Dog-Friendly Travel Advice: Shandos from Travelnuity
I’m excited to continue our series of learning from expert travelers today. The tips I’ve learned from other travel bloggers while we have been on the road have been so amazing that I wanted to bring some of that experience to you. The travel community can be very helpful as we all know what it’s like to be out of your comfort zone, often alone, but usually delighted by the kindness of strangers.
We will continue to offer you our perspective on travel blogging - how to travel internationally with your family and have fun doing it - but, there are countless ways others are making a living while traveling the world. So whether you are learning how to take your first international trip or you are interested in becoming a full time traveler, learning from those who have been there before can be very insightful.
Today, we are learning from Shandos Cleaver, the Founder & Blogger-In-Chief at Travelnuity. Shandos is currently traveling around the world with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel. Along the way she is sharing tips about dog-friendly travel, everything from where to stay to what to do, and travel destinations. If you are a pet lover or want to travel with your dog too, you definitely need to check out her blog.
1. How did you get into travel blogging?
I guess I created my first travel blog many years ago, when I put together a simple blog to provide updates for my family and friends while traveling around Australia. At the same time, I also dabbled a little in writing for travel magazines, having a few short pieces published. However, despite how obvious it now seems that I should have developed a full-blown travel blog, instead I decide to create a “serious" blog about decluttering, which lasted less than a year.
Fast forward many years and while having a career break, I decided to create a proper travel blog. Travelnuity has now been live for 3.5 years. Last year a major change occurred when I decided to shift its focus to dog-friendly travel. At the time, I was traveling with my dog around Europe, and realised there was virtually no information out there for people traveling with a dog in Europe (compared to, say, recommended itineraries for Paris). Since then I’ve had great success with the niche.
2. How do you fund your travels?
While on my “career break” back in Australia, I realized that with the skyrocketing house prices, if we sold our house, my husband and I could head off traveling for an extended period. So, we sold our house, invested the money, and have been traveling ever since. While traveling in Europe, we haven’t been very good at sticking to our budget, so I’ve been trying to grow the small income I receive from my blog. Of course, this would be a lot easier to do if I spent less time traveling, and more time writing, but it’s working out for now.
3. What’s one of your favorite destinations? What makes it so special for you?
It’s hard to choose just one, but one of our favorite places in Europe has been Slovenia. We spent a magical 2 weeks in the country last September. The leaves were changing color and its natural beauty was stunning. Plus, it wasn’t too busy (at least that time of year) and prices were reasonable. And as a bonus, it’s a surprisingly dog-friendly country!
4. What’s your favorite travel tip or travel hack?
Don’t feel that you have to tick off all the must-dos in a destination. For starters, someone else’s must-do isn’t necessarily a must-do for yourself. Not everyone loves museums, not everyone is into art, not everyone loves climbing to the top of the tallest tower (especially those of us not fond of heights). When traveling with our dog, we tend to skip most museums and indoor sights, except for the things we really want to do. It’s similar if you’re traveling with children - there’s only so many “boring" things they’ll put up with!
Instead, choose a few things that you really want to do, and leave the rest up to what you feel like. Relax in a local cafe and people-watch. Go and wander the streets and see where you end up. And if you miss something, there’s always next time.
5. What’s your best piece of advice for someone looking to take their first international trip?
Traveling internationally is a lot easier than you expect. Millions of people do it everyday, and it’s surprising how many similarities you will find with your home country. If you can travel locally, it’s not much of a step to head overseas.
But before you head off, double check that you’ve organized the essentials. Make sure you have your passport (and it has at least 6 months validity left for most countries). Make sure you’ve organized visas, if they need to be secured in advance. (Often, you can get one on arrival.) Take at least two cards to access your money (such as both a credit card and debit card). Take out a travel insurance policy, and review the details. Everything else is a bonus, and can be organized on the go if needed. So head off, and enjoy!
Such great advice, Shandos! Thank you for stopping by and helping our readers. I especially agree with not needing to check off all of the “must-see” attractions in each city. I’m sure there are must-see things in my home town I never got around to seeing and we love slowing down a bit to get a real feel for a new place.
I hope you are enjoying this series too. Drop us a line to let us know your thoughts or if you would like to be featured.