A trip away from home doesn’t have to mean leaving our best friend behind. Many hotels offer special pet amenities that make traveling easier than ever before — even allowing pets in rooms and suites where they wouldn’t normally fit. But how do you know which places are truly pet-friendly? And what should you consider when choosing a lodging option?
Traveling with your pet can be a wonderful adventure, but it isn’t always easy to determine if accommodation is really pet-friendly. To help you sort through all of your options, we’ve compiled this list of things to keep in mind when looking for pet-friendly accommodations.
First, let’s take a look at what to look for in more detail. Then we’ll talk about what factors to consider when picking a location to stay while you’re traveling. Is there an extra fee for bringing Fido?
Some hotels require additional fees for dogs, so check ahead of time if that applies to you. It may also be worth calling ahead to see if other guests bring their pets as well. If you’re planning to spend lots of time outside of your room, you might want to avoid a hotel that only allows dogs inside the building.
What to Look For?
It’s important to think beyond just price to select the right place to stay. Make sure you don’t pick a property based solely on cost alone. Instead, look for these features and services that will make staying anywhere you choose much better:
Free Wi-Fi Internet access – You won’t want to leave home without access to the free wireless internet provided by many hotels. This service means you can catch up on email, upload photos to Facebook and Twitter, or research local attractions and events online. Look for properties that provide complimentary high-speed internet access throughout the entire hotel.
Pets allowed? – Dogs aren’t the only pets who enjoy staying overnight. In fact, cats, rabbits, and birds often are welcome as well. Check ahead to confirm that the establishment has sufficient space available and that your chosen animal is allowed.
Do you need to book early? – Booking early gives you peace of mind knowing that you’ll have the room you want when you arrive. Some hotels charge higher rates during peak times such as weekends. Find out ahead of time if any booking fees apply to your reservation.
How busy is the hotel? – The busiest hotels typically fill first, meaning they’re less likely to have vacancies later. So ask yourself if you’d prefer to stay somewhere less crowded.
Do you need a credit card? – Most hotels accept major credit cards and debit cards like Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. However, you should call ahead to verify acceptance since policies vary. Some hotels will accept cash or personal checks only.
Are kids Allowed? – Children and pets usually go great together. That said, many establishments limit children’s stays to certain floors and/or parts of the hotel. Ask ahead if you’re concerned about sharing a floor with critters.
If you’re interested in exploring the outdoors while you’re away, then you’ll probably want to pick a hotel located near hiking trails or parks. Also, hotels close to airports tend to cater primarily to business travelers. Hotels closer to tourist destinations attract vacationers instead. So, if you plan to explore on foot once you reach your destination, choose a location accordingly.
Finally, it’s good to note that you shouldn’t expect every hotel to allow pets. After all, most hotels rely heavily on revenue generated from big-name clients and reservations made via travel sites. They’re unlikely to accommodate pets. For those locations, try contacting individual hotels directly.
Now that you understand what makes a hotel pet-friendly, it’s time to learn what factors you should consider when selecting a spot to stay. We’ll cover everything from proximity to parks and attractions to pet policy and size requirements.
Where to Stay?
When you’re ready to start making calls, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when searching for pet-friendly accommodations:
Proximity to parks and attractions – Pets love getting out and about. When you’re away from home, you want to be able to walk wherever you go. Choose a hotel nearby to parks, beaches, museums, and other popular spots. Keep in mind that sometimes distance isn’t measured in miles. A scenic drive or short cab ride may count as far enough to satisfy your needs.
Size Matters – Know exactly what type of pet you’ll bring along on your travels. Will it be small enough to fit into a carrier or backpack? Or large enough to comfortably roam around freely? Larger animals may require assistance with boarding costs. Consider taking them themselves if possible.
Other Restrictions – Some hotels restrict pets to specific areas within the premises. Others ban them entirely. Before committing to a particular hotel, call ahead to confirm its rules regarding pets.
While most hotels are happy to accommodate pets, some locations impose stricter regulations for reasons ranging from liability concerns to cleanliness standards. Call ahead to find out if you’ll need to adhere to any special rules. Here are some common questions people commonly ask about pet issues:
Can I bring my cat or dog to my room? Yes! As long as the hotel permits pets in public spaces (such as restaurants) and the guest agrees to housebreak the pet, the law protects both owners. However, some hotels reserve the right to refuse pets in their rooms or suites. Even though these types of policies violate federal anti-discrimination laws, hotels still maintain the right to enforce their own pet policies.
Will I have to pay extra for a pet? No. Generally, hotels offer pet amenities at no extra charge. But be aware that some hotels charge a daily pet deposit or cleaning fee. Be sure to inquire about any related charges ahead of time.
Will I be charged extra because my pet sheds?
No. Pet hair falls under the same umbrella as human hair. Therefore, hotels do not discriminate against pets based upon the amount of hair that accumulates.
Can I smoke in my room?
Yes. Smoking is permitted in most hotel rooms unless otherwise specified. However, smoking is prohibited in designated non-smoking areas.
Should I wash my pet’s food prior to arrival? The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends washing food thoroughly before feeding it to your pet. While food left uncovered on tables is generally safe, it could become contaminated. Food spills happen frequently, especially when multiple guests share one table. Food left in the room after cleanup presents the risk of bacterial contamination. Therefore, even if you’ve never heard of anyone sickening their pet after eating off someone else’s plate, it’s probably a good idea to wash your pet’s food prior to arrival.
Pet-friendly Lodges on the Go
So now you know what to look for in hotels and what to consider when selecting a place to stay. Now comes the fun part — finding the perfect place to stay for your next vacation or weekend getaway. Here are some suggestions to help narrow down your search:
Think beyond the city limits. Sometimes cities hold several different categories of hotels. From luxury resorts to budget motels, there are plenty of choices to suit everyone’s budget.
Research each property’s website. Request information on amenities, activities offered parking availability, and cancellation policies. These details can help you decide whether or not a particular hotel offers what you need.
Ask others for recommendations. Your friends, family members, and coworkers are likely familiar with local hotels. Let them know what you’re looking for and ask for their input.
Call ahead. Always phone ahead to confirm reservations. If you receive an error message when dialing, hang up and call back. Staff turnover can cause automated menus to incorrectly transfer your call. Simply saying “I was trying to reach (INSERT HOTEL NAME)” gets past this problem.
Have a question for the manager? Don’t hesitate to contact the hotel directly if you need to speak with the person in charge. Usually, customer service representatives are trained to assist guests with questions.
Remember to pack light. Bring fewer bags than you would if you were going to stay elsewhere. Leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs and gifts. Just remember that hotels usually charge hefty luggage deposits.
Bring your own water bottle. Unless specifically noted, most hotels in America do not supply bottled water. Bringing your own reusable water bottle saves money and helps prevent plastic bottles from cluttering landfills. Stay healthy. Most hotels provide guest bathrooms stocked with soap, shampoo, and toilet paper. However, some hotels include a towel rental fee. Plan ahead and bring your own towels.
Otherwise, you could end up paying extra for something you already paid for. And finally, it’s important to take care of yourself while traveling. With proper nutrition and rest, you’ll feel better prepared to face new adventures. To recap, here are a few tips to follow to ensure a successful trip:
Be flexible. Try to find lodging that fits your budget, regardless of the season.
Consider your pet’s comfort level. Is he a calm traveler or prone to anxiety?
Know your limitations. Remember that you can only take so many pictures per day. Pack light and move quickly. Enjoy your trips and don’t waste valuable time standing in line or waiting for taxis.