Welcome to the world of Vanlife with pets. Imagine you waking up your tiny home on wheels, looking out to a lake with with turquoise blue water, with every comfort you need in your van tiny home. Bliss, right? Now consider that same scenario but waking up with your dog or cat lying by your feet. Seriously, can it get any better?
We are lucky to be living in an age where travelling with pets isn’t an uncommon sight. You’ll often hear of people taking their animals on holidays with them – after all, some pets to people are more family than, well, family! And thanks to digital nomadism being at its peak, you can work remotely from anywhere, making vanlife more accessible to not just the holidayer, but also the working traveller. The digital nomad, some would say! And it’s a no brainer to know that vanlife becomes extremely special when you enjoy your time on wheels with your dog by your side.
Imagine vanlife with a cat snuggled up beside you in bed as you listen to the waves crash on the beach, or your dog lying at your feet as you play guitar at night, with shooting stars your only other company. Sounds exciting right?
How do you live in a van with pets?
If you are wondering whether vanlife with a dog or cat is tough, then fear not. It’s surprisingly easy and fun to travel and live with your pet. Aside from a few considerations (space requirements, storage requirements, travel restrictions in national parks, limited time leaving animal in van), it’s remarkably easy and definitely doable.
If you have already started planning to travel with a dog or cat, the first thing you need to consider is what type of camper you will need. You’ll need something that has ample space for your pet to walk or move around. If your camper van doesn’t have enough space to travel or sleep in, you’re not really setting yourself up for an enjoyable experience for either yourself or your pet. Also – remember space can vary depending on what pet you have. Dogs tend to need more space than cats due to their sheer size (plus, cats seem to be able to maneuver pretty much around anything!)
It’s challenging enough packing your life into your van’s storage compartments – and travelling with a pet makes it that much more difficult. Pets need items like bedding, food, water bowls, treats, leashes, poop bags, pet first aid kids…. the list goes on. Make sure you plan your van storage with your pets requirements in mind. It might mean sacrificing one of your cupboards for your pet’s travel gear. Though – a small price to pay to have your best bud by your side for your van adventure.
Some of the best camper van conversions we have seen have temperature control built in as pets don’t like too much change in temperature. While humans can get by with being frustrated and angry at the searing heat crossing the Nullabor, or the freezing winter temperatures that Tassie can bring, your dog or cat may not be able to brush off their heat or chill woes as easily. To protect yourself and your pet from discomfort of freezing temperatures, or heat and possible dehydration, a few things need to be considered in your van build. These include, Installing a vent fan to keep fresh, cool air circulating throughout your vehicle; attaching reflective window coverings so that the heat absorbed through their glass is deflected; encouraging your pet to drink plenty of water and keeping their bowl water-filled.
Depending on where you travel, some national parks don’t allow animals in, to protect the native flora and fauna. After all, we can’t have an excited cat taking out the last remaining critically endangered Smokey Mouse… That won’t go down well on social media. With this in mind, particularly in Australia, you may need to alter your travel routes or find someone to pet-sit your four legged pal while you check out some national parks. This can be a burden on you (having to drop off and pick up your pet before and after your national park travel), and a sad experience for your pet, who might be confused and sad staying with strangers when all they want is to hang with you, their best bud. That being said, if you are determined to go to a national park that doesn’t allow pets, you should definitely abide by the national park rules and find alternative accommodation for your pet during your visit. Not only can you receive a hefty find if you try to sneak them in, you’ll also be a bit of a tosser.
Other travel restrictions you have to consider is that if you want to spend a few hours away from your van in a place that pets aren’t allowed (eg, visiting amusement parks, day of wine tasting day, visiting beaches that don’t allow dogs), you need to seriously consider the safety of your pet locked in your van for those hours. If your van heats up quickly on a warm day, it may not be safe for your animal to stay in the van for more than an hour or so (if that!).
Now, let’s dive into the top 20 vanlifers who absolutely nail vanlife with pets.
The top 20 Vanlife with Pets accounts you will love
If you plan to take your cat or dog with you on your vanlife journey then we seriously recommend you follow these 20 accounts for an insight into how to build the best camper van for dogs or cats, and what to do to ensure you have an amazing time travelling with your pets.
Our Home on Wheels
This blog is about Giddi and Jace. They enjoy their vanlife with a dog who is named Lotus and have a baby named Juniper. They purchased a van in 2016 and converted it into one of the best camper vans we’ve seen – especially considering they have a dog living in it with them as well! They started their first journey with just USD 40 in their pockets, and have travelled all the way from Alaska to Baja, Mexico – selling their homemade jewellery and collaborating with other vanlife brands through social media. While this hasn’t made them millionaires, they’ve certainly got a money-can’t-buy life as they followed their dreams. Jace had always wanted to travel in a van with a dog around the world and is enjoying every bit of it.
Little Juniper explores her surroundings interacting with different people, she is not a shy and reserved infant but she enjoys her childhood getting immersed in the experiences her parents take her on. Their freedom to move wherever, whenever they want, and explore the world and meet new people, make new friends, and taste different cuisines keeps them going!
Blog : https://ourhomeonwheels.com
Irie to Aurora
This is about Dustin, Naomi and Amara, the three adventurous musketeers who are enjoying living in a van with their dog. The couple have been traveling the open road in their Volkswagen Westy who they named as Irie since 2016. Since then, they welcomed little Amara into the world, adjusting to vanlife with another person in the van, and the even newer experience of life as a parent. Their passion for travel, exploring farmers’ markets, and spending time nature is made possible thanks to the freedom and flexibility of vanlife.
So how did they get started in vanlife? Pre – 2016, they travelled to New Orleans where they realized that they were bored with their conventional lives. They made the decision to sell everything they had and bought their camper and hit the road.
Blog : https://irietoaurora.com
Monique and Jasper are the Australian couple behind Salty Travellers. You’ll find them travelling across Australia in their fitted-out van (Troopy) with their dog, Bowie.
This fun-loving couple are true adventure seekers and enjoying their life travelling in a van with their pet dog, and their Instagram feed proves it. They’ve done it all! You can keep up to date with their latest adventures over on Instagram and get their best tips for vanlife with pets on their blog. For them, camping isn’t the same if it’s not the three of them enjoying it all together. So, if there’s one thing they get excited about whilst living on the road, it is finding those amazing camp spots where Bowie can enjoy it with tem. They share stories of their experiences, from snorkelling pristine reefs, to remote fishing, and basking in the soft glow of a campfire in some of the most beautiful and remote areas around Australia.
Andrew Muse is a multi-sport athlete and an awesome photographer. After a devastating car accident, he lost everything, including his best friend (his dog Booter) and his truck camper which was his tiny house on wheels. But he did not give up hope, Andrew rebuilt it from the ground up and converted a van into another tiny home on wheels.
He adopted a new pup, Kicker, spent a few weeks quickly building out the van’s interior, and headed to Alaska to film another six-month, 12-episode adventure series for his youtube channel. They travelled to Alaska, and Kicker became a full-blown adventure dog. Follow them for lots of adventure – and of course, glimpses of how to absolutely nail vanlife with a dog.
Brianna is a self-proclaimed desert dweller who lives in her converted van with her dogs, Bucket, Birdie and Dags. Her Instagram feed is one long adventure with her three companions always involved. If you’re looking to binge on epic vanlife pictures, her Instagram is the one to follow.
Blog : https://www.briannamadia.com
This blog is quite interesting – about a rescued cat who travelled in and around Australia in a campervan. After 10 years of corporate life, Rich thought of designing a life he had always dreamed of, so he quit job, sold his house and all his possessions to travel around Australia with his wife Steph & adventure cat in a campervan.
They detail tips and tricks about how to make the travelling with a cat easy and fun. And while they laugh, explore and enjoy their life in a campervan, they are honest about the hardships that come along with living in a van. From the frustrations of living with a cat in a van 24*7, to earning money for the livelihood of three – it’s not always easy. They also detail how they manage the monthly expenses like fuel, food, van costs, phone bills and more on their website.
Blog : https://www.vancatmeow.com
This is the story of Corey, Emily and their rescue dogs Penny Rose and Bella Luna living in their 80 square feet 1987 VW Vanagon named Boscha. Their vanlife with pets started since 2013. According to them they decided to live in a van because of three reasons – Adventure, simplicity, and to pay off a debt. Vanlife has given them the freedom, feasibility, and inspiration to travel constantly and enjoy every moment.
They have covered 200,000 miles and 49 states, while making friends that feel like family over the years. Their adventurous experiences, from mountain biking, surfing , snorkelling , doing yoga by the mountains will definitely inspire every person who wants to start their campervan and hit the road.
Blog : http://wheresmyofficenow.com
Alison quit her corporate job in America to experience live her dream with her rescue dog Max and Cooper the rescue pup. They are living on the road enjoying her vanlife with a dog and wandering the country. She takes portraits of the people she comes across as well as beautiful photographs of things she comes across. Her experience in Ireland in a campervan is very exciting and enriching.
Kathleen’s channel is a must to follow if you are planning to embark on vanlife with pets. Apart from documenting her own story, Kathleen also reaches to other tiny home owners and shares their stories with the world too. With her adventure dog, Kathleen experiments in tiny living and she really hopes to inspire all to get outside and explore.
She is the author of a photography book that focuses on lifestyles of the vanlife community including interviews and essential advice for living on the road. With more than 200 photos of these tiny rolling homes, it’s an exceptional insight into the lifestyle that has taken the world by storm. Her book features a range of vanifers who have ditched their corporate lives and conventional houses for the freedom of the road, highlighting the beauty of the outdoors, their pets, and their converted vans and buses–VWs, Sprinters, Toyotas, and more. Within the book, she shares the stories of these nomads and how they decided to pursue vanlife through interviews and excerpts, providing practical tips and inspiration for downsizing, finding and converting the vehicle, and working and living on the road.
Noel is a wildly curious and wonderfully creative person who loves to wander the world with her partner and two rescue mutts in tow. She lives part-time in her self-designed converted camper van for dogs, named Francis Ford Campola, and call the Bay Area her basecamp. Her experience living in a van with dogs is extremely exciting and she shares some wonderful tips to check before hitting the road.
They share few mandatory things to carry if you are considering travelling with your pet, as well as some really nice tips on how to treat your dog and feel them secure in the van so that they are happy. Noel’s book Vanlife’s Diaries is a must read for all enthusiasts before your start planning for campervan.
Always the Road
Pete, Taylor and Snoop their furry friend -this is the story of Always The Road. These are two innate adventure seekers who decided to ditch the conventional path and buy a sprinter van converting it into a mobile home and travel wherever roads will take them. They have been on the road full-time with their little pup Snoop, and are an inspirational couple to follow.
Pete suffers from Crohn’s disease, but it did not hold him back from fulfilling his dreams and his ambition to travel and see the world on his terms. While travelling with such disease is uncomfortable and tough, his blog details his experience in such a positive light, it encourages people to travel and push through the obstacles and difficulties they might face.
Lets Play Ride and Seek
Natalie and Abigail Rodriguez known as Nat & Abi with pets Bear (13 year old pitbull mix) and Peluche (10 year old German spitz) enjor their time living in a van with their dogs. They have been living and traveling in their van, going on 3 years now, with no plans to stop anytime soon.
So far they have taken their dogs to 2 countries and they plan to do more international travel with them. Their goal is to travel from Alaska to Argentina- definitely a couple to follow for your #vanlife fix over the next few years.
Anik and Tom
In summer of 2015, Anik and Tom decided to hit the road in their vintage van to start their campervan life. Their journey began with Jett, a 6-year-old Boston Terrier who loves people and their 2 year old Sheltie named West.
Living and travelling in a van with two pets is a challenge but in the morning to see them so excited to go on an adventure always makes their day. Their pets are a source of oxygen to them which makes their lifestyle fulfilling and exciting. In their blog they explain their experiences of vanlife with a dog so well that anyone interested will definitely be encouraged.
This account follows Jayme and John and their two dogs- Nymeria and Deliah, and their van chariot “Gnomie”. They love traveling, new experiences, exploring the outdoors, and finding little joys in life. In 2016 they decided to sell everything they owned, moved into a van, and started their adventure travelling with their pet dogs in 2017.
They drove from the East Coast to the West Coast and back again several times. They witnessed incredible beauty, went on crazy adventures, met an amazing community of nomads, and grew deeply as human beings. They have a baby now so they are not full time on the road but soon they will be out on the road for long stretches, this time with a baby in tow.
Slow Car Fast Home
This is a couple blogger Danielle and Tommy travelling full time with their two dogs-Missy and Trip. Their RV Travels taken them across almost all of the lower 50 states in the United States (they wish to visit Alaska in the near future!), all over Canada, and spent two months camping up and down Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.
This campervan story is about Izzy, Laurie & Bear their pet and they love all things adventure both big and small. Whether it’s detailing the different elements of the van build, the exciting road trips that follow, or the activities they get involved in, from rock climbing, hiking or outback cooking, they live for the moments on the road.
Beelzebus is all about Katja and Björn, a Sweden couple and their adorable pet dog Balthazar. In 2019 they made the decision of selling their possessions and living their dream life of travelling in a van tiny home with their pet dog. The couple travel in their self-converted Mercedes Benz 508D named as ‘Beelzebus’. Katja and Björn also own and run an online store to bring an income in while they are on the road.
Francesca and Nicholas have been living full-time in a converted school with their three cute pups – Sullivan, Magoo, and Murphy, for almost two years. Francesca is a social media manager, and Nicholas a software sales person, so their industries give them the freedom to work from anywhere.
Chasing the Wild Goose
Brie and Shawn, travel lovers decided to wander the world in their DIY Sprinter Van and never stop. They work remotely and live in on the road, travelling with their two dogs, Remi and Jax. Their website is loaded with useful content on van conversions, earning livlihood on the road, and easy tips of vanlife with dogs.
Jupiter & The Hot Dogs
If you’re after an Instagram feed to uplift your mood that is full of fun filled moments, then you absolutely must follow Jupiter and the Dogs. Jupiter has re-fitted a RV and is travelling with their best friends, Apollo and Zeus. If you are keen to see vanlife queer POV then this is the perfect handle and you can enjoy their journey of the backcountry of the American West. It’s also a really solid follow for anyone looking to build out their own ride/home as they go.