I never leave my dogs, Deer and Jasper, at home during vacation. In fact, my idea of a vacation is half about spending time with them, so finding dog-friendly accommodations is a must. In the last 2 years, along with camping and couch-surfing, my dogs and I have stayed in over 100 hotels, from Key West to Toronto to Chicago and even our home city, New York for staycations! We’ve gained a lot of experience hotel-hopping, and hope some of these tips can help you plan your next trip:
Is your dog hotel-ready?
While we all want to believe our dogs are the best and deserve to go everywhere, unless your dog is fully housebroken, can be left alone, isn’t destructive, and is quiet, it’s probably not the best idea to bring them. Not only can you be charged an arm and a leg, you can end up homeless for the night.
Where can we stay?
Over 25,000 places in the US alone! Most hotel searches/websites can filter out pet-friendly properties and luckily, there are many chains that are consistently pet-friendly (see below for list). However, it’s always safest to call the hotel directly about their policies to avoid surprise fees or be rejected altogether. Keep in mind that some properties will have limits to floors or room types, and some even have size and breed restrictions.
How much $$$?
Hotels can just be as affordable or as expensive as leaving your dog with family, at a sitter’s, or in a boarding facility - anywhere from $0-250 per night, stay, or dog - always triple check! Why the costs? Some places simply take a refundable deposit or charge a one-time cleaning fee, and the most pet-friendly ones will often offer dog beds, bowls, treats, and even additional paid services, such as grooming or walking.
Remember that it’s a privilege to be able to stay at a hotel with your dog, not a right, and that privilege can be revoked at any time. You just don’t wanna be the irresponsible jerk with the dog that yaps for hours and/or takes a dump in the lobby, and ruins it for other people.
Here are some tips on how to avoid puppy humiliation and an emptied wallet:
At check-in, announce your dog, read the waiver/policies, and ask where the appropriate dog toilet is. If dog amenities like beds, bowls, or treats are available, now’s the time to ask.
Your dog should be attached to you (leash or carried) or in a bag/crate outside the room. And sorry, your pup does not qualify for a dip in the pool, or a seat at the restaurant table.
Is your dog even allowed to be left alone? And if you do choose to risk rebelling the “No Dog Left Behind” policy, at least make sure your dog can keep its mouth closed.
Before leaving, take your dog for a potty break and a proper romp to leave them too tired to make trouble. Considering crating, leaving the lights and TV/radio on, and supplying a safe toy or treat.
A Do Not Disturb sign should be a given. All you need is a screaming, bitten housekeeper to get you kicked out quicker than you checked in.
Leave your scent behind, act like it’s no big deal when you go and come back, and think about doing a short practice run nearby so your dog knows you haven’t abandoned them.
One of the biggest reasons my dogs and I thoroughly enjoy our hotel stays is because we are elite members of multiple hotel chains, and get royal treatment -- upgrades and free food -- for consistently staying at brands that are known to be dog-friendly. Consider signing up for a free rewards program, and booking these hotel chains (*our personal favourites):
Motel 6 - Most of the 1200+ budget 1-2 star motels in North America allow 2 pets for free.
Red Roof Inn - Almost every one of the 500+ budget-friendly 1-2 star locations in 36 states permit 1 well-behaved dog with no fee.
La Quinta Inn - The vast majority of the 800+ limited service 2-3 star locations in US, Canada, and Latin America allow up to 2 dogs (or cats) without a fee.
Holiday Inn/Holiday Express - These two 2-3 star chains have 5000+ locations worldwide, but have mixed pet-friendly policies. Their fees typically range from $15-25 per pet per night.
*Aloft - Nearly all 250+ 2-3 star hip hotels, mostly near airports, worldwide allow dogs up to 40 pounds for no fee or a refundable deposit. They usually give a small bag with treats and poop bags upon check-in.
Best Western - There are 1600+ 2-4 star worldwide Best Westerns that are pet-friendly. Policies vary depending on location, but typically 2 dogs under 80 pounds are allowed for $20/night or $ 100/week.
*Sheraton - Most of the 500+ mid-range 2-4 star properties welcome dogs up to 80 pounds for $0-50/night. Some even provide basic amenities, such as beds, bowls, treats, and poop bags.
*Westin - A greater part of the 250+ 3-4 star Westins across the globe allow dogs, but policies are quite mixed, with some fee-free, and other’s $250/night. They often have beds, bowls, and treats upon request.
W Hotels - Almost every single one of the 80+ 4-5 star boutique hotels in major international cities are dog friendly. Most, however, charge a $100-250 fee for a dog up to 40 pounds, but offer amenities such as beds, services such as walking, and sometimes even a dog room service menu.
*Kimpton - Arguably one of the most pet-friendly chains, all 65+ 3-5 star Kimptons worldwide accept all animals that fit through the door for no fee, and provide beds, bowls, services, and lot’s of love from the staff. All Kimptons keep water bowls by the door and some provide a list of places to go with your pup.
Loews - 2 dozen luxury 4-5 star Loews in North America have a lax pet-friendly policy. Specifics vary, but most allow 2 pets per room for no charge, and provide bowls, beds, room service, with advice for walking routes and pet-friendly restaurants.
Fairmont - With 70+ ultra luxury 5 star international properties, a good number of Fairmonts allow dogs. Policies vary, but often 2 dogs are allowed for fees from $50-250, and are provided beds and bowls.
Happy hotel-ing with your dog!
About the Author: Angie Kalea Ho is a self-titled "Nomadic Creative Entrepreneur & Educator," working and "hobby-ing" in a variety of industries, but all that fancy schmancy aside, she loves nothing more than to hike, travel, and relax with her two Portuguese Podengos - super-senior 16yo Deer and "who-ya-callin'-small" 5yo Jasper. Angie has been around dogs all her life, including at one point, 60 huskies in the Arctic, and loves sharing her knowledge and experience with dogs on her website, YourLifeWithDog.com. You can also find Angie and her pups on Instagram @ADeerandHerFox and @ChaseYourTrails.
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