How to Book the Best Pet-Friendly Hotel Room

Increasingly, I see articles (like this one from The New York Times) discuss the rapid growth of pet-friendly hotels.

dog friendly hotel, pet friendly hotel, dog friendly travel tips

As someone who travels extensively with their dogs, I’m happy to see hospitality groups realize us adventurers-with-dogs are a growing and loyal breed

But invariably, all the articles I read neglect the most important question. With the growing pet-friendly hotel options, how do you decide which hotel to pick?

dog friendly hotel, pet friendly hotel, dog friendly travel tips

Trust us, this is not a decision you want to gamble on

All “pet-friendly” hotels are not created equal. “Pet-friendly” is a catch all phrase which can mean anything from “We will barely tolerate your pet while charging you a mortgage payment for staying here” to “OMG I love your dog…and I guess you can stay here too.”

How to sort the wheat from the chaff? Here’s what I’ve learned are the best steps to ensure you pick the right dog-friendly hotel for your trip.

dog friendly hotel, pet friendly hotel, dog friendly travel tips

First, look yourself in the mirror and ask what your needs are for the trip

dog friendly hotel, pet friendly hotel, dog friendly travel tips

If you want high-end, top of the line service, great. Most luxury hotels are happy to serve (and charge you for) extensive pet-friendly amenities

dog friendly hotel, pet friendly hotel, dog friendly travel tips

Just need a place to crash? Many major motel/hotel chains offer pet-friendly rooms. Be sure to double-check what the pet-fees are. Avoid places that charge daily pet-fees. If possible, book at La Quinta or other chains which charge no pet fee

dog friendly hotel, pet friendly hotel, dog friendly travel tips

Do the math! We loved staying at Kimpton brand hotels. No pet fee, no pet-size restriction and dogs were loved, rather than tolerated. The nightly room rate was slightly above other major chains, but since there were no pet fees we often came out ahead on the bill

dog friendly hotel, pet friendly hotel, dog friendly travel tips

Look off the beaten path. Some of our best stays were at small B&B joints who welcomed both Eko and me like old friends. With the proliferation of smaller/independent operators, don’t forget to open your search up beyond the traditional options

dog friendly hotel, pet friendly hotel, dog friendly travel tips

Trust no one! I’ve been burned by third-party/review sites on more than one occasion. Always call ahead to verify the hotel is everything it claims to be online. If you’re expecting bowls and a (properly sized) bed, you’ll want those details confirmed before you arrive

dog friendly hotel, pet friendly hotel, dog friendly travel tips

Be the best guest! I really appreciate all the hotels along the way that have gone the extra mile to make me and the pups welcome. In return, I make sure we’re quiet and respectful during our stay. Every dog-guest is an ambassador, and hopefully by being great guests we can encourage more hotels to open their doors to pets

dog friendly hotel, pet friendly hotel, dog friendly travel tips

Because travel adventures with your dog are awesome! 

For others who have traveled with pets, please chime in with any tips or guidelines you’ve found helpful along the way.

I know bringing your dog to a hotel may seem nerve-racking or expensive. But in truth traveling with your pets is often cheaper, and almost always more fun!

29 Comments

Hi Will..I love all of your tips AND your pics!! It is very true how different “pet-friendly” can be in various places! I actually just started doing a “Travel Tuesday” to share places that are exceptionally pet friendly for those wanting to travel with pets! So fun so far!!

The peeps and dogs always go on their trips-I get bird sitted at the bird store. We’ve never had a problem at La Quinta. Well there was that time in Moab, Utah when some idiot in another room did something to set off the smoke alarms at 4:30 in the morning. There’s always an area for dogs outside complete with a poo bag dispenser. Oh-free breakfasts also. Eight paws up. I wish I could add claws and wings but I was at the bird store

Will – your tips are great, especially the last one about being a good guest.

We had one ‘interesting’ motel stay when our reactive border collie Habi just couldn’t settle in, and spent much of the night barking (or thinking about barking, which is just as nerve-wracking) at the dog noises in the next room over. Therefore our normally happy-go-lucky BC Obi got huffily suspicious too. That was a grim night. Much as I try to be relaxed and cheerful even when things are bumpy, when the dogs were still worked up at 11 pm I got tense and frustrated, which spiraled everybody’s anxiety. Sigh. We threw in the towel about 1 a.m, loaded everything back in the car, and headed on down the road.

Usually all goes well if we use everything in our bag of tricks the first couple of hours in the room (smoked pig ears as we unload the car, sniffy walks to get familiar with the area, maybe a Xanax pill, TV on quietly as white noise, mental exercise (hiding kibbles throughout the room), several potty breaks. She’s actually a pretty good traveler now, so we did a fabulous 2-week motel/friend’s couch/camping road trip last fall in which both dogs were absolutely spectacular. (Whew!)

I can only dream of having easy travelers like yours! And a menagerie like KDKH’s!

I’ve never been as brave to wrangle so many pups at once! But you’re absolutely right about keeping a short leash. I try to operate under the premise no-one wants to say hello to the pups unless explicitly stated otherwise. And like you, we always give the right of way to others. Makes for a much more pleasant stay.

Hi Will,
Traveling with one small dog is never a problem but larger pups can sometimes be difficult and it boils down to the ‘dogginess’ of the local management. At a Red Roof in near Milan, OH the receptionist told me that only one dog, less than knee high, was allowed despite their website advertising ‘Pet Friendly’. When asked if two dogs were allowed she said ‘No, county ordinances prohibit more than one dog in the rooms”. A quick call to the county offices found no such ordinances so this was a blatant lie. Maybe the receptionist had been told to say that by management but it is still a lie. So check with local management before committing.
Traveling to lure coursing trials is always done on the cheap and in my case with four Ridgebacks, one of which has only three legs, stairs are out. I tend to stay at Motel 6 or Red Roof Inn but some of these can get quite rowdy on Saturday night, especially the Motel 6 in Springfield, OH. So beware. The upscale hotels will be less ‘rowdy’ simply because of the fees.
When making reservations I make sure to inform the receptionist that I have a pet (they often have ‘pet rooms’ they assign to pet owners so this is a reasonable thing to do), but I never tell them how many pets I have. I also bring clean sheets to spread over the beds before the dogs are let loose so the bread-spreads are saved from muddy paws and dog hair. Whenever I go out to eat the dogs go into their crates in my van so they are rarely left unattended in the rooms for long periods.
And one other thing I have found; not everybody likes dogs. When walking with your dogs some people you meet in the halls will turn around and quickly walk the other way, others will hug the other wall until you are past. Sad, but this is their problem, not yours. You must keep your dogs on a *very* short leash when this occurs. With Kali this is difficult because she wants to visit with everybody but she can’t in cases like this. Sometimes you and the dogs may want to turn around and back up until you find a larger space for people to pass. Just be sensitive. This is no different than anytime you and your pups are out in public.
Loved the photo of Eko in a hammock. How many times did you have to put him in there before he was able to sit like that without his legs going through the holes?
Keep warm
Max and Pack

I’ve never been as brave to wrangle so many pups at once! But you’re absolutely right about keeping a short leash. I try to operate under the premise no-one wants to say hello to the pups unless explicitly stated otherwise. And like you, we always give the right of way to others. Makes for a much more pleasant stay.

1 2 3

Add a Response

Your name, email address, and comment are required. We will not publish your email.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The following HTML tags can be used in the comment field: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

%d bloggers like this: