How to Find Pet Friendly Vacation Destinations

There are many reasons to take your pets with you on vacation. Pet boarding can be extremely expensive, some pets may react poorly to being left for extended periods, and some families consider their pets part of the family. Whether you cannot rest without your pets by your side, or you don’t want to incur the cost of boarding, there are many pet-friendly vacation options, including hotels, traveling accommodations, and activities. As you look for pet-friendly vacation options, remember to choose locations and activities that will be beneficial not only to you, but to your pets, as well.

  1. Check standard motels and hotels. Pet-friendly motels will vary by location. A Best Western in one city, for instance, might prohibit traveling with animals, while a Best Western 60 miles down the road in another town might offer pet-friendly rooms. Check with individual motels and hotels first.
    • Note that pet-friendly hotels usually have a stipulation that pets cannot be left unattended in rooms. If this is the case in your hotel, be sure to make arrangements for any time you’ll be out and about.
  2. Search for pet-specific accommodations. Although some hotels and motels will allow pets in the rooms with you, some motels have kennels within the facilities that you can take advantage of in order to keep clean-up contained. When searching for a pet-friendly hotel, make sure you specify whether the facilities allow animals in-room or allow animals in a kennel.
    • Instead of going to a single motel’s website, you can use travel search engines and input your pet-related needs to narrow down your options.
    • When searching, make sure you pay attention to any breed or weight restrictions.
  3. Check pet-friendly cities. Some cities are known for being more pet-friendly, such as Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California in the U.S.; Paris, France; and Barcelona, Spain. Although the city itself being pet-friendly does not automatically suggest all motels or hotels will be similarly accommodating, it does make it more likely to find pet-friendly locations.
    • Most pet-friendly cities are well established as incredible vacation destinations or are known as up-and-coming getaway destinations. There truly is no reason not to have a great vacation with your pets.
  4. Check camping sites for pet-friendly places to stay. If you have multiple pets with you or are hesitant to take your animals to a motel, consider camping on your vacation. Many large-scale entertainment venues have nearby campsites and camping provides both a great place for your animals to stay, and a budget-friendly sleeping option.
    • While camping is great and provides the greatest likelihood of finding like-minded individuals, be aware that not all fellow campers will be happy to have loud or extremely friendly animals around. Keep a close eye on your pets.
  5. Use an AirBnB home. Renting out your home for others to vacation in is enjoying quite a moment, and many of these homes are created to be pet-friendly. If you are having difficulty finding a suitable motel or hotel, consider looking for an AirBnB home for the duration of your stay and enjoy the comforts of home alongside your favorite animal.
    • Make sure you clear your pet (including size and breed) with the host of your vacation home. If you pet does any damage to the property, or you are not forthcoming about your animals, you will have to answer to the owners.

Finding Transportation Options

  1. Take your animal on a flight. Airline accommodations will vary, both in terms of policy and in terms of pricing. Some airlines will allow your animals to travel in the cargo bay within a kennel for a fee, while others will allow your animal to travel aboard the plane, as long as an animal fee is paid and your pet’s carrier can fit beneath your seat.
    • Note that service and therapy animals are different. Airlines are required to allow service and support animals to fly with you without the use of a carrier.
  2. Travel with your pet via car or truck. The easiest way to travel with your pet is to travel in your own car or truck, keeping your animal in a designated animal seat or crate. This is the best option for smaller trips, as a trip extending past 10-12 hours might be difficult for your pet to handle.
    • Make sure you have plenty of food and water for your pet and stop often to let them relieve themselves.
    • Some pets do become carsick. There are pet-specific medications that can help combat motion sickness, so talk to your vet before you leave if your pet requires travel assistance.
  3. Take your animal aboard a train. Amtrak, for instance, allows animals up to 20 pounds aboard for a small fee. This is a great way to travel if you are not comfortable taking your animal aboard a plane and cannot travel in a vehicle. Some train companies may not allow animals, and some routes may have greater restrictions, so be sure to check with the train company before traveling.
  4. Take your pet on a cruise. Some cruise lines allow pets to come along for the ride. While these are not common, they do exist and can be an excellent, fuss-free way to include your pets on your vacation plans. These are particularly wonderful for men and women who do not want to encounter difficulty finding transportation or living accommodations while traveling.
    • If your pet is not familiar with travel, this may not be the best choice, as you cannot simply disembark or go home. If your pet is familiar with travel and water, however, this is likely to be a good fit for you and your family.

Finding Pet-Friendly Activities

  1. Take walking tours. Walking tours are excellent for pets, as they allow pets to get out into the fresh air, and give you some peace of mind when it comes to droppings. While not all walking tours are pet-friendly, many walking tours are creating specifically with animals in mind.
    • Big cities are more likely to have pet-friendly walking tours, but smaller towns should not immediately be ruled out. Some abandoned towns and other out-of-the-way destinations will permit animals, as well.
  2. Visit pet spas. Some spas offer relaxation techniques for your beloved animals. Treatments might include the usual nail trim and wash, or might go so far as to offer animals massages. While some animals might not appreciate the attention from strangers, others will do just fine, so pamper according to your animal’s comfort level.
    • Some pet spas are more extravagant than others, so make sure you check with the closest pet spa to determine what types of services they offer. Some do little more than offer watching services, while others offer massages, play sessions, training sessions, and more.
  3. Visit pet-friendly beaches. Not all beaches allow pets, but those that do can make wonderful getaway spots for you and your pet. You can even kill two proverbial birds with one stone by camping on the beach and making that your pet-friendly vacation.
  4. Pay a visit to pet-friendly winery tours. While this is an unconventional choice, getaways are becoming increasingly aware of families’ attachments to their animals, and some wineries have developed wine tours designed with animals in mind.
    • This particular activity is largely limited to dogs, so if your pet is not the four-legged, barking variety, you may have difficulty finding a wine tasting or similar activity.
  5. Tour a national park. Some national parks have strict no-pets policies, but most have designated areas for pets to camp and walk in. Take advantage of all that national parks have to offer by enjoying the beautiful scenery as you travel with your favorite furry companion.
    • National parks vary greatly in how permissive they are about allowing pets, but all parks are dedicated to preserving natural habitats, so make sure you clean up after your pet during your visit.
    • Do not allow your pet to roam free at any national park, even if it is pet-friendly; your pets could unwittingly damage local plant life or endanger local wildlife if they are not kept on a leash.
  6. Head out to a pet-friendly dining experience. If your entire vacation is not centered around your pet, you can keep your pet at a local kennel while you go out for most of the day, then finish your night by visiting a restaurant with pet seating. Most of these venues offer outdoor seating for pets, so plan accordingly by dressing in cool clothes in summer or warm clothes in winter.


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