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Top tips for traveling with your dog

Posted on 01 August 2019 by LeslieM

Moto Girl is off on a cross-county road trip making special appearances as America’s Top Dog Model 2019.

Travel season is here and families will be taking road trips to exciting destinations across the country. Dog friendly vacations make a fun time for the entire family, and traveling with pets is easier than ever. But bringing pets along for the ride, takes some advance planning and attention to detail while on the trip. Here are my top tips for an enjoyable road trip with your dog.

Make sure your dog is fully acclimated to and has a positive association with car travel and adventure. This can be accomplished by taking your dog on short car trips and errands around town. You may also want to take them to the park and other areas where they will be introduced to different environments as well as be around new dogs and people. End these trips with playtime, praise and a reward for good behavior in the car.

Prepare for the trip by making a folder with your packing lists, hotels, restaurants, activities and all the fun things you can do with your dog.

Pet’s Packing List




Water and food bowls

Bedding and towels

Car seat cover

Vaccination records

Flea and tick prevention

Favorite toys

Car harness/carrier

Leash + extension

Pet first aid kit

Pick up bags


Is your pet healthy and able to travel? Visit your veterinarian for a check-up.

If all is well, get them up-to-date on vaccines.

Get copies of paperwork with proof of vaccines and medical care.

If your dog requires medication, bring enough for the trip plus a few days extra for the unexpected.


Make sure your dog is micro chipped and has a collar with identification attached.

Bring photos of your dog with contact information on the back, kept in your purse or wallet.

Car Trip

Map out pet friendly stops with the help of GoPetFriendly.com.

Add markers for possible restaurants, attractions, landmarks and shops. Also, research highly rated emergency veterinarian offices in or near cities you will be driving through.

Plan to make frequent short stops to exercise, provide water and give your dog appropriate bathroom breaks.

Learn your dog’s stress signals and make sure to take a break when needed.

Practice good etiquette while out and about.

Make sure your pet is restrained for safety via a booster seat, carrier or harness.

Do not leave your dog in the car at any time.

Lodging & Food

Make a list of pet friendly accommodations along your route.

Bringfido.com helps you search for dog-friendly lodging, and it’s available as a mobile app so you can easily find hotels.

Bring your dog’s own bedding.

Check hotels pet rules and places to walk pets for potty breaks and exercise.

Eat out at dog friendly restaurants.

Bring containers with your dog’s food.


Enjoy your time together in your new surroundings. After a long day on the road, your dog will likely want to be close to what’s familiar and, if you’re in a new location, the most familiar thing for them will be you. Be prepared to spend the majority of time outdoors. Here are some fun things to do:

Picnic at a dog park

Relax on a pet friendly beach

Take a dog friendly hike

Go kayaking

Attend an outdoor music concert

Visit a state park (Check state parks pet regulations).

Jo Jo Harder, is an author, stylist, producer, and pet lifestyle expert, as well as CEO and creator of America’s Top Dog Model contest. Jo Jo has been at the helm of America’s Top Dog Model ® brand since 2005, and her unique approach to discovering, developing and managing top dog models has gained international attention. America’s Top Dog Model’s new reality series “How to Get to the Top” will launch on YouTube in August. www.americastopdogmodel.com.

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Traveling to London

Posted on 11 July 2019 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

Thinking of getting away sometime soon? Why not hop across the pond to merry ol’ England like I recently did. If you have never been there, you may be in for a surprise. London is a bustling urban scene. It feels much like New York with Washington D.C. mixed in, and the people are nicer. With tourism season starting, this place is a madhouse with people crowding the streets in many areas.

There are so many things to see in the London area. Everywhere you turn, there is a historical monument, statue or plaque. Plus, there is a huge amount of construction. All those historical buildings need maintaining, and they are building more. The Big Ben was completely under scaffolding minus the clock face. (Big Ben is not the actual name of the clock. It is the bell!) It is called the Westminster Clock because that is the borough it is in. (The Westminster area is a great place to stay as many things are in walking distance).

If you get tired of walking, jump on a Hop On, Hop Off Bus and get a tour and a lift at the same time. Double Decker buses are everywhere.

Most choose the subway. The subway stations are huge and involve a lot of walking and stairs (some elevators are available). Even going down a 15 story escalator can be daunting. To get the best deal, buy a refillable Oyster Card. The subway route can be confusing but ask an employee and they will steer you in the right direction. If you are going longer distances, grab a train, a coach or take a boat ride on the Thames.

So what should you do while there? Here are a few choices:

Westminster Abbey — Consecrated in 1065 by Edward the Confessor, this huge structure has seen multiple renovations through the years. On one side, there are statues of martyrs from the 20th Century, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Inside, 17 monarchs have been buried inside, including, Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots, next to each other, and so many others, from Charles Dickens to Stephen Hawking. One of the most prized possessions here is the original throne of Edward the Confessor. FYI: They don’t allow you to take pictures inside.

St. Paul’s Cathedral — This is where Princess Di and Prince Charles got married. It is stunningly beautiful. Diana’s train was made so long in order to “fill the space” in the enormous church. Grab a cup of tea at the nearby cafe in the courtyard.

Buckingham Palace — The palace with 775 rooms is certainly worth seeing. It is usually open to the public from the end of July to September. Many rush to see the Changing of the Guard, but you may be underwhelmed. The crowds are intense and being able to get close to the action is difficult.

Parliament — The tour is very informative. You can learn a lot about the government and history. It is a lot to absorb. Many areas do not allow pictures.

Tower of London — Save yourself plenty of time to go here because it is not just one tower; it is many. It can involve a lot of steep winding stairs and long lines to see key areas like the crown jewels. Make sure to take a picture of the wonderful ravens. The White Tower is filled with shields, swords, armor and artillery. But there are plenty of other towers to explore. Eat nearby at the Hung, Drawn & Quartered. There is a great church nearby too called All Hallows by the Tower, founded in 675 AD.

The Globe Theatre — Fans of the bard will want to go to the recreation of the theater that once was the setting for Shakespeare’s classic plays. It is fairly cheap to get a tour and you can also buy tickets for performances here.

The Shard — This skyscraper is 95 stories. There is a charge to go to the top, but they have several restaurants you can visit for free. Grab a bite to eat and get an amazing view from the top of the world. Restaurants tend to be on the pricier side. This is a good time to get dressed up. Bring your camera and go during the day for the best views. FYI: Right now, sunset is about 9:30 p.m. So you have plenty of daylight.

The London Eye — This huge Ferris wheel offers another great view for a 30 pound price (40 pounds for fast track past the lines). There are 32 capsules, one for each borough in London.

Harrods — A must-do, this store is huge. They have anything you could want here, including amazing high end fashions and a to-die-for food section with chocolates, pastries, mushrooms, truffles, caviar, meats, fish, breads, you name it… as well as a great selection of teas, of course. They also offer tea time in the store and have various options available. They do have a dress code. (Another great place for shopping is Oxford Street, as well as Picadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square).

Museums — There are so many museums in London and many of them are free! The National Gallery is a gem with pretty much every artist you can think of from Leonardo Da Vinci to Monet and more. If you prefer modern art, head to the Tate Modern. Go to the 6th floor for a great view of the Thames! There are also science and history museums. The British Museum, filled with Egyptian statues and other antiquities, has a great gift shop and café area.

Markets — There are some great markets here, including the Borough Market, where they have jellies, cheeses, wines, tea, pastries, cookies, fudge, seafood, sausages, curries and more. Next door are so many places to walk up and buy cooked food too. Good luck finding a chair though and it is quite crowded. But there are plenty of samples. Covenant Garden’s Apple Market has handmade clothing and crafts. There are many great shops and restaurants nearby, including the Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop, a small store that has been around over 100 years (Also, find Hamley’s seven-story Toy Store on Regent Street).

Parks — There are so many great small and huge parks here like Hyde Park and St. James Park. Huge pelicans, ducks, geese and pelicans abound, as well as beautiful trees, lush green grass and gardens.

International foods — There are many different food options here. Most pubs are centered around fish and chips, and meat or chickpea pies, it seems, which are tasty, but there are plenty of restaurants that offer global fare, from Italian to Middle Eastern. There is even a Chinatown. The Indian food is out of this world! If you like dessert, try the delicious sticky toffee pudding.

Outside of London

There are so many great spots around London that did not even get mentioned here. A short drive away and you can visit a castle, head to Stratford Upon Avon to see where Shakespeare grew up, see the majestic architecture of Oxford, where there are 39 colleges, and much more. Families must go to the Warner Brothers Studio to see where Harry Potter was filmed. I spent four hours and it was not enough. Adults will really enjoy this too as it is more informational than anything else. You learn about every aspect of making the movie – props, sets, costumes and plenty of secrets. There are interactive components to add to the fun for kids too. Make sure to get a Butter Beer! It tastes like butterscotch soda with some sort of whip cream on top.

Spending time in London was a dream come true and we packed a lot of sightseeing into nine days, but there was so much more to see. I can totally understand the sentiment of Samuel Johnson, the writer of the first dictionary, who famously said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

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