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Phoenyx, the Australian pooch who backpacks across Europe with his mum

german spitz standing in front of european building dog-happy
© phoenyxthetravellingfluff - Instagram

Travelling around the world is a dream for many people. But oftentimes, we are told by society that we must have “no strings attached” to do so.

By Justine Seraphin

Published on the 16/06/2020, 12:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:27

That’s why most people who go on backpacking adventures are alone - no kids, no pets, no relationships. But Phoenyx the German Spitz and his mum beg to differ.

A long-lasting friendship

Samantha Nichols, a legal assistant from Brisbane, Australia, met Phoenyx four years ago when he was just a tiny pup.

“While holding him up to look at him for the first time, he half opened his eyes and licked my nose. It was love at first lick!”

So, despite her dreams to travel around Europe, Sam decided to adopt him. She realised she would have to put a little more work into planning her trip, but she was determined to go, and to bring Phoenyx along too.


A post shared by Sam Nicholls (@phoenyxthetravellingfluff) on

An incredible journey

Since leaving Australia nearly 2 years ago, Sam, her partner, and Phoenyx have travelled to 16 European countries and counting! The trio mainly travel by train, both a simpler and cheaper option when touring with a pooch.

From Switzerland to the Netherlands, from Scotland to Croatia, this pup has certainly seen more than your average pet.

“We experienced snow for the first time in Budapest. Coming from a place with no snow, this was an experience for us all. Phoenyx absolutely loved running through the snow as due to his extra fluffy coat, he enjoys the cooler temperatures.”

A post shared by Sam Nicholls (@phoenyxthetravellingfluff) on

Tips from an experienced traveller

Are you thinking of taking your pooch along on trips too? Well that’s all good and well, but Sam tells us there are a few things you should keep in mind if you do.

Indeed, you can’t just make things up as you go along. Travelling with a dog means you need to plan everything in advance. From finding dog friendly hotels, to making sure you can abide to travel companies’ rules, there are lots of things to think about!

Additionally, your dog should be well trained and socialised before you take the leap. If you want to visit a museum, for example, you’ll have to leave Rover at the hotel, so he’d better not suffer from separation anxiety! Furthermore, a good understanding of basic commands, knowing how to heel, and having a strong recall are all important to ensure safe travels in all sorts of situations. And it goes without saying that having a small-sized, confident dog helps!


A post shared by Sam Nicholls (@phoenyxthetravellingfluff) on

But if you can deal with the complicated stuff, the payoff of taking a dog with you is huge!

“I met a lot of great people on my trip as they were curious about [Phoenyx] and we bonded through him. Phoenyx has been a hit with a lot of people and gotten a huge amount of attention. We can't walk down the street without someone looking at him, or wanting to pat him and ask questions about his travels.”

Yep, his good looks and awesome personality have made Phoenyx a bit of a star in Europe. In fact, since he’s started his wandering lifestyle, he’s gained over 2k followers on Instagram!


A post shared by Sam Nicholls (@phoenyxthetravellingfluff) on

Phoenyx and his family will soon be returning to Australia, but with them, they take an innumerable amount of amazing memories. And we are sure their travelling days aren’t over!