A Road Trip from Kent to Edinburgh with our Cat

As most of you reading this will no doubt know it's been the plan for the past three months for me and our cat to join my husband, who was already living and working there, up in Edinburgh. Last week I finished my short term contract and the time came for our road trip and big move north.

Back when we were first thinking and planning this we decided for a few reasons that trying to drive all the way from Kent to Edinburgh in one day may be a little foolhardy. Primarily precisely because we would have a generally, very vocal in the car, cat with us. But then came the dilemma of where to stay overnight. I was no expert at all but have always had the impression this is a great deal easier to do if you're travelling with a dog. Places seem to be a lot more tolerant of dogs and, I guess, it's a lot more common for people to travel with their dogs. However, I reasoned that we couldn't be the first people to need to do this for some reason and there must be options. I asked around amongst friends and did some Internet research which did give me a few sites listing dog and cat friendly options. Indeed one place I looked at offered all sorts of extras for your pet and a special menu for them to make their stay all the more pleasant. However we were just using it as a base for the night so I figured it didn't need to be too flash. Then a friend mentioned Travelodge and that she was pretty sure they took pets. If so this would be perfect for our needs! A quick check later and yes they did indeed take pets with guests. We booked a Travelodge, at Lancaster on the M6, we didn't need anything special as I've said, just somewhere to sleep, and then we waited for moving weekend to arrive.

George (our cat) as I said has always been quite a vocal car passenger both on his short journeys to our vet in Singapore and on the journey from Heathrow back to Kent when he arrived in the UK earlier this year. We fully expected the same from him, one of the reasons we figured a stopover somewhere was a good idea. However, almost as if he knew this journey was going to be a long one he got himself exceptionally stressed out on the journey up to Lancaster, worse than I've ever known him do so before sadly. We stopped along the journey to get some refreshments and take a comfort stop and whilst my husband was buying coffees I let him out of his crate in the car for a little while. In a very un-George like way he was straight in my arms and burrowed as far into me as he could possibly get. We did feel bad.

Still quite relaxed at this point

In the hotel room - not impressed

Our arrival at the hotel couldn't have come soon enough and at that point I was incredibly glad we had made the decision to break the journey instead of attempt it all in one go. Of course in typical cat fashion George quickly got over his upset from the journey but proceeded to punish us for the evening by hiding under the bed. Eventually though hunger got the better of him and he did venture out, though he was incredibly jumpy at any noise from the corridor. We could hear dogs in rooms close to ours so I guess that all guests with pets get placed in the same section of the hotel. A good idea but in hindsight I guess the hotel probably smelt of a multitude of strange things to him, maybe even of the other dogs or cats so no wonder he was so nervous.

I admit I didn't exactly relish the thought of having to continue the journey the next day but I could reassure myself that this part was a lot shorter than the first section and once we got to our destination that was it. Luckily George was a lot calmer on day two and it was only on the very last bit of the journey that he became stressed again. We came to the conclusion that the bumpy roads and stop start nature of driving in towns etc. was the cause whereas motorways meant for a far smoother ride and were therefore less stressful. But in all honesty we'll never really know what caused it.

Thankfully although George and I have only been in our new place a couple of days and we still don't have our furniture from our shipment (a tale for another day perhaps) George has settled in remarkably well and is up to all his usual tricks. Would I do it again? The chances are high that we will have to at some point but we'll deal with that when it happens. It did make me glad that I couldn't see him on his flight from Singapore to the UK though and I hope that perhaps next time he'll do better. Would I recommend a hotel stay with your pet at Travelodge? Absolutely, I was so glad and grateful that they took all pets (not just dogs) whilst it may not be an everyday occurrence there are occasions, just like ours, where it's a necessity and given how upset he got himself I couldn't have imagined doing that length of journey again all in one hit. I think this was my first ever stay at a Travelodge and whilst I didn't think it was amazing, if all you need is somewhere to rest after a day's travelling with your pet then they are a good solution.

George back to his old self once again (yes he's sat on top of the shower, this is normal honest!)


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