Being a lover of the great outdoors and finding myself ever more frequently in need of a short break, I like to take the family and the “pack” off somewhere nice on short notice. I know of some friends that are happy to leave their furry friends at home, but we wouldn’t be us without them. This does mean that selecting a destination can be somewhat limited.
Having three dogs means traveling abroad is quite difficult. I’m a firm believer in the merits of traveling in your own country and, as a resident of Britain, I find it very depressing that the majority of our residents favor a Spanish costa rather than some of the stunning locations that can be found on our very own little island. We are lucky to live in a very picturesque and pleasant area of the UK known as Devon. For a last minute weekend getaway we favor one of two holiday cottages located at either end of Devon, neither more than an hour away and both with their own fabulous charms.
Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the great British countryside is not shared by the whole family. My 13-year-old daughter would sooner look at Facebook than the Great Wall of China, so persuading her that a weekend in a country cottage in the middle of Devon is fun does get difficult. However where there is Wi-Fi, there is hope, and inevitably she manages to struggle through the weekend without having to go more than an hour to see what developments have occurred in the lives of her other “friends” since the last check in.
The following are my tips on how to holiday with three dogs and a teenager.
1) Find somewhere that takes dogs!
Personal recommendations are often the best way, though in the U.S. you will find a number of good websites that advertise such accommodations, including dogfriendly.com and bringfido.com.
2) Make Sure You Have A Big Car!
Our second car is actually a van. It’s an eight-seater, which comfortably fits three people, three dogs and a menagerie of bags, cases, dog beds and more. Without it even the relatively short distances we travel would be nearly impossible.
3) Find a hotel with Wi-Fi.
I’m no lover of social media, but we have come to accept that disarming the laptop from our daughter whilst possible is never pleasant and if it keeps her entertained then so be it. Even in the depths of Devon, Wi-Fi is widely available, but it pays to ask if it’s an additional cost or is part of the deal.
4) Always be aware not everyone is a dog lover.
If you’ve been lucky enough to find dog-friendly accommodations or, in our case, dog-friendly accommodations that accept three of them, then make sure they are quiet and obedient at all times. If you have a great time, you’ll want to return, so ensure you will ALL be welcomed back.
5) Schedule family time.
We always try to make an effort to do things together on holiday. We spend too much of our lives sitting in the same room watching TV and not talking to our loved ones. We look at holidays as something that breaks the routine and brings us closer. Though she probably wouldn’t admit it, even our teenager loves playing cards and other silly games in the evening.
6) Confirm facilities and things to do.
Just because I fancy a sleepy weekend in peace and quiet doesn’t mean we have to choose a place devoid of anything to do. We visit Beeson Holiday Cottages in South Devon regularly. They have a play area for younger kids, a duck pond, a tennis table, a badminton court and have plans to build a bowling lane. The beach (and pub) is only a ten-minute walk away. Collacott Cottages in North Devon, which we also visit regularly, has an equestrian center, tennis court, swimming pool, play area, trampoline room and game room so when our daughter isn’t on Facebook she has lots to entertain her 🙂
Don’t forget to book early, no matter where you go! If you’re traveling during the summer or school break, you’ll be competing with other families for your bookings.
Beeson Cottage: Author
Teenage girl: Michael Cordedda