was able to sit in my lap and napped most of the flight. :)
10. What are your favourite pet brands for travelling?
I personally love Sleepy Cotton's super soft and eco-friendly cotton leashes. Not only are the colors absolutely stunning, but they are made with sustainable materials that are non-toxic to humans, pets, and the environment. The leashes are also designed to prevent pressure on the neck for dogs that pull, and as the owner of a dog that sometimes pulls, it's a very nice feature!
Lady also has a very comfortable harness from PACK Leashes that we've used on long hikes and as part of Lady's seat belt during car rides. This company is inspired by our pets to live in the moment and experience the world with joy and curiosity...and that inspiration shines through in each of their products.
A portion of each sale is donated to local humane societies, so it feels good to know the harness we've gotten so much use out of also helped to feed hungry shelter animals.
I do have discount affiliate codes for both of these brands. Feel free to use them! For Sleep Cotton Co, use code LADYAUSSIE10 for 10% off your order, and for PACK Leashes, use code DOGGONEDESTINATIONS to save 20%.