Dog Friendly Travel

Tour of America Day 1 – Hittin’ the Road

Road Trip Day 1 - Hitting the Road
Written by Kevin Sando
  • We are recapping each day of our Dog Friendly Tour of America, so you can check out where we have been, what we saw, and what we did. Hopefully this will help if you are planning a similar road trip or visiting any of the places along our route!

Traveling with Dogs – And we’re off!

This is our first major road trip traveling with dogs so we put a lot of effort into planning and organizing. Since we would be gone for so long, we rented a van to have some extra space and I picked it up early in the day on Tuesday to get things loaded up. We are using Avis who we recently learned is very pet friendly. All they require is that you return the car in a clean condition – sounds fair!

We ended up with a Chrysler Town & Country which I would highly recommend for traveling. The middle and back seats can fold right into the floor, and I loved all of the storage compartments. Trying to keep things as tidy as possible, I put our 4Knines bench seat cover on the back seat, and our cargo cover on the central floor area. This should keep the errant pet hair to a minimum and also keep the interior protected from doggy spills or stains.

Hitting the road, Phoenix-here we come!! #mydoglikesamerica #roadtrip #blogpaws

A photo posted by Kevin, Rach, Har & Char (@my_dog_likes) on

Now that everything was nice and protected, it was time to load up. Rachael had the awesome idea to pack our supplies in clear plastic totes organized by use. One for dog food and treats, one for supplements and health supplies, one for outdoor and travel gear, and one for our own road trip snacks. Not only can we clearly see what is inside each tote, but it all stacks neatly and everything is so much easier to access, carry, and use. I used bungees in the van to strap everything down nice and tight for the ride and prevent anything from sliding into the dogs! Although it has only been one day, I am obsessed with Rach’s packing strategy and will definitely elaborate on this later!

Packing for a road trip- Visit MyDogLikes to see what to bring along when traveling with dogs!

We headed out from Rochester right on schedule (shockingly) at around 4 PM Tuesday. This was especially surprising because Rach had woken up that morning with a bad sore throat. A quick stop at Urgent Care confirmed that it was indeed Strep Throat! Not what you want to hear when faced with a 3000 mile drive to start off a 2 week trip!

She was a trooper however, insisting that we continue on as scheduled. We got her on an antibiotic, headed out, and she pushed snoozed through a long day in the car. The plan was to make it as far as we could on day 1, taking turns driving while the other got some rest. We ended up making it almost all the way to St. Louis, before stopping at a rest stop for several hours to get some “quality” sleep. Not bad at all! I was very pleased with how far we made it and how smoothly things went. There is still a long way to go however to get to BlogPaws in Chandler, Arizona

Things we learned on day 1 …

  • Vans are perfect for pet travel. You can load up the entire cargo area with suitcases and supplies and there is still tons of room for the dogs and other gear inside. Plus – it is so much easier for the dogs to jump in and out of the side doors as opposed to the back of our SUV.
  • Ohio has some great rest stops for dogs. Tons of well maintained green spaces to walk around, poop bag stations and plenty of garbage cans. Plus the facilities for humans were nice and clean too!

Quick Stats

  • Miles traveled: 765
  • States passed through:  5 (NY, PA, OH, IN, IL)
  • Gas fill ups: 2

Stop back tomorrow to see where we visited on Day 2…

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About the author

Kevin Sando

Kevin is a mechanical engineer with a degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has move than a decade experience in new product design, prototyping and early stage manufacturing. Pairing this background with his love of dogs, gives him a unique perspective to evaluate the design and execution of new and interesting pet products.


  • Sounds like the trip is going well and I’m happy to hear it! Rachael’s packing strategy is very similar to what we use in our RV. We have every single thing in plastic containers that fit perfectly stacked in the overheads and under the couch. Plastic tubs ROCK! Ohio has some awesome rest stops…they even have places where you can plug in and have electric and water! Very clean and spacious. We love those! Safe travels and I will keep on following the trip!

  • This is just what I wanted to see. I tried to plan a similar road trip to AZ from Philly but became overwhelmed with trying to keep my dog happy while doing a decent amount of miIes every day. We currently spend at least 1 hour each day running and playing at dog parks, without it she becomes bored and unhappy and would never be able to travel all day

    To make this trip feasible I will need to continue this each day, for both of our sakes. This is hard to plan for when you never know where you will end up each night.

    I hope to follow your path/plan or one very similar to it.
    Good luck.

  • We know all about those long road trips. Mom is known to put in 16-18 hour driving days and they are long. Can’t wait to hear more about your road trip.

    • Wow, that is impressive! We are very glad to have made it to the conference to relax for a few days and then take a more leisurely route back home.

  • Be careful with strep throat, I went on a vacation with it once and ended up in an ER after collapsing on a hiking trail.

  • glad Avis is pet friendly, i know for a fact Enterprise is not at all!!! they will not rent to you if you have a dog, no dogs allowed. i had this problem when i was rearended and my insurance had a car for me with them, they refused to bring me the car, then when got to place where car was towed, the tow truck driver took my 3 girls and me, they still refused to rent, they were so nasty, the guy slammed the door in my face and locked it. it took over 10 hrs to get a rental car. the accident happended at 11a, we did not get home til after 12 midnight. even the police and ems were not nice, said i needed to go to er, and they would take my dogs to the shelter, i said NO!!!!. i might not get them back and they might catch something. i was pissed when i got home. so glad avis is nice abt this. i dont know why more car rental companies are not b/c a lot of people travel and take their dogs with them. that is a great idea to have clear totes.

    • Oh that sounds like the worst! I am so sorry that this happened to you! I would never have let my boys go to the shelter either! So far we are really happy with the rental and pickup was a breeze!

  • Sounds like you were off to for a fantastic road trip. I will be following because we want to take Schooner and Skipper on a road!

  • You guys are off to a great start and I admire the fact you are traveling with your pups I’m pretty sure my two pups would drive me crazy.

  • Mommers says she’s gonna steal your tote idea! How pawsome! Especially for our dirty stuff when we leave the dog park 🙂

  • The 4Knines Seeat Cover combined with the cargo cover will help keep the car clean from fur. And the cover looks purdy comfy too instead of having my booty stick to leather seats bol!