Pet-Friendly Travel - Alternatives to Hotels and Motels

Families often bring their dogs on holidays. Most people are aware that many hotels and motels allow pets - but what about other types of accommodations? Travelers with pets actually have a lot of choices, from bed & breakfasts to cottage resorts and vacation rentals, and even the occasional spa.

The diversity of pet-friendly lodging provides options for pet owners who may have something special in mind. For instance, a couple seeking a romantic weekend away can stay at one of the many Bed & Breakfasts that welcome pets. Pets that stay in a B&B should be comfortable being in close quarters with other people; shouldn't be excitable (no jumping up on other guests!); and should be mellow and quiet (lots of barking might very well ruin the intimate atmosphere of a B&B). And begging at the breakfast table should be discouraged!

A family-friendly cottage resort is a great option for guests who want plenty of outdoor activities for the kids and lots of room to walk the dog. Again, pets that visit family resorts need to be comfortable with lots of people around, but also with small children. Always keep your dog leashed and under control and don't let him chase other guests' children around, even in fun. Bring lots of paw towels for wiping down your dog after he spends the day playing. Some family resorts do not allow pets during the busy summer months due to the possibility of conflict between dogs and children.

Another option for travelers with pets - and an option that's becoming more popular - is a cottage or vacation rental. One advantage of a vacation rental is the privacy. Often times, it's a single unit on its own property. Your dog has lots of room to run and play, and the occasional bark is less likely to disturb anyone since there are no other guests. Plus a vacation rental often has much more room for your family and dog to relax (both indoors and outdoors) without having to worry about bumping into other guests.

Not every lodging allows pets, so make sure you check before you book, even if you've stayed there before. This is especially important if you plan to bring a pet other than a dog: many accommodations that accept dogs may not allow cats, rabbits, birds, or exotic pets - although some lodgings now offer a "Bale & Breakfast" option to guests who travel with their horses!

Of course, before you decide to bring your pet on vacation, make sure that he's well-behaved, healthy, and enjoys travel. Ask yourself honestly what types of things you want to do while on holidays - if it's mostly stuff where your pet can't join you, then it may be better to leave him comfortably at home with a trusted pet-sitter. If you decide you do want to bring your pup with you, ask the accommodation for their pet policies (including any extra pet fees) before you book. And finally, be a good "pet ambassador": keep your pet under control, clean up after him, and don't let him disturb other guests.