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8 Tips for Booking Pet-Friendly Accommodations: Planning for Success!

A brown tabby cat and a larger brown dog laying side by side on a hotel bed

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This post is a collaboration with Red Roof . All opinions shared here are my own.  

If you’re a pet owner planning an upcoming trip (even if it’s a local ‘staycation’ in your hometown), then you know that booking pet-friendly accommodations can be a challenge. Don’t give up on your goal of travelling with your pet. Planning a safe and enjoyable stay for you and your pet is surprisingly easy with these simple tips…

As pet owners and lovers, our pets are our world. They are our best friends, therapists, protectors and more.

That being said, it only makes sense to want to include your pets in our travel plans and adventures.

If you are new to travelling with pets, the process of finding and booking pet-friendly accommodations may be overwhelming.

From long and complicated pet policies to hidden fees, there’s a lot to consider.

So, how do people do it? What’s the secret?

Today, I’m going to share some of my biggest tips, tricks and advice for successful pet-friendly travel including finding and booking pet-friendly accommodations, packing for success and more.

PLUS, I have an exciting giveaway to share with all of your courtesy of Red Roof.

Make sure to check it out at the end of this post.

You don’t want to miss out on this great opportunity to win a FREE stay at a Red Roof location!

Related: ‘12 Easy Ways to Save Money on Pet Food

8 Tips for Booking Pet-Friendly Accommodations and Planning A Successful Trip

#1 – Read the Pet Policy Carefully

While many hotels today state that they are ‘pet-friendly’, that phrase can mean something very different from location to location.

Many hotels will impose restrictions based on the number of pets or the size of pet that you are travelling with.

Our girl Daviana is a little bit on the larger size as a German Shepherd mix and we find that her size excludes her from the majority of pet-friendly hotels.

Restrictions may also be in place based on the type of pet (allowing dogs but not cats), age of your pet (preventing high-energy puppies), and more.

The only way to know if the location you are considering is a good fit for you and your pet is to read through the policy carefully.

When in doubt, reach out to the hotel or host for clarification.

As an example, check out the Red Roof Pet Policy on their website.

They do a great job of breaking down all rules and restrictions, including those that are site-specific.

#2 – Take Note of Any Pet-Specific Fees

Another important piece of information that you will want to clarify is whether or not the location charges additional fees for bringing your pet along.

This may come in the form of a security deposit or a daily cleaning fee.

Furthermore, these fees may differ based on the size, type or number of pets that you are travelling with.

#3 – Ask Questions When Booking

I always recommend that pet owners stick to booking pet-friendly accommodations by phone, as opposed to online, as this provides you with the opportunity to ask questions.

Many locations will claim to be pet-friendly but limit the number of ‘pet-friendly’ rooms.

Others will only offer smoking rooms to those travelling with pets due to the potential for ‘pet smell’ being added to the room.

Unfortunately, having to stay in a room that smells like cigarette smoke when you aren’t a smoker could really put on a damper on an otherwise enjoyable trip.

When you are on the phone making your booking, ask them to break down the differences between pet-friendly rooms and the rest of the hotel (if there are any).

Don’t’ be afraid to specific if you are looking for something specific. After all, if you are paying to stay somewhere, want to ensure that you are going to enjoy your experience!

#4 – Know Your Pet’s Personality and Limitations

As a pet owner, we all want to say that our pet is the best-behaved. However, each pet has its own quirks and limitations.

By knowing your pet, you can take step to avoid a potential problem while keeping everyone safe and happy.

Do you have a dog that gets easily worked up by people and busier situations?

If so, you may want to consider asking for a room that is further away from high-energy common areas.

Some locations offer the option of a main-floor room with easy access to the outdoors.

Other considerations to consider include skittish pets that may become anxious quickly.

Is your dog overly protective? Choosing a main-floor room where they are going to see everyone walking or driving past may not be in your best interest.

Related: ‘ResQWalk App | Raise Funds for Your Favourite Rescue Organization!

#5 – Familiarize Yourself with Local Resources

Most hotels have rules in place preventing owners from leaving their pet alone in their room, as this can lead to excessive noise or damage to the room itself.

Rather than trying to secretly break these rules or cancel your plans, take the time to research the options that are available in that area.

Some properties will have a dog walker or sitter available right through the hotel itself that you can hire at an additional cost.

If that’s not an option, investigate local boarding kennels, daycare facilities and pet spas for a safe place that your pet can stay while you’re away.

You can always ask for recommendations when you are making your booking.

Another option would be to stick with pet-friendly activities during your trip.

Many businesses are making the shift to a more ‘pet-friendly’ approach in recent years.

If you want to go out for a meal or a drink while travelling, you may be able to bring your pet along.

We often consult the website Bring Fido before any trips to discover what’s available and the area as well as to read through reviews from other pet owners.

However, don’t forget your pet’s limitations as mentioned above! If they aren’t comfortable with busier public settings, you may need to work up to taking them out to places like this.

#6 – Plan Ahead When Packing

When you’re packing your bags, make sure to carefully consider all of your pet’s needs for your upcoming trip.

In terms of food or treats, it’s always better to bring more than you’re going to need.

Don’t forget the basic needs for your pet to be comfortable including food/water dishes, a bed or blanket from home so that he/she has somewhere familiar to relax and toys to keep your pet occupied.

You never know if something is going to come up and your travel plans are going to change.

For example, if you experience an extreme weather situation or your car breaks down while you’re at your location, are you prepared to stay an extra night?

This is especially important if your pet is on a specific food that isn’t necessarily available everywhere.

#7 – Skip Housekeeping if You Aren’t Readily Available

If you are going to be gone even for a second (running to the ice maker, for example), even if your pet is in a cage or crate, make sure to hang the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your door.

While you may not return to a freshly made bed, this could eliminate a potentially bad situation.

As a responsible pet owner, is your job to keep your pet safe and that responsibility doesn’t end when you’re away from home.

This is also the case if you know that you are going to be occupied taking a shower or even working on your laptop and unable to give your full attention to what is happening with your pet.

You can always request additional towels from the front desk if you need them.

#8 – Take Responsibility for Any Damage

Even the best-behaved pets will occasionally have an accident.

Maybe your pet accidentally knocked over their food or water dishes, staining the carpet, or they bumped into a table causing a lamp to fall off and break.

Don’t sweat it, human guests have accidents too! That being said, taking responsibility is the key to addressing the situation.

As soon as you know that something has happened, contact the property manager to discuss the damage and the steps necessary to deal with the incident.

Don’t put it off until check out.

If you are willing to step up and take responsibility for what happened, most property managers will work with you to rectify the situation.

Waiting for check out shows that you don’t really care that something happened.

Not only will this cause more trouble for you, but it can also give a bad name to all other pet owners moving forward.

A brown tabby cat and a larger brown dog laying on a hotel bed with a title boasting tips for booking pet-friendly accommodations.

Win A FREE Stay at A Red Roof Hotel

I am super excited to have the opportunity to partner with Red Roof on today’s post.

This is a company that prides themselves in not only being pet-friendly, but truly loving and embracing our pet companions.

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Throughout our many travels, our pack has always had great experiences when staying at a Red Roof location.

This year has been a wild one full of uncertainly for many. However, the response from Red Roof is further proof of why I believe you will love this company as much as we do!

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This includes fast internet, free local and long-distance calls, and access to a fax machine.

Related: ‘Easy and Effective Ways to Entertain Your Dog at Home

They have also launched a Student Support Program designed to assist students that are struggling to find a place to stay at this time.

This program provides a 25% discount per room for students that are looking for alternative housing options or for those who are in need of a place to safely quarantine.

Pets can also travel with students and stay free.

Recently, I was contacted and offered a free stay at my choice of their over 650 properties.

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Make sure that you are entering using a VALID email address as I will use it to contact you if you win!

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Do you have any tips and tricks for booking pet-friendly accommodations that I missed?

If so, feel free to share them in the comments to help other pet owners with their upcoming travel preparations.  

About Author

Britt is a digital/social media marketer and the owner of The Social Alternative. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending her time with her ‘pack’ which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs Daviana and Indiana and their 2 cats Pippen and Jinx. A proud pet mom, she shares all her pet-related tips, tricks and funny pet antics on Shed Happens.

82 Comments

  • Morgan Paxton
    January 22, 2021 at 10:42 am

    We’ve never had to travel with our pets but my grandparents used to all the time! They specifically would plan their hotels according to who would allow their springer spaniel to come with! It’s nice that some hotels give that option and you’ve given me some great things to think about! Maybe next year we will plan a trip with our german shepherd!

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 22, 2021 at 5:20 pm

      It can take a bit of work to learn which hotels will allow your pet if you’re not familiar with the options in a given location. However, it’s totally worth it!

      Reply
  • Nancy
    January 23, 2021 at 11:50 am

    I don’t have any pets but I have found myself pet sitting for friends when they have travel plans. This is a great article that I will certainly share with them. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 23, 2021 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply
  • Rebecca Sanchez
    January 24, 2021 at 10:29 am

    Great article Brit – we love reading tips and suggestions for traveling with our dog. We always look for 1st floor rooms – to help with potty breaks. And many hotels now have ‘doggy menus’ so we always check these out when we travel with our pups – fun and creative, and gives the pups something to look forward too (once they get into the hang of traveling). Will share!

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 24, 2021 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you! We love travelling with our pups as well. I agree it does take time for them to get the hang of traveling. However, once they do, there’s no stopping them! lol

      Reply
  • Ruth Epstein
    January 24, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    I would love to win something like this and get away for a couple of days where I can just sit back and relax, thanks for the giveaway

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 24, 2021 at 2:13 pm

      Good luck!

      Reply
  • Kamira Gayle
    January 24, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    You made great points when preparing for traveling with your pet and staying at a hotel. One of my last memories with my cat that passed away was staying at a pet-friendly hotel. Definitely knowing your pet’s personality and asking plenty of questions about rules and fees is important. Also, making sure you are a responsible pet owner to leave the room the same manner you found it is important. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Red Roof Inn.

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 25, 2021 at 8:02 am

      I can’t count how many times I’ve heard stories of trips gone bad that could have been prevented by asking questions before booking. If you are in doubt or unsure about anything, ask. What do you really have to lose?

      Reply
  • Jana Rade
    January 24, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    For the longest time, I had nothing to contribute to the pet-friendly travel because we either went camping or just don’t travel. With my dog’s veterinary specialist visit, though, with the hospital 7-hour drive from where we live, I got a first-hand taste of what that is like.

    A lot of places advertise they are dog-friendly but only as long as the dog is below 20 pounds. Many places were not considered because of stairs–going to a specialist with a lame dog, you don’t want them to have to climb up and down stairs. From the short-listed places, I found only one that met most of our criteria, including no limit on the dog’s size. So that was quite an adventure which I hope I don’t have to repeat any time soon.

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 25, 2021 at 7:59 am

      It’s definitely a struggle! We travel with our pups quite often and while we do camp most of the time, there have been times that are looking at booking accommodations for our trip. I know if there’s a Red Roof in the area, we’re golden. Outside of that, I’ve had better luck with Airbnbs than hotels due to the size of our pups.

      Reply
  • Beth
    January 24, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    These are great tips! My sister’s dog weighs 55 pounds and we have had trouble finding a place to stay with her.

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 25, 2021 at 7:46 am

      She should definitely check out Red Roof! Our girl Daviana is 80lbs, which means that she isn’t welcome at most ‘pet-friendly’ hotels. Luckily, Red Roof has no weight limits!

      Reply
  • Marjorie at Dash Kitten
    January 24, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    I know that I agree 100% with the forgoing housekeeping idea if you need to. Noe one needs the bed made very day and you can ask for replacement soap or shampoo right?

    I also appreciate your advocating honesty when there is an accident. More people need to travel with their pets and Red Roof is the way to go!

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 25, 2021 at 7:44 am

      Right? If it’s going to ensure that my pets are safe and happy, I’m pretty sure that I can handle making my own bed and calling down to the front desk for any supplies that I need. It’s a pretty small sacrifice to avoid a potentially bad situation.

      Reply
  • Sweet Purrfections
    January 25, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve never had to travel with my cats yet, but it’s nice to know what to look for. The only thing I’ve heard from friends who travel with their cats is that “pet friendly” usually means “dog friendly.” It’s sad places discriminate about cats so much.

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 26, 2021 at 12:13 pm

      Yes, I’ve noticed that struggle. In fact, I would tweak that a little bit – most places that say ‘pet-friendly’ actually mean ‘small dog-friendly’. That’s why you need to spend the time and do your research before heading out anywhere in order to ensure that there aren’t any rules you’ve overlooked that could ruin an otherwise great trip! That or fall in love with a place like Red Roof where you just know that you’ll be okay because you know what to expect.

      Reply
  • Shyla
    January 27, 2021 at 8:53 am

    I have never thought to travel with my pet. Mainly because he doesn’t like the vehicle. This is a great post with awesome info. So nice of you to give away your free stay like that!

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 27, 2021 at 2:54 pm

      I LOVE travelling with our pets. We have had the opportunity to create some incredible memories by going on adventures together.

      Reply
  • Elicia P
    January 28, 2021 at 12:38 am

    These are really good tips. I never really thought of bringing something familiar.

    Reply
    • Britt
      January 28, 2021 at 2:24 pm

      It can be a great source of support if they are struggling with anxiety.

      Reply
  • Sophie Harriet
    January 30, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    I’ve always had cats and never dogs, so I have never taken a pet with me on holiday before. However, it’s great to know that pet-friendly accommodation exists! xx

    Reply
    • Britt
      February 1, 2021 at 8:40 am

      There has been a growing interest in travelling with cats as well. Lovingly referred to as ‘adventure cats’, they camp, hike, canoe… you name it. Anything that a dog can do, they can do!

      Reply
  • Elizabeth W
    January 31, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    Thanks for this giveaway and for all the tips in this post! I hope I win!

    Reply
    • Britt
      February 1, 2021 at 8:23 am

      Thank you!

      Reply
  • Rebecca S
    January 31, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    I love traveling with my pets! Glad to see this hotel is pet friendly and one less thing I have to worry about when vacationing!

    Reply
    • Britt
      February 1, 2021 at 8:23 am

      As long as there is a Red Roof location wherever you go, you’re set!

      Reply
  • Ashley W
    January 31, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    Love all these tips! What a great partnership and giveaway! I would be so happy to win this and travel with our family and our mini golden doodle!

    Reply
    • Britt
      February 1, 2021 at 8:22 am

      Travelling with our pets is so much fun, isn’t it?

      Reply
  • Jenny
    January 31, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing this information. I love that motels are more pet friendly over the years.

    Reply
    • Britt
      February 1, 2021 at 8:21 am

      It’s a great shift and I’m hoping that it continues this way.

      Reply
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