How to Vacation with Your Dog

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Are you looking to figure out how to vacation with your dog this summer? That describes my husband and me every summer. In fact, every fall, every winter and every spring. We’re those people who want to go away with our dogs rather than hire a sitter.

Anyway, how did we figure out where we could go on vacation with our dog? We did our homework. And since my job as a writer is to provide readers with information on how best to use your time and money to get the most value for it, I’ve put together this article on how to vacation with your dog. It addresses everything from how to rent a pet friendly RV to cheap hotels that allow pets to the best  way to travel with dogs.

how to vacation with your dog

Will my dog miss me when I go on vacation?

Did you know that pet parents prefer to travel with pets rather than leave them behind? That’s because nearly eight in 10 pet parents have had to alter or change their travel plans because of their pets. It’s why so many of us want to know how to vacation vacation with your dog or another kind of pet. Also, you may worry that your dog will miss you when you go on vacation. I know I do.

While we still use that team of dog walkers and dog sitters on occasion, the world has become much more pet-friendly. That means that when we want to, we can travel with our dogs, Oscar and Sadie. In fact, not only did we keep dog friendly summer vacations our top priority this year, but I can easily see dog friendly summer beaches and dog friendly vacation rentals becoming the crux of our travel plans in the future.

Here is my new post on how to save money at the beach.

Cheap Hotels That Allow Pets

The good news when traveling with your pet or taking a vacation with your dog is you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to do so. There are plenty of cheap hotels that allow pets. And when I say “cheap” I mean inexpensive and affordable.

Here are five hotel chains that welcome household pets (versus service animals, which most chains welcome for free). Some of these hotels do not charge extra for these pets to stay in your room with you, which makes traveling with pets that much more pleasant. The hotel chains are listed here in alphabetical order.

Aloft Hotels

Aloft Hotels are part of the Marriott family. There are nearly 150 Aloft Hotel locations in the United States.

We actually stayed in one of their properties outside the Buffalo-Niagara airport a few months ago. The hotel was clean, quiet and incredibly modern. I would definitely book a stay at an Aloft property again, especially knowing I could bring Oscar and Sadie, my pups.

Aloft pets can receive a complimentary ARF (Animals Are Fun) kit. This includes their own bowl, picker upper bags, tasty treats, a dog tag, pet toys, and their very own signature bed.

Use this link to find travel deals to any Marriott property.

Extended Stay America

With over 600+ hotels across the United States, Extended Stay America has pet-friendly suites that let pet parents like you and me avoid boarding fees at the dog sitter. Plus, you can have your four-legged friend participate in your next family vacation.

At very affordable rates, you can bring up to two pets per room and service animals are even exempt from additional fees. No more worrying if your furry family member is being cared for correctly or over the stress of you being gone might cause them.

Kimpton Hotels

Kimpton Hotels are so pet friendly that they actually have a director of pet relations program. So cool.

Like Aloft Hotels I’ve stayed in Kimpton properties–most recently in Chicago, New York City and Washington, DC. They are some of the coolest hotels around.

FYI, Kimpton Hotels are part of the InterContinental Hotels Group. Use this link to find additional pet-friendly hotels around the world at other InterContinental Hotels!

Many dog-friendly hotels, like Kimpton and Aloft, are also hotels with Peloton bikes, incuding in college towns. Check out this blog post about that topic. 

La Quinta Inn & Suites

My daughter and I recently stayed at a La Quinta Inn & Suites in Dallas, Texas. La Quinta is part of the Wyndham Hotels family.

Not only does La Quinta give you free breakfast (check out my Texas-shaped waffle from our free breakfast) but they welcome pets, too–dogs and cats. You’ll need to bring your own litter box if you’re bringing a cat.

La Quinta has more than 800 locations nationwide, many of them are pet friendly.

Red Roof Inn

Pets stay free at Red Roof Inn. Red Roof has over 500 properties in the U.S. Book now and save 15% Off your next stay at Red Roof Inn with VP code 614872.

If you’d like to do additional research on best places to stay when you travel with pets, I would recommend heading over to TripAdvisor. I always like to read TripAdvisor reviews before booking any travel.

Orbitz Pet Friendly Destinations

According to travel site Orbitz, 77% of travelers plan to take their furry friends on a road trip with them this summer. To help make it a trip to remember, Orbitz has created the first ever pet-centric road map to ensure easy planning.

Orbitz’s road trip map has everything pet parents need including routes, Instagram worthy attractions, outdoor activities and pet-friendly lodging. You can visit and check out all the pet-friendly hotels in every city.

Rent a Pet Friendly RV

This upcoming trip we’re taking, our vacation with our dogs, is all thanks to our ability to rent a pet friendly RV. We started our search on RV Share.

In case you’ve never heard of it, RV Share is a marketplace that allows consumers to rent an RV directly from RV owners. Think of Airbnb for RVs!

Pet friendly RV rentals near me

Like all good search sites, I was able to put filters in for pet friendly RVs on the RV Share site. I could also filter by type of RV–all in one or towable.

Also, I could look for pet friendly RV rentals near me. That way I knew that my search results would only point me towards RVs that would welcome our dogs and would work best for our needs.

While I wish we could have found a pet friendly RV super close to our home, I guess deciding to travel over the July 4th weekend really limited our options. So we’ll be driving two hours east of where we live to pick up our 31-foot pet friendly RV.

You get 24/7 emergency roadside assistance on every booking at RVshare. That gives me peace of mind. So even though you’re renting from a private owner, the company will pitch in if you need help.

This is great to know. The first time we rented a pet friendly RV, the passenger side mirror fell off on the New York State Thruway. We ended up having to drive all the way to coastal Connecticut to get it fixed. This was because the company we used that time did not offer roadside assistance.

Below, is my dog Oscar, chilling outside our rented RV.

rent pet friendly RV

How to travel safely with our dogs in the pet friendly RV

We’re getting a towable pet friendly RV. So that means the dogs will travel in the car they’re used to traveling in for the trip. Of course, you should never travel with your dog loose in the car (or the RV for that matter). So here are some answers to the best ways to secure your dog in the car.

What is the best dog crate for car travel?

According to the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), you should always secure a smaller dog crate in the backseat with a seatbelt. It helps to keep the pets inside safe in a simulated car crash.

So what is the safest dog crate for the car? CPS gave high marks to the kennel crates made by Gunner Kennels. We found a handful of Gunner Kennels for sale on Sure, they’re pricey but you can’t put a price on your pet’s safety.

What is the best seatbelt harness for a dog?

The CPS also tested seatbelts for dogs. Well, harnesses that you put on the dog and then secured to the seatbelt in the backseat of your car.

There were two manufacturers that offer safety tested dog car harness. The CPS certified them to be the safest choices for car travel with dogs. They are

If your dog is a nervous traveler, you can put him in a Thundershirt. Never used a Thundershirt before? It’s similar to a dog coat you might put on your pet. It has Velcro straps and fits snuggly on your pet’s body.

I like to think of the Thundershirt as a piece of clothing that gives your dog a hug. This hug helps the dog feel more secure.

Travel safe products to take your dog on vacation with you

How to Vacation with Your Dog: Products

What to bring when you vacation with your dog

Here are some must-haves to keep on hand when you vacation with your dog:

  1. Take updated vaccinations / medical records with you on the trip.
  2. Carry a copy of your veterinarian’s business card or phone number.
  3. Pack any medications (including heartworm prevention), especially if your pet will be due for a dose when you’re away. (I do my dog’s heartworm and flea/tick medicines on the 1st of every month.)
  4. Make sure your pet’s collar has updated I.D. information.
  5. Have a leash and harness easily accessible.
  6. Pack containers of water for rest stops. You should plan to stop at least every two hours with your dog. 
  7. Have an adequate supply of pet food in a watertight container.
  8. Never leave your pet in the car, especially when it’s hot out.

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