For many people, pets are an integral part of the family, and it’s difficult to decide who will care for them when planning a vacation. Many pet owners decide to bring their pets along, and the tourism industry is starting to open their doors to accommodate them. As a result, it’s become much easier to find a wide variety of vacation rentals that are pet friendly, both domestically and internationally.
Before you get your heart set on taking your pet, however, thoroughly think this decision through. If your pet gets anxious or carsick when going to the vet, as much as you will miss him, he is probably not a good candidate to take on vacation. If your pet is not well-behaved in public, be sure to do some obedience training before you leave. The last thing you want is for your companion to become startled and run away in an unfamiliar city — you might wind up spending your entire vacation looking for him! Make sure he understands basic commands and will stay with you on a leash. You’ll also need to make sure your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations, and that his microchip and/or ID tag has your current contact information.
Now, to find some pet-friendly accommodations! You might be surprised to learn that many of the major hotel chains accept pets. Select locations of LaQuinta Inns & Suites, Red Roof Inn, Quality Inn, Best Western, and Motel 6 all welcome four-legged guests, but you’ll need to confirm that the one closest to your destination is a participating location. Since each hotel is different, talk to a representative about your particular pet, and understand all the hotel’s policies before booking a room. Some hotels will only accept pets up to a certain weight, or allow only one pet per room, no matter how tiny they are. Some may charge a refundable room deposit, while others will charge a room cleaning surcharge even if the room is left spotless. Other hotels charge an additional fee each night that you stay — either per pet or per room. You should also find out if your pet will be able to accompany you to the hotel’s restaurant, pool, and beach areas.
If hotels at your destination are not pet friendly, or if you prefer more freedom for yourself and your pet while on vacation, consider renting a pet-friendly condominium, townhouse, or private home. Many are available for short-term and long-term rental, and the owners will have individual policies about pets. You may be more likely to find an owner sympathetic to the needs of your pet than to find a hotel chain that meets all of your pet’s needs. And renting a condo or house for longer than 3 days is likely to be more economical than staying in a hotel for the same amount of time.
Pet friendly vacation rentals also make excellent resources for finding out where to take your pet in town. Ask for a list of local pet-friendly restaurants and find out if there’s a dog park or nature preserve nearby for them to romp around in. Be sure to research plenty of pet-inclusive activities in advance, or you could all end up sitting in the hotel room together! With a little advance planning, a vacation can be an extra-special experience for both you and your pet.