Monday, October 10, 2016

5 Questions you should ask before you book that pet-friendly overnight accommodation.

Traveling with pets takes some added preparations, especially when you are booking overnight accommodations. Whether you are staying at a pet-friendly hotel, RV park or vacation rental, there are some facts you should get, before you make your reservations. Here are 5 important questions you should ask before booking that overnight accommodation.

1. Do you have any breed or size restrictions?

Many dog-friendly hotels, campgrounds and vacation rentals have restrictions on the size of dogs that they allow. In most cases, smaller dogs and other small pets are no problem, although you may find restrictions if you travel with exotic pets. Large breed dogs, however, may not always be welcome. Many hotels and vacation rentals will restrict dogs to 60 pounds or less.

Next, be sure to inquire about breed restrictions. I found that many campgrounds do not accept all dog breeds. There may be exclusions for certain type of powerful breeds, such as Pit Bulls and Dobermans.There may also be breed restrictions at hotels or vacation rentals.

No matter how well behaved your dog, if he is a breed or size that is not allowed, do not try to circumvent the pet-policy of the establishment. Continue your search for a suitable accommodation. It is always better to get the information beforehand, rather then to get turned away the day of your arrival.

2. How many pets are allowed per room, or campsite?

I have found that most places restrict the number of pets you can have in your room or campsite. Hotels and campgrounds I have stayed at would allow up to 2 pets per room/site. Many of the vacation rentals  allow only one pet per family.

 If, like me, you travel with several pets, you need to research and look for those places that let you bring all your fur-babies. There is also a chance that the owner may make an exception for you. I travel with two dogs and a cat. Most campgrounds that had restrictions for only 2 pets per site, often allowed me to stay, when I mentioned the third animal was a cat. It never hurts to ask. But don't just assume it will be fine. It is better to be turned away at time of booking than to find yourself without a place to stay late in the day.

3. Can pets be left by themselves in the room, home or RV?

Especially if you plan to stay for several nights, find out what the policy is on leaving your pet in the room, home or in your RV. You might want to run to the grocery store, or go out to dinner at night. Most dog-friendly accommodations understand you need to leave your pets unattended at times, but they may have certain restrictions. Find out what they are, so you can be prepared to follow them.

Here is an important tip when you are staying at a hotel; be sure to put the do-not disturb sign on your door and let the front desk know how to reach you. Unaware hotel staff can leave doors open during housekeeping and your pet can be lost.

Some accommodations that allow you to leave your pets, require that you crate them during your absence. Don't just wait for them to mention it, make a point to ask. This information is important to know prior to your travel, so you can be sure to bring your crate with you.

4. What kind of pet-friendly amenities or services are offered?

Many hotels that do not allow unattended pets, offer a dog sitting service, or at least recommend one that is available nearby. You will need to find a doggy daycare or boarding facility for you dog, if you are unable to leave them in the room for longer periods of time.  Also inquire about dog-friendly restaurants in the area, so you can take your pet with you to lunch or dinner.

If your pets are dogs, don't forget to inquire about areas available for you to walk. Many dog-friendly accommodations offer dog parks, but there are also those that don't. Ask the question, rather than assuming that a pet-friendly place would have such an area. It will make your stay a lot more comfortable.

5. What are the additional costs for bringing a pet?

In most cases, you will pay an additional fee for bringing your pets with you. While most places charge a few dollars extra per night, some  charge a nightly fee per animal and  require an additional cleaning fee at the end of your stay. I have seen places that charge a pet-deposit, which was non-refundable, in addition to a pretty hefty nightly fee. Always clarify at time of booking what the costs are, so you don't get surprised with a much higher bill than you expected.

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