Traveling with pets used to be quite challenging, but as more and more travelers bring their furry companions along, more hotels are getting with the program and offering pet-friendly lodging choices.
If you want to travel with your dog or cat, you’re no longer restricted to camping or private home rentals. Many hotels are not just pet-friendly; they are pet-welcoming, with fun amenities provided for your fluffy friend.
If you are new to traveling with pets, here are tips to get started on your first hotel stay!
Pet Friendly Hotels
There are many options for finding a pet-friendly hotel, from budget-friendly roadside hotels to luxury resorts.
Pet policies are unique to each hotel, so policies may vary even within the same hotel brand. It’s essential to call ahead or check the hotel website to confirm the policies from one property to the next.
La Quinta is an Inexpensive Pet Friendly Option
La Quinta by Wyndham is known as one of the most dog-friendly hotel chains around the United States. These are often on the more affordable end of hotels, although many of them have been refurbished in the last decade, so if you haven’t stayed at one in a few years, it’s worth giving them another chance.
As a Wyndham company, you’ll also earn Wyndham Rewards points to be used at Wyndham hotels around the country, including Hawthorn Suites, Days Inn, Ramada, Tryp, Wyndham, and Wyndham Grand.
When we frequently traveled with our dog, Vinnie, La Quinta was our go-to brand.
Holiday Inn Express
Holiday Inn Express is another budget-friendly hotel chain that often offers pet-friendly rooms.
As part of the International Hotels Group, Holiday Inn Express hotels are a great option for a quick overnight stay. Complimentary continental breakfast and convenient locations at many interstate exits are perfect for road trip stays.
These properties often have the most reasonable pet fees as well.
Kimpton Welcomes Pets in Style
Another IHG hotel brand, Kimpton Hotels, is a more luxurious option for those traveling with pets to more urban locations.
Kimpton has 79 boutique hotels under their company umbrella and are located in 55 cities.
Unlike many chain hotel brands, each Kimpton is unique, so you feel like you’re staying in a boutique hotel rather than a massive chain. However, you’ll earn points to stay at IHG hotels worldwide, from Holiday Inn Express to Intercontinental Hotels.
Marriott offers Pet Friendly Options
If you are a Marriott traveler, some brands are more pet-friendly than others. Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites are extended-stay properties that typically allow pets.
Mid-range hotels that often accommodate pets include Westin, W, and Element Hotels.
At the higher end, Ritz Carlton and St. Regis hotels are often very pet-friendly. Fees are typically higher at luxury resorts, so be sure to compare prices that include the pet fee to see what your best options are.
Fortunately, traveling with pets has become commonplace enough that most hotel websites and booking engines like Booking.com have added filters for pet-friendly hotels so you can quickly narrow your search results to only include pet-friendly hotels.
Questions to Ask when Booking a Pet Friendly Hotel
Once you have narrowed your hotel search to only include pet-friendly properties, it’s still important to determine if the property is right for you and your pets.
Before confirming a hotel reservation, read the fine print and call the hotel directly (not the 1-800 number) to clarify. You don’t want to arrive at the hotel to find out that your cat is not allowed or that your dog is larger than the pet allowance.
- If you are traveling with cats, those are not often included in hotel pet policies. “Pet-friendly” hotels are often, in actuality, just “dog friendly,” so it may take some extra work to find a cat-friendly hotel.
- Is there a breed restriction on dogs? Some hotels may specify certain breeds that are not allowed.
- Is there a weight limit? This is the most common restriction you’ll find at pet-friendly hotels. Many hotels limit dogs to 25 or 50 pounds.
- What is the pet fee?
- Is it a deposit or a fee? Refundable or non-refundable?
- Is the fee per stay or per night?
- What paperwork is required to allow pets? Some hotels may require proof of vaccinations. This isn’t common, but it’s best to be prepared.
- Do they have a designated “pet walk” area?
Tips for Traveling with Pets
Once your hotel is booked, it’s time to prepare your pet for travel. Hopefully, they are already used to the car, so that is one less thing you need to plan for. Using these tips for traveling with pets can make your trip much smoother, whether it’s an overnight trip or long-term travel.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped! The last thing you want is to lose your pet in an unfamiliar area; having them microchipped will make it easier to locate you if your pet is found. (If your pet is already microchipped, make sure the company has your most updated contact information)
- Have a copy of all current vaccinations; leave originals at home and keep a copy in your glovebox. If your pet takes prescription meds, ensure you have a copy of the prescriptions too.
- Portion your pet’s food and prescriptions ahead of time in single-serving containers. This will save time on the road and ensure you pack enough food for the trip. It’s always a good idea to have a few days extra, just in case you are delayed, or your plans change.
- Research your planned destinations to see what is pet-friendly and which places do not allow dogs. For example, most National Parks do not allow pets on the trails, but some parks, like Grand Canyon National Park and Mammoth Caves National Park, offer kennels on-site so your dog can rest while you explore. Make sure you plan ahead, as leaving your dog or cat in the car is not a viable option for many reasons!
Do you travel with your pets? What tips can you share?