You need to book your reservations in advance, and make sure your lodging choices will accept your four-legged family member. There's simply no stopping by the side of the road at the first motel you find when your pooch is along for the ride. Chances are, that motel won't take dogs, and you'll be stuck spending time tracking down lodging that does.
Check out corporate hotel websites
Many of the big hotel chains indicate on their websites whether or not pets are welcome. Often, they limit the size of the dogs (no dogs over 40 pounds is common), and they usually charge an extra fee for a pet in the room. (More places are waiving those fees, so check on that when you make your reservations.) Some hotels may require your dog to be crated in the room, or that you can't leave your dog alone in the room. Ask for all of a hotel's pet policies before you confirm a reservation.
Don't make your reservations through a central reservations call center or online. Call the hotel directly and speak to someone at the front desk, or a manager. Call center employees typically don't know a hotel's specific lodging policies. For example, some hotels do accept pets, but the call center people may not know it, so deal directly with the people who know the policies first hand, even if this means waiting on hold for a while or calling several times until you get the right info.
Do a dog-friendly search
Once you know your travel itinerary, do a search using the city name you're visiting plus the term "dog-friendly hotels," such as 'Seattle dog-friendly hotels'. Most cities and towns now have lists of the lodging in their area that accepts pets. Always contact a hotel or other lodging directly before you book your reservation. You can't just assume that just because specific lodgings are on the list, that they still have that policy.
Look for pet travel websites
Several travel websites have sprung up that cater directly to pet travel. Often, you can search these sites for specific locations to find the pet-friendly lodging in that area. Some of the pet travel websites note that they've verified specific pet policies, so you don't have to.
Check out a few of our favorite pet-friendly travel sites:
Be a responsible pet owner
Once you've found the perfect hotel for your family, make sure you're a responsible pet owner! Clean up after your dog, keep him quiet if he's a barker, and don't leave your room in a shambles when you leave town. Responsible owners make it easier for others to travel with their pets, so don't be the reason hotel management ends their dog-friendly program!
Pack for your pet
Take plenty of food and water, prescribed medications, leash, dog bed or his favorite blanket, and toys to keep him from getting bored. Be sure to have a tag on his collar that indicates his name and your contact information in the case he gets separated from you. This will ensure you're prepared and packed for Ruff's comfort.
Top 10 travel locations
Wondering where to go with Fido or Fluffy in tow? According to DogFriendly.com, these are the top 10 locations to travel with your dog.
- Carmel / Monterey CA
- Bar Harbor/Acadia ME
- Black Hills SD
- St Augustine FL
- Cape Cod MA
- Key West FL
- Charlottesville VA
- Mendocino CA
- Asheville / Blue Ridge NC
- Amarillo TX
More pet-friendly travel tips