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Traveling with Fido

Rebecca Stanley

Pets are part of the family, so why board them when you go on vacation? Although hotel pet policies can seem like a complex maze, they are easier to understand and navigate once you know the basics.

I love to travel. I also bring at least one of my dogs with me, if not more.  If I have the time and the destination is not too far away, I travel by car.  If traveling by plane, which I truly try to avoid,  I check with the airline for their animal policy. Though rules vary from airline to airline, your dog can typically only fly in the cabin—a.k.a. as a carry-on—if they are small enough to fit in a carrier under the seat in front of you. Any larger than that, and your pup will have to travel in the cargo hold, with the luggage and freight.

Use a third party website to check hotel individual property pet policies, target brands that are truly pet-friendly, and watch out for sky-high pet fees from some big-name hotels.

Here's the basics of staying at hotels with your pets.

What 'pet-friendly' means (and doesn’t)

A pet-friendly hotel is generally one that allows some animals on the property under some conditions. However:

  • Many pet-friendly hotels charge an additional fee. Sometimes this is a flat per-stay fee, sometimes it varies by the number of pets or number of nights stayed.

  • Not all pet-friendly hotels allow all pets. Most allow dogs only, and many of those have size and breed restrictions.

  • Most hotels don't allow pets to be left unaccompanied.

  • Each individual hotel, even within the same brand, often has its own pet policy. Staying at one pet-friendly Marriott, for example, doesn't mean all Marriott properties are pet-friendly.

Make sure to check the specific policy for the hotel property you’re considering before clicking “book.”