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6 Tips for a Happy, Pet-Friendly Hotel Stay
I LOVE taking my dogs with me on road trips and tend to bring them on practically all of my vacations. They’ve gotten pretty used to being in the car and love exploring new destinations, but it took some time to get them used to sleeping in strange places. Some of you may have seen on our social media pages that we just got back from a mini vacation at Virginia Beach. We had the BEST time! It was also Roxie’s first time staying in a hotel and she did great!
Staying in a hotel can be a bit unnerving for your pet, especially if they don’t do so often. The unfamiliar smells and the sounds of people coming and going can he a bit stressful for some dogs (and cats!). I thought I’d share some tips for any of you who don’t travel with your pets often to help make your pet-friendly hotel stay an enjoyable experience for you AND your pet.
1. Find Pet Friendly Accommodations
While a lot of our trips involve sleeping in a tent, sometimes you just want a nice comfy bed.. and some air conditioning. Okay, and also a shower! There’s a bit of extra planning involved when you travel with a pet, but if you ask me, it’s always worth it! Step 1 is finding a pet-friendly hotel for your vacation.
My mom, my sister and I wanted to do a girl’s trip. Virginia Beach is about halfway between Charlotte, NC (where we live) and where my mom and sister live in Northeast PA. The beach was calling our name, so we started planning a Virginia Beach girl’s getaway. I knew right away what hotel chain I was checking out first, and that was Red Roof Inn. Between our countless long distance moves (Florida to NC, NC to Texas, Texas back to NC) and many multi-day road trips, we have stayed at Red Roof Inns all over the country and here’s why.
They’re clean, comfortable, friendly, affordable, and have over 450 convenient locations. Best of all, they’re SUPER dog friendly. I don’t mean “pet friendly” like some other hotel chains. “Oh yeah, we’re pet friendly, there’s just an extra $50/night pet fee per dog.” Umm.. that’s not very pet friendly?? I’d never be able to travel anywhere with my gang at that rate!
At Red Roof Inn, pets stay free!! Yup, that’s right, FREE!
Hmm.. no pet fee means you have extra spending money for your vacation… I think we’re running low on treats! 😉
Start your vacation days off on the right foot. Wake up refreshed and ready for the day with a good night’s sleep!
2. A Tired Dog is a Happy Dog
While not everything on your vacation itinerary will be dog-friendly, there are always lots of fun things to do and see with your dog in any city or town. Keeping them active and giving them the opportunity to burn off some energy during the day will make for a much easier night in a new place for your pup.
I did some research before we hit the road for Virginia Beach and planned some fun in the sun for us girls, Roxie included. The main beach by the resorts is not dog-friendly during season, but the northern and southern sections of the beach are, plus some local parks. We made sure to spend a good portion of every day in dog-friendly areas where we could bring Roxie along.
One of our favorites were First Landing State Park, which had great trails and low-key dog friendly beaches. Roxie explored the cypress swamps and shorelines and made lots of new dog friends at the beach. We also spent our last morning in the dog-friendly northern section of Virginia Beach, where the dogs ran and played in the surf and had a grand old time.
We got back to the hotel every night salty, sandy, and exhausted. Boy did a shower and a nice comfy bed hit the spot after a long day. Roxie is a bit of a bed hog, but she’s cute, so we let it slide.
3. Rainy Day Backup Plans
If your destination is centered around outdoor activities like the beach, hiking, or sightseeing, a “Plan B” is important. Do some research before your trip and make a list of fun indoor activities in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. Make sure to bring some of your dog’s favorite toys to help keep them from getting restless if you get cooped up in your hotel room during a storm too.
The weather forecast for our trip was not ideal, to say the least. The weatherman called for thunderstorms EVERY DAY during our trip. But we vowed to make the most of it and managed to get in a whole lot of fun in the… sand??? in between storms. I’d say sun, but we really didn’t see any of that until our last day at the beach.
On Saturday afternoon, our rain-dodging luck ran out and we were hit with some pretty intense storms. It down-poured for a good 6 hours or so and we were SO thankful to have a dry place to hang out while we waited for it to pass. We played card games and snacked and Roxie, well, she decided she needed to be right in the middle of the action…. to sleep!
4. Normal Feeding Routine
Just like I’ve mentioned in previous posts about camping with your dog, schedules are important. Much like children, many dogs crave structure and routine. A great way to decrease anxiety is to keep as many things consistent as you can when you’re away from home. I do my best to feed my dogs the same food they eat at home at about the same time, even when we’re on vacation. It doesn’t always happen, but I try. Dogs are creatures of habit and boy do mine know when it’s dinner time!
5. Comforts of Home
One of the easiest ways to make your dog feel comfortable in a new space is to surround them with familiar sights and smells. If they have a dog bed or favorite blanket that they like to sleep on at home, make sure you bring them on your trip. After a long day exploring the area, they’ll welcome a snooze in their own bed. If your dog is crate trained, you can also bring their crate to use when you’re away from the room.
6. Boredom Busters
There will be things that you want to do on your vacation that are just NOT dog friendly. It may be a nice restaurant on the water, an art museum, some shopping, or any other assortment of things that are less than welcoming to our furry friends. For times like these, I bring long lasting treats to help curb anxiety and give my dogs something to do while I’m gone. Some of my personal favorites are quality chews like bully sticks and stuffed Kongs.
Planning an upcoming summer vacation?
Have questions about traveling with your dog? Or maybe other pet hotel stay tips that you’d like to share?
Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading!
Debbie & THE MUTTS