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If you’re one of the 3+ million people who adopted a quarantine pup in 2020, you’re probably wondering what traveling with a dog looks like. I was, at least. I had a ton of questions about the logistics of traveling with a dog, and having had the opportunity to take several big road trips with my pup last year, I picked up a few tricks that I’ll share with you here. Here’s my guide to finding dog-friendly accommodations, and in future posts, I’ll cover other aspects of traveling with a dog.
What are the different types of accommodations you can book with a dog?
While your accommodation options will be more limited when traveling with a dog, you’ll still have the same types of accommodations at your disposal. For most, this includes hotels and Airbnb/Vrbo.
Do most hotels allow dogs?
Yes! A 2016 American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) poll found that 75% of hotels in the U.S. allow dogs. However, there are some caveats. Some hotels only allow smaller dogs under a certain weight, some only allow certain breeds, and nearly all will charge an additional cleaning fee for bringing a pet. Certain hotels may also have rules around not letting your dog on the furniture or not leaving them unaccompanied in the room. If a hotel doesn’t have specific weight, size, and breed requirements listed on their website, it’s always a good idea to send the hotel a message confirming that your specific pet is allowed to stay there before your trip.
Contrary to what many might think, there’s not much of a difference between luxury, midscale, and economy hotels when it comes to being pet-friendly. That means no matter what type of traveler you are, you’ll be able to find a hotel that allows you to bring your dog with you. An easy way to search for pet-friendly hotels is to go to a site like booking.com and apply the “pet friendly” filter.
What are some hotel chains that allow dogs?
There are many hotel chains ranging from budget options like Motel 6 to luxury options like the Ritz Carlton that allow dogs. Some chains allow dogs across the board with no restrictions, others allow dogs at some of their properties, and still others have weight, size, and breed restrictions.
A couple of my favorite pet-friendly hotel chains are Kimpton Hotels and Staypineapple Hotels. Not only do these chains allow all dogs – without size or weight restriction – but they also provide special amenities like water bowls, treat tins, poop bags, and even doggie beds for your dog to use during your stay. Here is a good run down of other dog-friendly hotel chains and their requirements.
Do most Airbnb and Vrbo properties allow dogs?
Unfortunately, no. Even though more than 50% of U.S. households include a dog, only about 30% of Airbnbs are pet-friendly, as reported by Airbnb, and only about 5% of Vrbo properties are pet-friendly.
Like hotels, Airbnbs and Vrbos that allow dogs may have certain restrictions and other house rules about what your dog is and isn’t allowed to do while on the property. Since Airbnb and Vrbo properties are independently owned and run by individual owners, you might see a wider spectrum of rules and restrictions with these properties than with hotels. It’s important to include a note to your host when booking about the specific type of dog you have so that they’re able to approve your dog before your trip.
You can find dog-friendly Airbnb and Vrbo properties by applying the “pets allowed” filter on either site.
What should I pack for my dog’s stay while traveling?
You should always pack whatever will make your dog’s stay in a new place most comfortable. If this is the first trip you’re taking with your dog, it’s better to pack more than less. Over time, you’ll learn which items are more important for your dog to have while traveling and which items don’t matter as much to your dog.
When our dog was younger, we always brought his crate on our trips because he felt most comfortable in his crate. As he got older and more accustomed to traveling, we’ve been able to get away with bringing only his bed and blanket instead of a much heavier and more space-consuming crate.
It’s also important to think about what kind of trip you’re taking. Will you be out hiking and exploring with your dog every day? Or, will you mostly be hanging out inside? If you plan to spend most of your time out exploring with your dog, then you probably don’t need to bring many toys with you. If you plan on spending most of your time indoors, however, you might want to bring more toys to keep your dog occupied while you work or relax.
You’ll also want to bring along enough food for your dog. While some hotels will provide food for its fur guests, it may not be the same food your dog is used to eating at home. Sudden diet switching can lead to indigestion and other stomach issues for your dog, which is not fun for you or your dog to deal with while traveling.
Finally, you’ll want to check the hotel or Airbnb’s rules regarding what your dog is or is not allowed to do. If the property only allows dogs on furniture if you first cover the furniture, then you’ll want to bring a blanket or sheet to cover the furniture with before allowing your dog on it. Or, if the property only allows you to leave your dog unaccompanied inside while crated, then you’ll want to make sure you bring a crate with you if you plan to leave your dog alone at the property for any length of time.
Should I travel with my dog?
Absolutely! As you can see, plenty of accommodations in the U.S. are dog-friendly. As long as you’re willing to do some extra planning and budget a little extra, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to bring your best friend and fur baby with you on your adventures.
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