How to Pull-off the Perfect Trip with Your Pet

More and more pet owners decide to take their furry companions with them when traveling. Separation is hard for both the owner and the pet, so the whole family coming on the trip is the perfect solution. However, traveling can be quite stressful, for pets especially, so make sure to study these travel tips before you set off.

Have a test trip
Take your pet for a test road-trip, especially if they aren’t used to driving in a car. Make sure to create a lot of positive memories on this test trip, like going to a dog park, to the beach or a pet shop. This way, your real trip will be easier.

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Pack up
Your pets also need some travel luggage, so get packin’. Bring a few bowls, a leash, waste baggies, grooming supplies, meds and some food and water. Also, give your pet that homey feeling by packing his favourite toy or blanket.

Buckle up!
A huge number of car accidents are caused by unrestrained pets in the vehicle. If your pet freely wonders in the vehicle, this can be a really dangerous distraction for the driver. Additionally, an unrestrained pet is more likely to be seriously injured in the case of an accident. So, in order to have a safe and stress-free trip, restrain your animal companion. Experts recommend getting a crate of a carrier for bigger dogs (you might also want to invest in a partition that will protect your passenger backrests from damage). Smaller breeds can be effectively restrained with harnesses with large and comfy belts and a sturdy metal attachment.

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Stretch those paws
Just like you, your pets also get stiff and tired from a long drive. So, make sure to stop every two or three hours and give your pets some much needed exercise and a potty break.

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Ready for take-off
If you’re flying to your destination, here’s what you should know. Very young, very old and pets in poor health should avoid flying and are better off at home. Additionally, some breeds like pugs and French bulldogs might experience breathing difficulties flying in the cargo hold. Many airlines don’t even allow them to fly. Other healthy pets that can get on board must have a roomy kennel (your pet should have enough room to stand up and turn comfortably). If your pet isn’t used to kennels, make sure to spend some time getting her used to the new circumstances. Besides the kennel itself, your dog should also travel with a food and water dish, a “Live Animal “ sticker on the crate and comfy bedding.

Make sure your hotel is pet-friendly
Before you depart, look for pet-friendly hotels that will welcome your furry friend with open arms. There are platforms such as GoPetFriendly.com that offer information on pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, stores and dog parks.

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Prepare light meals
Don’t feed your pet too much while traveling. It’s best to start with a light meal a few hours before departure. Never feed your pet in a moving vehicle, even if your trip is long and she hasn’t eaten in a while. Also, pack some extra pet food for when you arrive at your destination. You might not be able to find a pet shop right away, and you don’t want your cat or dog to be hungry. Another, more practical option is to order advance dog food online, and it will wait for you at your new address.

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Pay a visit to the vet
No trip should be taken without your vet’s approval, especially if your dog has health problems. Additionally, if you’re taking your trip across the border, make sure to get all necessary vaccinations and to bring your pet’s medical history.
If you follow all of these tips, your trip will be 100% pet-friendly and stress-free. Have a safe and pleasant journey with your furry friend.

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Top 3 Excursions Around Sydney

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There are so many things that Australia’s Sydney has to offer. In the midst of all the possibilities and excitement, it can get a bit tricky to organize your time well and actually decide on your itinerary. If you ever happen to be in such situation, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by booking some of the most popular excursion tours around Sydney. The following three are the best of the best and you should definitely try to squeeze them in your schedule.

Hunter Valley Wine Tasting

Enjoying some of the best wines in the country is undoubtedly something most people would enjoy. There are many ways for you to get to the Hunter Valley. You can go by train that leaves from Sydney’s Central Station; by coaches and tours that depart from Sydney regularly; by car or take a bus. It will take you about 2 hours to get there by car, while the bus or train takes longer (around 4.5 hours). Leogate Estate Wines should be your first place to visit in Hunter Valley where you can taste some of their award-winning wines. Afterwards, you can relax and have a delicious lunch at the Hunter Valley Resort. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery as you eat your meal and sip on some wine. Afterwards, make sure to check out McGuigan Wines because they are one of the best in the world. Nothing can complete your day here as much as Hunter Valley Gardens. You’ll be able to shop, spend time in great cafés, taste amazing food and liquor and admire the view altogether.

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Snowy Valleys Way

The beauty of Snowy Valleys Way is only matched in fairy tales. Taking a trip here is absolutely wonderful and pleasant all year round. It will take you almost 4 hours to get there by car if you go on the M31, or around 6 hours via Great Western Highway. Bus rides usually take longer, around 8 hours. Still, even though Snowy Valleys Way is a bit far from Sydney, it is well worth the experience. There are always some cool outdoor activities as well as seasonal events to keep you entertained. From the picturesque Gundagai, your next stop should definitely be at Tumut, which is known for its spectacular autumn colors. Continue to Batlow and Tumbarumba. All through Corryong to Tallangatta and even further, you’ll enjoy some amazing sights and sceneries as well as the rural charm of this region.

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Poachers Way

A three hour drive to Canberra, or almost 5 hour trip if you take the bus, will provide you with the impeccable start to your excursion and exploration of Poachers Way. There are several places that you should visit in this region. Since there will be a lot of important stops during the excursion, it might be better to book a bus charter than to drive yourself. The differences in the travel time are minimal. Murrumbateman, which is around 45 minutes from Canberra is definitely a place to start. Horseback rides, tasty chocolate and numerous cellar doors are just part of the fun. Half an hour further and you’ll reach Gundaroo, where you can soak up on the wine culture and get incredible historical insights. Another half an hour and you’ll reach Bungendore, where you’ll get the chance to visit incredible cellar doors liquor stores, but amazing village antiques and wood works gallery as well. Wrap up this journey with Hall, which is about an hour away. Make sure to try Pankhurst Wines and check out the One Tree Hill Lookout Walk. Finally, end your journey in Yass, that’s only half an hour away, and get a complete picture of the amazing culture that Poachers Way has to offer.

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Bungendore

Be sure to catch the weather forecast before visiting all the mentioned places. Since most of these tours include wine tasting, forget about your diet restrictions and eat proper meals whenever you have the chance.

 

This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.

6 U.S. Cities with Seriously Affordable Gourmet Food

Between the farm-to-table movement, the rise of culinary TV and celebrity chefs, and the explosive popularity of food trucks, foodies are having a moment. There’s never been a better time to be a person who loves to eat high-quality, artfully prepared food. But if you’re not a member of the 1%, you’ll need to pick your culinary destinations wisely.

That’s where these six cities come in. In any of these locales, you’ll be able to enjoy a gourmet appetizer and an entree (and, in some cases, a cocktail) for less than $50. Eat your heart out.

1. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore’s gourmet food scene can best be summed up in one word: “eclectic.” Whether your preference is for traditional French fare or experimental fusions, pristine white tablecloths or seasonal food served at community tables, Baltimore has you covered. Not sure where to start? Head to b bistro for thoughtfully prepared (and often seasonal) dishes; hit up B&O American Brasserie for earthy New American fare; or visit Bookmakers Cocktail Club for amazing cocktails paired with unique dishes such as rye gnocchi with pastrami sugo.

2. Charlotte, NC

Charlotte’s Southern gentility extends into its restaurants. You’ll want to dust off your nicest pair of pants before heading to any of the city’s upscale food establishments, but don’t worry—you’ll still be able to afford the food (provided you know where to look). Head to Barrington’s for simple, seasonal, and delicious dishes such as seared organic chicken or scallops with veal cheek ravioli; visit Kindred Restaurant for nationally-acclaimed fare from a husband-and-wife duo; or dine in The Asbury or Evoke, both of which feature menus that speak to the distinct perspectives of their respective head chefs.

3. Columbus, OH

It took Columbus some time to find its bearings in the food world, but now the city’s food scene is up and running—and making up for lost time. Restaurants in Columbus range from starched-tablecloth affairs to casual dining; the city is also developing a name for itself as a hub for stellar Indian, Pan-Asian, and Mediterranean fare, and Korean and Persian restaurants are currently on the rise. You can’t go wrong at Kihachi Japanese Restaurant, a nationally recognized establishment that’s held its own in Columbus for more than 20 years. If New American food is more your style, then don’t miss a meal at the trendy M.

4. Indianapolis, IN

“Gourmet food” might not be the first thing you think of when Indianapolis comes up in conversation, but it’s high time you adjusted your expectations. There’s something for everyone in this Midwestern city: From farm-to-table and organic fare to upscale, handcrafted pizza, gourmet burgers (think peppercorn-bourbon glaze with horseradish Havarti), ice cream made fresh from local cows, a classic (and exceptionally high quality) steakhouse, artisanal meats, and the nationally acclaimed Milktooth, which is redefining brunch—Indy’s got it all.

5. Pittsburgh, PA

Steel City has certainly refined its palette. Bon Appetit designated Pittsburgh as the “next big food town” in 2013, and the city’s food scene has only continued to explode since then. Upscale elegance and trendy ambience define Pittsburgh’s restaurant scene, which is home to several James Beard Award-nominated chefs and a strong local aesthetic. Perhaps surprisingly, you’ll be able to enjoy all this good food for a relatively affordable price. Don’t forget to make reservations at local favorites Cure and Bar Marco, or head to up-and-coming establishments such as Gaucho Parrilla Argentina or Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar.

6. St. Louis, MO

When it comes to great-yet-low-budget restaurants per capita, St. Louis might just take the cake. Whether you’re looking for farm-to-table fare (bison sausage, anyone?), down-home ambience spearheaded by celebrity chefs, old-fashioned ice cream parlor desserts, outstanding sandwiches, Chinese-American fusion, or anything in between, you’ll find affordable upscale food in St. Louis by throwing a stone in any direction.

In addition to amazing food, each of these cities offers an exciting array of attractions, from arts, music, and nightlife, to sightseeing and outdoor adventures. So book your flight and eat up—you’ll need the energy to go exploring.

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on March 11, 2016.