Hide COVID19 Information - Stay safe and well

Aussie House Sitters

The largest pet & house sitting site in Australia

The pros and cons of travelling with a dog

Feature photo: The pros and cons of travelling with a dog

In 2018, Michelle and Graham from the NSW South Coast put their retirement plan into action.

They packed up their home, rented it out, hitched up the caravan, and together with their Maltese cross, Bella, they headed off. For the next three years, they travelled around Australia; exploring, house sitting and picking up work along the way.

Because the trip was planned as a long-term adventure, Michelle and Graham knew leaving Bella behind was never an option. She made a wonderful travel companion, but there were certain considerations that the couple had to make to accommodate her. It took Bella a little while to get used to life in the caravan. ‘She was a little apprehensive at first,’ Michelle says, ‘but within a month, she was loving it. It was familiar, and she always had a lot of time outside – whether it was at caravan parks, or at the house sits we did – there was always time for playing with Bella, and she loved it.’

Unexpected challenges of travelling with a dog

‘The biggest challenge for Bella was the heat,’ says Michelle. ‘We started the trip in April and the first few months in Victoria were cool. But after that, heading into Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and travelling inland in many places – we had some really, really hot days.’ Being a Maltese/Poodle cross, Bella’s fur grows quite quickly so finding someone to clip her was challenging, especially when they only stayed in places for a short time. 

‘Locals were always helpful; someone was usually able to point us in the right direction. Once, we met a woman who had set up a business especially for elderly people, or travellers like us, who might normally struggle to get a dog grooming appointment. She was brilliant – in fact, she was the best dog groomer I have ever found. I even drove two hours back to see her once we had moved on!’ Michelle says.

Person with dog standing on a footbridge surrounded by bushland

Making new doggie friends

The other challenge they had was exploring National Parks as dogs aren’t allowed in National Parks around Australia. But seeing the parks was a huge part of Graham and Michelle’s plans. During their trip, they mostly stayed at dog-friendly caravan parks, so they met many other people who were also travelling with dogs. This meant they could take turns in looking after each other’s dogs while the owners went out to explore. When Graham and Michelle headed out, they would leave Bella with her new doggie friends and get to visit the National Parks alone.

‘Many caravan parks actually have a dog sitter on site. It was an incredible service that we weren’t expecting. Perfect for anyone who is travelling with a dog,’ Graham explains.

During their stay in Margaret River, they found a local woman who charged $40 a day for dog sitting. She would even drop off and pick up the dogs, walk and play with them. This meant that Graham and Michelle were able to go on a tour of the wineries all day long (you can’t go to Margaret River and not do that!) knowing that Bella was in good hands. 

Finding opportunities to house sit while travelling

They also enjoyed the chance to do some house sitting along the way.

‘House sitting was a fantastic opportunity to have a break from the caravan and live in a home for a while,’ Michelle says.

‘At one of the houses there was a rescue dog called Ted, and while the owner was worried about how Ted would get along with Bella – after an initial meeting it was clear that the two of them would get along great, and we even called him Bella’s boyfriend for the rest of the trip!’

Person walking dog by a creek

Bella quickly took to the travel lifestyle just as much as her owners did. She loved sitting next to Graham while he went fishing, barking playfully at the fish he’d catch, and she loved relaxing in the sand at the beach. She got lots of social interaction with other people and dogs. ‘And we certainly got a lot out of having her travelling with us!’ Graham adds.

Check out the blog about Michelle and Graham's three-year caravan and house sitting adventures around Australia.

Absolutely incredible service! Put our house up for sitting yesterday afternoon, had several responses in less than 24 hours, have already met and engaged a delightful couple to sit our house. Thankyou!! Tim and Joan

More Sitter testimonials (268)