The choice between boarding a pet and taking him with you on vacation is being made easier, as boarding facilities replace impersonal cages with comfortable suites complete with dog beds and televisions, and hotels go out of their way to offer pet-friendly facilities to their four-legged guests.
In 2016, 7.25 percent of total hotel bookings were made to pet-friendly hotels, according to hotel comparison site HotelsCombined. “We’re seeing hotels throughout the United States offering an impressive selection of pet-friendly accommodations,” said Chris Rivett, travel expert at HotelsCombined. “Many even include complimentary doggie gift bags, and even have a special ‘pet concierge’ to make sure pets are comfortable and have everything they need to enjoy their vacation.” With over 46,000 pet-friendly hotels listed on the platform, vacationers are finding plenty of opportunities.
One of several boutique hotels which go out of their way to pamper man’s best friend, the George Hotel in Washington, D.C. has a pet concierge which greets pets by name and treats them to a complimentary gift bag of treats. At the hotel’s daily 5pm happy hour, guests and pets alike mingle and chat, giving pets a chance to socialize and giving people a chance to show off their best friends.
Bringing your pet with you on vacation can be rewarding for both pets and humans, but there are a few tips to consider to make the most of the experience:
Time to adjust. Your pet – especially dogs – may need a little time to adjust to new surroundings, so don’t be in a hurry to run out the door as soon as you’ve checked in, or your dog may get distressed, chew on the furniture or disturb neighboring guests with loud barking. Before you hit the tourist destinations, your first priority should be to take the dog out for a long walk to tire him out, and then spend a little time in the room with him before you head out.
Create a comfortable space for your pet. Being in an unfamiliar space may cause some pets distress, which can often be relieved just by creating a comfortable space just for him. This should include a cushion or dog bed on the floor, feeding dishes, and a few favorite toys from home. Some hotels will provide feeding dishes and a dog bed as part of the service, but find out what they offer before you go, so you will know what to bring.
Taking precautions. Make sure your dog’s tag is on securely, and that it includes your mobile phone number, which you should carry with you when you’re out – that way, hotel staff can get in touch with you in case of emergency.
Extra treats! Amenities at some pet-friendly hotels aren’t limited to bathrobes and cable television, some offer a little bag of treats upon check-in, just to help your pet feel comfortable right away. That said, you know what your pet likes, so bring plenty of extra treats from home.
Take a break mid-day from your travels. Even the most well-mannered dog will get restless if left alone for too long. Plan your day’s activities so that you can return to the hotel mid-day to give your pet a break, take him for a walk and give him a little extra comfort before you head out again.
Call ahead! Pet-friendly hotels often have only a limited number of pet-friendly rooms. Let the agent know you’re bringing a pet ahead of time when you make your reservation to make sure they can accommodate your pet. Depending on the hotel, there may be an additional fee involved, and there may be limitations as to the number and size of pets they allow.
Green space. The best pet-friendly hotels will have plenty of nearby green space for dog walks. A hotel may advertise being “pet-friendly,” but if the only place to walk is along the access road to the Interstate, it’s not going to be a pleasant experience for animals. Ask the concierge how close the nearest green space or park is before making the reservation.
Traveling with your pet can be a great comfort, and can make your vacation even better. Just follow these few simple rules to make your trip a great one for both you and your pets.
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