by Shae Pepper. Photos ©Shae Pepper Photography
Stephen and I are on a 5 year – 50 state road trip with our dog, Truffles. One of the first questions we get asked, when people find out we travel full-time with our dog, is “how do you find pet-friendly hotels?”
There are a few things to consider when choosing a pet-friendly hotel so here’s my tips for what to look for when taking your pet on a trip. As we travel with our dog, most of these suggestions will be dog-specific, but we have seen plenty of cats on our journey as well!
Your first choice, if you’re not camping, will be between hotels and an Airbnb. There are pros and cons to both.
Here’s a handy chart
Personally, I prefer Airbnb. You get diverse accommodations, kitchens in most, a yard in most and little to no pet fee. The only downside to this is when we’ve had to stay somewhere more expensive, like Charleston, South Carolina or Myrtle Beach, SC, we had to stay in a home with the host to find any affordable pet-friendly accommodation.
Accommodation Cost including Pet Fee
If you choose an pet-friendly Airbnb you may be paying a bit more for the accommodation but less for a pet fee. If you choose a pet-friendly hotel you will (almost) always be paying a pet fee.
Each hotel chain has different policies. We’ve written a helpful post, on our own travel blog, to help you find the pet-policy for each hotel brand. One particular thing to watch for when checking any hotel brand’s pet fee is whether it is per night or per stay.
For example: If you choose to stay at a Residence Inn for 1-2 nights, you may be paying $50-100 per night for a pet fee as they are usually “per stay.” This is much better if you’re staying for a week or more as it will reduce the cost of a nightly pet-fee.
However, Red Roof Inn doesn’t charge a pet-fee (at the time of writing this post) and therefore if you just need somewhere to crash for the night on the way it might be worth considering one of these for the free pet-fee.
Included under this topic, check about the number and size of pets, in the pet-policy, that are allowed at the pet-friendly hotel or Airbnb you’ve chosen. Many hotel brands have size restrictions, where Airbnbs may be more flexible.
Pet-Friendly vs. Pet Welcoming
Often hotels list themselves as “pet-friendly.” Unfortunately, what that looks like can vary greatly from location to location. Some hotel brands are automatically more pet-friendly than others. Some really pet-friendly hotels we’ve experienced are Aloft, Hyatt Place, and Kimpton. They have really pet-friendly staff, pet comfort stations in the grass outside, and sometimes pet amenity gifts.
Some hotels claim to be pet-friendly, but for a variety of reasons it can be much harder to stay there with your pet, even if they are technically allowed. Some hotels don’t allow pets in the lobby at all, have strict rules about pets on the furniture and some won’t let you leave your pet in the room alone at all, even in a crate or carrier.
Imagine arriving for a beach vacation and finding out that your dog has to be with you all day, everyday including breakfast (where they aren’t allowed) or at the beach (where they aren’t allowed during high season). Someone would always have to stay behind in the hotel.
Check the location of your accommodation and it’s surrounding areas for pet-friendly activities. We stayed in Downtown Chicago at a Kimpton, an extremely pet-friendly hotel brand, but there was no grass anywhere. The nearest grass was Millennium Park, three blocks away, and we found out that dogs weren’t allowed there. The nearest pet-friendly grass was very far away.
Some areas are just more pet-friendly than others. Beaches are often pet-friendly, but only in the off-season. Some museums welcome dogs if they are small enough to carry – you just need to call ahead to confirm. Breweries and distilleries are often pet-friendly if they don’t serve food while wineries we’ve found are about 50/50 of allowing pets inside.
If you know that your chosen area is less pet-friendly and your pet will spend a lot of time in the accommodation, check for parks or dog parks nearby to exercise your pet.
Traveling with your pet can be a lot of fun. We have a blast taking Truffles with us all over. But it can be tricky finding just the right pet-friendly hotel or Airbnb for your stay. Once you do, you will begin to get really good at finding the accommodation that’s right for you and your furbabies.
Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to $55 off your first trip: https://abnb.me/e/DV2aGy9TAX.
What’s your favorite pet-friendly accommodation? Share it in the comments below.
Full-time dog mom and traveler, Shae Pepper is on a 5 year, 50 state road trip with her husband, Stephen Pepper and their dog, Truffles. You can follow their adventures on their website, No Home Just Roam.