How To Travel With Your Dogs Using Bla Bla Car
One of the pitfalls of being a dog parent is having to leave them behind when traveling. And if one really has to take the dog along, the options are far and few in between. Flying dogs is still mired in confusion, very few airlines allow it, and even if they do there’s a lot of documentation involved. Plus, putting up a dog in a cage in the intimidating cargo hold of an airplane can be a traumatic experience for the dogs, sometimes even fatal.
Train is another option. There are multiple stories of people have successfully traveled with their dog in a train. The only way to do this is to book a first class coupe on the train which gives you a private cabin to yourself. This option is great for long distance journeys across India, even if expensive.
Another option of course is using your own car and doing a road trip if you own one. However, what if you, like me, are not into driving, or simply can’t do an out of city drive with your dog?
Enter BlaBlaCar – a ride sharing website/app that’s slowly gaining a foothold in India. It’s not only an economic option to share a ride, but great for the environment as well.
While for my own travels, I usually prefer the bus or fly, Blablacar has come to my rescue a number of times now to travel with my dogs. I have traveled solo with my 2 dogs from Hyderabad To Bangalore, and back, and both times have been great experiences.
Here’s few best practices to travel with your dog on Blablacar
Shortlist the rides with pets allowed
Firstly you need to look for a ride where the option “pets allowed” is not checked off. Those are obviously people that are not okay with traveling with a pet.
Send a personalised and detailed request
Shortlist the other rides that suit your day and time, and send them the Ride Offerer (RO) message. Try to include all details like how many people, how many pets, breed, habits, and requirements. You absolutely need to assure the RO that the dogs will behave, and offer to cover the car with protection and clean up after you.
Offer to pay for an extra seat or two when traveling with your pets
Typically ROs have a capacity to offer seats to upto 4 people. If you’re traveling with a dog, chances are noone else will be able to share the trip. So to make it financially feasible for the ride offerer, offer to pay for an extra seat for your dog. You need to book a seat online on Blablacar, and payments can either be made online or in person when you travel. As of now, Blablacar charges no commission or fees.
If your request is accepted, you need to be a responsible rider.
Be a considerate passenger
Make sure that you arrive at the pickup location with your dogs well in time. (if it’s difficult for you to meet at the place they’re starting at, you can request the RO to pick you up, if they’re okay with it.)
Cover the seats with a sheet or another protective material to ensure the seat is protected against fur, dust, dirt and other material that could mess up the seats. You need to remember that even though you’re sharing the ride by paying for it, you are solely responsible for your pets. If stepping down for a pee break, ensure that the dogs are secured and will not run away or cause any other problems. In the off chance, that the RO or another passenger is bitten by your dog, you need take responsibility and pay for the vaccinations.
Leave a good review after your ride
After your ride is done, ensure that you leave a nice review for your RO. It’s incredibly nice of an RO to allow a stranger, leave alone stranger’s dogs into the car, and leaving them a good feedback is the right thing to do.