June 10, 2010
Dog Travels, Part III – Home Away From Home
Parts I and II of our Travel Series gave you advice about traveling with your dog. Whether you choose to travel by airplane or car, you’ve learned that planning ahead is essential. But what about once you arrive at your destination?
In this last installment of Dog Travels, DogWatch Hidden Fences will guide you through the world of vacationing with your pets. First we will discuss dog-friendly accommodations, and then show you some ideas of activities that are fun for the whole family – including the four-legged members!
There are plenty of hotels across the country that welcome dogs, and with the explosion of pet-centric websites now in operation, it is easier than ever to find one. Bring Fido and Petswelcome.com are easy-to-use search engines to help you find pet-friendly hotels at your desired location. Once you’ve entered the city and state, the site shows a list of applicable hotels, complete with rates, fees, pet-related amenities and contact information.
There are also several national hotel chains that are traditionally pet-friendly. These chains include several Marriott brands (Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn and Courtyard by Marriott), Hilton Hotels and Holiday Inn. Some hotels limit the number of pet-friendly rooms and some have size limitations, so make sure you check with the hotel before booking to ensure that location has a pet-friendly room available that is appropriate for your pet.
Most hotels charge a fee for guests with pets. These fees typically range from $30-$75. Many websites including petwelcome.com show you this fee amount, but you can always call the hotel beforehand to inquire about it.
There are also many pet friendly vacation rentals available, which could provide you with more space, and perhaps a yard, for larger dogs. For the more adventurous types, there are plenty of pet friendly campgrounds and RV parks, which give your dog greater access to the outdoors. Petwelcome.com also lists these locations in a separate search. As with all accommodations, calling ahead and checking pet policies helps ensure a less stressful travel experience for all.
Lastly, for the truly pampered pooch, luxury hotels across the country are now offering deluxe packages for their animal guests. This slide show from Travel and Leisure magazine lists 10 such hotels and their amazing amenities. Massages, gourmet food, pedicures, and turn-down treats: talk about a dog’s life!
Once you’ve chosen your destination and accommodations, it’s time to plan your vacation activities. Don’t forget to include your dog in the fun!
Some of the country’s most popular amusement parks offer air-conditioned facilities for guests’ dogs. These parks include Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and more. Again, researching this information on the park’s website or calling ahead to discuss dog policies is a wise step prior to the visit.
Many pet owners take advantage of these facilities when visiting the amusement parks, and often stop by to check in on or have lunch with their pet during the day. These facilities generally do not offer food for your dog, so be sure to bring food along to the park. The parks also typically charge a small fee ($8-$15) to use these areas for the day.
If you are looking for a more nature-focused vacation, you can bring your dog along for a hike in one of the nation’s many beautiful national parks and beaches. DogFriendly.com lets you search for the best places in the US and Canada to visit with your dog in tow. Think of all the exciting things you can explore, and how much fun your dog will have exploring them with you!
Of course, there are those who prefer the city, and they won’t be disappointed by the many attractions they can visit with their pet. DogFriendly.com also offers city guides for dog owners, detailing the best attractions, beaches and dog parks. Click here for a guide to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC!
For a truly dog-centric vacation, there is even dog summer camp. A dog and his or her owners can enjoy a relaxing experience in the woods, filled with peaceful walks, fun activities and, of course, ice cream. Watch this CBS Evening News story to learn more about one such camp.
DogWatch Hidden Fences hopes that these travel tips have been helpful for you as you plan your summer getaway. We invite you to ask questions or share your stories in the comments section below or on our Facebook page or via Twitter.
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Photo: “Lodger” by antecanis via Flickr.