“Important for them to see more than the backyard”
Mélanie Demi, 26, and her husband, Albert, 27, account manager, dreamed of traveling Europe with their three dogs – Great Dane Lucas, two, Golden retrieverCooper, 15, and Dachshund mix, Brooklyn, six.
To achieve their goal, the couple saved $45,000 over two years, which also meant selling all of their possessions, including their car, to fund their adventure.
After shelling out for their private jet – alongside other pet lovers who all took part – the couple flew from Austin, Texas to Paris, France in September.
The couple and their dogs have since visited six countries, including France, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, England and Scotland. Once in Europe, they rent cars and travel by train from country to country.
The jetsetters, who work remotely and stay in dog-friendly Airbnbs, have now been on the road for four months. However, they plan to continue their journey until November 2023, before returning home to Austin.
Of this once-in-a-lifetime journey, Melanie, media marketing consultant and content creator, said, “Bringing the dogs from the United States to Europe took so much planning, but we couldn’t let them go. home – we want to see the world with them. We planned our own charter trip and managed to find 10 other people traveling to Europe with their dogs.”
“It took three months of planning and cost $11,000 per person and over $100,000 for the entire flight,” she continued. “We saved about $45,000 over two years and sold everything we had to be able to afford it.
“But now the dogs have seen Paris, Prague, Vienna, and we plan to tour the Scottish Highlands. I think the dogs really appreciate that.
However, Melanie said people on social media often ask why the couple didn’t just leave the dogs at home.
“Dogs may not know where they are, but they love to explore new places and it’s about having them around and making memories,” she explained. “Sitting at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and seeing them rolling around in the grass, or at the Christmas markets where they have lots of pets, or running around on the beach in Edinburgh, it’s just amazing. “
Melanie and Albert decided to take their dogs on a transatlantic adventure in May 2020, when they started saving and planning their trip.
They traveled 3,000 miles across America – from Texas to New York – before the couple and their canine companions boarded a specially mapped private jet from New York to Paris, France.
As to why they didn’t travel via cruise or by placing the dogs in the cargo hold, the couple explained that Great Dane Lucas was deemed too heavy to travel as cargo and the only pet-friendly cruise liner didn’t did not accept his race.
The couple also considered boarding other private planes to Portugal or London, England, but neither date worked out for them.
Eventually, they took the plunge and chartered their own private jet for others traveling with dogs – at a total cost of $102,000.
Melanie said: “I knew how much work it was going to take to find people who wanted to do the same and I’m a very busy person with basically two full time jobs. To book the flight we had to ask people to send the money and that’s a lot of money to ask someone to send when you only talked on Facebook.
After touching down in France, the couple and their pooches now spend their days exploring and adventuring – working remotely in the evenings.
Melanie said: “Being able to travel in general is something I’m very grateful for, but doing it with the dogs makes me very lucky. There are times when I catch them staring and I feel like they take it all in.
“I have a video of my Great Dane resting his head on Charles Bridge in Prague and it looks like he’s figuring it all out. I think they’re happy wherever we go,” he said. she continued, adding that the couple had a “rule of two big adventures a week with the dogs — like taking them to the beach.”
“All I care about is that they live their best life,” she said.
However, Melanie admitted traveling with dogs and their extra luggage can be difficult, and that the couple have tried to donate items they don’t need as they go.
She said: “Moving from place to place with the dogs made me realize that we have too many things to fit on a train for example. We tried to donate clothes as we went – I gave a full suitcase to a friend. We already had to take two cars for the dogs and the luggage.
Melanie and Albert are currently in Edinburgh, Scotland having a busy year of sightseeing before returning home to Texas.
They plan to travel to the French Riviera, before heading to Italy’s wine region and stopping in Florence. Continuation to Croatia and Kosovo, with a stopover in Albania to visit Albert’s family.
Finally, they will go to Oktoberfest in Germany and the Rugby World Cup in France. “There’s so much to see,” Melanie said. “There’s something so amazing about renting a car and driving from one country to another.”