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Remote Work

How I Bring My Dog With Me While Traveling The World and Working Remotely

When I pictured my future, as much as I’d have liked it to include remote Portuguese Islands, a puppy, a surfboard, and a laptop, I’d probably never have come up with that. It looked more like business suits and handshakes… I’m really glad it went in the direction of the puppy and the laptop instead.

I’d love to share how my journey of working remotely got me here and what I’ve learned to do and not to do on future trips with Eca, my dog.

How I Got My Start With Remote Work

I didn’t start working remotely by choice. This, to me, was a concept I never knew about until one day it happened.

I was fresh off an incredible snowboard season in the French Alps (if my family is reading I meant to say finishing my Masters in France), and working at a big firm which, like for most of my classmates, didn’t feel as inspiring as I initially thought.

Thinking through things further, I felt a startup position would teach me a lot more.

I had my first startup opportunity in London, England working for PayWithTab out of Google Seedcamp. This was also my first experience working remotely. Independent coffee shops were our clients, which meant that owners were more than happy to have me work from their cafes while we tried getting our idea off the ground.

This allowed me to be super productive, as I was able to lend a hand in-person if our software wasn’t running well. I also kept a good coffee buzz going all day/ every day which had me working and biking from cafe-to-cafe in warp speeds!

I’ve now been working remotely for a total of 3 years, with my last year and a half being at Buffer.

It has allowed me to engineer my life in a way that makes me happiest. Whether that is working from coffee shops, working from home while I raise a puppy, or from co-work spaces to meet new people in different cities!

Day 1 with Eca
Day 1 with Eca

Adding A Dog To The Mix

I never had a dog of my own before working remotely. I always thought it’d be too tough to take on with a full-time job, especially the puppy stage.

Landing a remote job at Buffer definitely spurred my decision to pull the trigger!

I remember Danny, my role buddy during my first 60 days, asking me a question during our interview process. It was: “If you started working at Buffer, what would be one of the first things you’d do?”

I didn’t think twice as I blurted out: “Dog… I want Dog.”

 

Eca realizing at an early age that ball is life
Eca realizing at an early age that ball is life

Not only are dogs absolute lords, they’ll steer you towards a healthier lifestyle.

Physically, they force you to exercise and spend a ton of time in fresh air. Dogs are also good for the heart and naturally get you to socialize more.

People love dogs, it’s science.

I’ve always wanted to nomad while working remotely. Introducing a dog into the mix definitely raised some doubts about that ever happening. How would I fly with him? How on earth do you get all the paperwork together to enter another country with a dog? Are there vaccinations?

Eca asking to go somewhere were theres less rain
Eca asking to go somewhere where there’s less rain

My Guide to Travelling with a Dog

Nomading with a dog can be done without losing your mind or your dog. If you’re planning on doing it, I’d love to share some pieces of advice that might help!

Crate train your new best friend.

People dread the idea of bringing their dog on a plane. If they’re too big, which was the case for Eca, they’ll have to fly in the undercarriage.

But, wait… this is not as bad as it sounds.

The plane’s undercarriage (where animals are stored) is set to the same air pressure and temperature as the cabin where we fly. If you want to compare these conditions to ours in the cabin, dogs get way more leg room as well. Eca’s crate was the equivalent of a king-sized bed.

Crate training them from day one will make this inevitable obstacle painless. I used Cesar Milan’s method and it worked like a charm. Eca was totally relaxed when we arrived at our destination.

Get your timing right with vaccinations and paperwork

This step in getting your dog ready to travel is where I almost blew it. Let’s make sure you don’t do the same.

Firstly, you’re going to want to review the customs laws of the country you’re traveling to. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-stop resource for this, as each country has their own.

This step is super important! There are microchips, shots, and forms involved. Some countries won’t allow dogs from certain other countries to enter at all, and others will have a mandatory quarantine.

Each country will require you fill out a pet passport for your dog. It sounds cute, but it’s no joke. Here’s a handy resource for downloading this necessary paperwork for each country.

Personally, I botched the paperwork and only had it signed by my vet. Upon landing in Azores, customs let me know that the paperwork also had to be signed by another Canadian regulatory body and that what I had wasn’t useful.

They let me know that my dog could be quarantined for 14 days… Luckily Eca was begging for a belly rub as customs debated this. They settled on getting him another rabies shot at the local vet and merrily on my way I went…

…after customs gave Eca a belly rub of course.

Notifying your airline

So, your best friend has all their shots and paperwork ready, and their crate has been solidified as their second home. It’s time to get in touch with your airline to notify them that you’ll be traveling with a dog.

Warning: Don’t skip this! It’ll ensure things go smoothly once your trip comes around.

While an airline will transport animals for one flight, that same airline might not for a different—let’s say international–route.

Make sure you are given written confirmation or something official that states that the airline has been notified you’ll be traveling with your dog. I didn’t and I was put on a later flight, prolonging my trip unnecessarily.

Luckily Eca’s crate was filled with his favorite things on Earth. More on that coming up!

The trip

You did it. You’re at that glorious moment where you realize this might actually work. Your dog loves their crate, and the vaccinations and paperwork are organized. Now the trip itself is the next challenge.

Here are some tips to make it a smooth one!

Fill your dog’s crate with some of your dirty laundry. I know, don’t judge me. But your dog will identify your smell and it will have a calming effect, I promise.

Before you fly, make sure to take your dog out for a super rigorous session of exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog, and you’ll want your dog on the brink of collapse for this.

In fact, I’ve often been asked if I gave my dog any pills for the flight.

In my opinion, sedatives aren’t the best option. Instead, working diligently to properly crate train your animal so they’re nice and calm in the crate(surrounded by your dirty socks), can really pay off.

Accommodation

Make sure your Airbnb or hotel is pet-friendly.

I forgot to tell my friends about bringing Eca on this surf trip. Luckily, we snuck him into the hostel, although I was caught by the front desk taking him out late at night.

It wasn’t my best moment, but to my surprise, they didn’t send me packing; the fact that it was 1am worked in my favor!

Plus, Eca was asking for another belly rub.

As they faced the wall and called their managers, I slipped away to my room and set up shop with Eca on the balcony. I don’t recommend this as a way to go about things, please learn from my mistake on this one!

Going Forward

So, despite a few minor hiccups (as expected when it’s your first rodeo a.k.a. first trip with your dog), bringing Eca was totally worth the effort.

It went so well, I decided to continue the trip to Lisbon, Portugal and explore the coastline for a few months. In case you’d like to follow along with this adventure, our next stop will be the Canadian Rockies!

I’ve really talked your ear off, haven’t I? Have you ever traveled with your animal? How’d it go?

I’d love to hear any stories if up for sharing below!

  • Jennifer Linkins

    Your doggy is so cute :D

    • Daniel Siemaszkiewicz

      Thanks, Jennifer! I’ll make sure to share this with Eca 😄

  • I hope you and Eca have enjoyed the Azores and São Miguel Island.

    • Daniel Siemaszkiewicz

      We loved it, dude! So many trails to hike and places to surf. Such a gem of an island!

  • Timea

    So cool! I wish to travel with my dog too. Thank you for sharing your experience! I am going to follow your adventures :)

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  • Louise Andersson

    Hi!

    I’m thinking of traveling with my dog but I’m worried that he “won’t enjoy it” and that I’m selfish by taking him with me instead of letting him stay at home with my parents.. How did you think in terms of what’s best for the dog? I mean my dog always wanna join me whenever I leave the house and he has a lot of energy and curiosity so on one way I feel like he would really like traveling with me.. But I come from a family where we’ve never travelled with our dogs because of the “they’ll be much happier at home” thinking and I just never saw it as an option but your story just inspired me that Maybe he would love it as much as I would.

    • Daniel Siemaszkiewicz

      Hi Louise!

      This is something you’ll have to decide after careful deliberation. :)

      I’m super grateful for the opportunity to work remotely, allowing me to never have to leave my dog on his own for long periods of time. This was a huge factor for me in considering to have Eca tag along with me while traveling. The question I ended up asking myself is what scenario will he end up spending more time with someone, with me while travelling or back home? Working remotely, I ended up bringing him with me as that made the most sense! If your dog loves an adventure and you’re able to provide him with the same care on the road as you did at home (and those at home now might not have that much time to help while you’re traveling), I’d lean towards bringing the pup with you!

      It was an incredibly rewarding experience for me! I’d love to hear if you end up doing the same, Louise. :)

  • Joshua Wynter

    Awesome article. Not quite ready to do this myself but hoping to bring the dogs with and do a bit of traveling around the US in a few years. Probably a whole new level of difficult being a foreigner with a UK passport, but definitely going to look into it after reading about this!

    • Daniel Siemaszkiewicz

      The more you research the easier it gets! I hope my story helps you take the plunge, totally worth it!

  • Holly Turner

    Hey love this article and would love to read more about your travels with the gorgeous Eca! This is just amazing and totally opened up the idea to me. I am 21 and I have been itching to travel when I graduate at the end of this year… but my sisters and boyfriend just surprised me with a puppy as a graduation present! I am super grateful and I missed having a dog dearly ever since our family lab passed away 3 years ago, but now I am worried I will be unable to follow my travel dreams. Thank you so so much for proving to me it is possible. Would you say it is expensive to have your dog travel with you and expensive to get the right vaccinations/paperwork? Cheers :-)

    • Daniel Siemaszkiewicz

      Wow, your dog is so lucky to have you just as you begin the biggest adventure of your life! A pet passport is roughly $20 and the vaccinations won’t be much different from what is necessary to own a dog in North America. Finding accommodation and getting from point A to B with your new best friend can sometimes get tricky. It’s best to take these things into consideration and plan ahead along your trip to make it feel like a breeze.

  • Katie Anne

    Thanks for the article! This is what I really needed to hear. I decided a few months ago to travel to Scotland with my Golden Retriever, Killian. 2 microchips, rabies tag and certificates, flea and tick prevention and multiple copies of ownership and medical records, I have everything in place aside from deworming and EU health certificate. Inverness is a dog friendly city with dog friendly tourist attractions, restaurants, transportation and lodging. Even with all this going for us, I have knots in my stomach about the 12 hour flight from Seattle to Edinburgh (not including layovers). I was wondering how you two dealt with the layovers and how the airlines handled plane transfers and the layovers. I am well versed in international travel, but traveling with Killian is going to be a whole other level of stress. How did you two handle the layovers?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/94f5fb63c69823862458fa231abf67f0542246ec2eb0fe23940e64c9d6d0258c.jpg

    • Daniel Siemaszkiewicz

      Wow, that is one handsome boy!

      I’ve definitely run into a layover type situation where I had to collect all my baggage and recheck everything for my next flight. In that instance I checked all my luggage (minus Eca) and we headed to the nearest park which was great!

      My hunch would be to reach out to your airline, share your specific flight and check with them on whether you’ll be handling your pup along the way on your layover, or if Killian will stay in their hands. There are some really awesome GoPro videos people have created, where they attach it to the crate so you can see what they’re going through along the trip. From what I saw, the attention and care they received looked awesome! They were taken out, given some treats and love for the time they could be, and then put back in the crate if they were in transit again.

      I hope you have an amazing trip in Scotland that sounds like a dream!

  • Chandler

    Dude how much will this cost? I want to live a relatively frugal life but still be able to travel some, and I rescued a dog a few months ago. Are those three things just incompatible?

  • Sarah Gleave

    Hi I’ve written a blog about car safety, harnesses and car leads, would you consider linking to me please? Heres the blog https://megheathdogleads.co.uk/blog/car-lead-for-dogs/

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