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Review of a road trip with a rented Hertz Tesla and a road map made by Bodzin Pet Travel Solutions

In March, our head of barketing Peru and I flew to Florida to test out the PadsPass prototype on a trip from Bermuda. At the time, the only direct flight was to Miami but our destination was on the Space Coast of Florida about 3 hours north of Miami. As this was Peru’s second set of flights, I opted for the direct flight to Miami instead of putting him through a connecting flight path to ensure he had the best experience possible.

Putting a dog’s needs first in travel helps create better travel experiences and avoid ‘never events’ like being unable to board a connecting flight in a city that’s nowhere near your final destination. 

I got a deal through Delta to rent with Hertz, a company I had not rented with in quite a while. Traveling with my last dog Pads for over 10 years, I was always concerned that rental agencies would just say NO to me and a dog. So naturally I would do what any pet parent would do and avoid showing up at the counter with a dog. This usually meant my partner would be sitting with the dog somewhere while I got the rental vehicle. 

However, upon building the PadsPass prototype, I learned most car rental companies have gotten with the times, and pets are permitted provided they don’t cause damage or excessive cleaning after the rental. 

How times have changed from my first days of renting a car with a dog. 

With Hertz in Miami, the collection process was pretty human-free as we got to select our Tesla of choice on our own. It took a little bit of time to set up with my phone and get used to it. It then took a little more time to change out to a new Tesla because the original had a flat tire. I was just grateful it was caught before leaving the parking lot. In the end, we hit the road much later than anticipated and without full knowledge of how the charging and the car work. 

That was when I discovered the first missing piece to the PadsPass puzzle - coordinating your road trip for your travel schedule and your dog. 

The Tesla directs you to charging spots with enough time to charge along your journey, but I didn’t know that upon first renting it. That was the only drawback to the Hertz hands-off approach to car rental - I didn’t have any conversation with a Hertz human about what to expect when renting an all-electric car. 

I did appreciate the pet mode though, that allows the air conditioner to remain on while the car is locked. I was able to do this while at a rest stop and with one quick break, I got 30% more charge at a supercharger station. Not bad. 

I made it to the Space Coast just as the sun was setting to have dinner with my family before heading to the hotel to check-in. I was staying at the Candlewood Suites about 30 minutes away from them because I was able to stay there for free with a good deal using points and it was dog-friendly. I also prefer to have some more options like a kitchenette when I travel because it makes things like preparing dog food less of a struggle.

For $20 a night, my head of barketing could rest his head soundly with me along with some other dogs we met there like a terrier named Nacho and a shitzu named Emmy. The only request from the hotel was that the dogs enter and exit through the stairwell doors, which led conveniently to the dog relief area and a parking lot. It also had an accessible printer for that all-important piece of paper I had to obtain - the Bermuda Animal Import Permit. 

Read more about the PadsPass prototype test and airline experience in previous articles.

If you read our previous articles from this trip, you’ll have learned all the travel logistic details that went into it, except for this never event that occurred - post-dinner food allergy reaction experienced by this human. It began almost immediately after dinner on Wednesday night. I was grateful I did not have to do the 3-hour drive back to Miami until Friday, but I could hardly walk without feeling dizzy and was rendered useless all day.  

Reflecting on how unprepared I was for the drive-up, I reached out to my friend Aliza, a pet travel solutions expert, and asked her if she’d be willing to do a small consultation for me to produce a simple pet and tesla-friendly road trip back down to Miami. With the hope I’d be able to eat the next day, I wanted to try to meet a friend for lunch but didn’t have time or clarity that day to figure out where and what made the most sense. She’s great at figuring out all things pet and travel, and she made me confident I could hit the road the next day.

She created a custom road trip map with a couple of different lunch options, with nearby parking with charging stations in them so I could re-charge and avoid fees upon returning the car. All of this was summarised in a helpful overview of it in a loom video, which was about all I could handle in my current state. 

Feeling up to the drive the next day, I printed off the import permit before checking out of the hotel. Peru and I fueled up at the drive-through one last time: me with a coffee and a pup cup for Peru.

Traffic kept us from a lovely dog-friendly lunch, but the drive was smooth and stress-free knowing where I could stop for charging the car and for walkies. We dropped off at Hertz, where the woman saw Peru exit the car and she smiled at him. I got the receipt moments later without any issues of additional cleaning and even got some money back for an early return. 

Takeaways from this trip:

  • Never events happen. Whether it be a flat tire or a food allergy and these can directly impact your travels with your dog. There is usually a cost involved in these never events, which is why making dog-friendly choices like changeable flights or hiring a pet travel expert like Aliza can ensure your financial impact and the physical impact is as minimal as possible in those times. 

  • Weather has an impact on your travel choices. It only takes minutes for a dog to overheat in a car because they don’t have sweat glands. Many places do not allow you to bring a dog inside like at rest stops or restaurants. Even in March in Florida, the Tesla pet mode was necessary, but also made it easy to stop at supercharge stations knowing I could leave my dog in the car safely, charge the car, and go into the rest stop to do what I needed as well. 

  • Most major car rental companies like Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise allow car rentals with dogs without any issues and only some may have additional cleaning fees. One thing to keep in mind - your driver’s license name and credit card name must match in some instances to be allowed to rent a car. If for some reason yours do not, try pre-paying for the rental in advance or be sure to speak with the rental agency ahead of time so you’re not stuck. 

  • Driving breaks are good for those with two legs and four and I didn't have any charging issues that weren't easily handled with a needed rest stop break.

If you’re interested in learning more about our colleague Aliza and her work, visit her new website at

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