The open road is calling. Your Instagram is filled with wanderlust accounts. You sit at your laptop daydreaming and researching all the places you want to travel. Bookmarks have become your favorite internet tool for saving cities, hostels, and hidden swimming holes. You look down at your feet and there’s Tarzan, staring into your soul with those clear, blue eyes. His tail wags as soon as you make eye contact. The unconditional love is unwavering. He has curled up into your heart and you know there’s no way you can part with him.
For many pet owners, travel gets put on the back burner out of devotion and responsibility. Could travel be too stressful for a pet? What type of accommodations allow animals? Maybe, you’ve heard it's really difficult to cross borders with a furry friend. I’ve been warned that “people will want to steal him”. As with any type of travel, there is a certain level of caution and preparation needed. Here's a list of ways to travel with pets so you can stop making excuses. We use a combination of them. There are pros and cons for each option that will depend on personal preferences. We just want you to know that the possibility is there.
The most traditional and pricey option would be to find hotels that allow pet stays. While not as plentiful as I would like, there are quite a bit of them out there. Bring Fido has over 25,000 listings in its pet-friendly lodging database. Marriott has 1,553 of their hotels listed as pet-friendly on their website. A good choice for international travel with 34 countries included in the list! La Quinta has 700 hotels welcoming wagging tails. More importantly, they don't require a pet deposit. All Kimpton boutique hotels invite you to bring your furry, feathery, or scaly friends with you. They even have a Director of Pet Relations on staff to ensure all goes well.
Airbnb n' Bring a Pet!
The beauty of Airbnb is that it is a personal transaction. Unlike large corporations, you'll deal directly with the owner of the property. Luckily, most people love pets or at least sympathize. On Airbnb, you can filter for "Pets Allowed" under "Amenities" and get a pretty accurate look at availability for a certain location and time frame. Even if a listing doesn't state it's pet-friendly, it couldn't hurt to ask the hosts. Most hosts will consider it on a case by case basis. Trust me. I've asked enough for you. If you do decide to ask a host, share information about your pet in the initial message. Mention the basics; breed, age, and temperament. Does your dog sleep inside or outside? Offer to vacuum and assure the host that you will clean before departure.
Workaway is a global work exchange program. Hosts provide room and board in exchange for a decided amount of work, usually a maximum of 5 hours a day. The work varies from babysitting, language tutoring, gardening, farming, to even photography and design. Depending on the host, pets are allowed with volunteers. This is a great option to learn a new skill anywhere in the world and bring you pet along! Ensure your Workaway profile acknowledges that you have a pet traveling with you. Upload a picture of your pet to the profile. Also, mention your pet in the initial message to a potential host. Don't assume they will remember your profile since hosts are typically contacted by multiple volunteers. There is an annual fee of $29 for singles or $38 for couples.
RV Parks & Campgrounds
This option applies if you're traveling by vehicle but offers the most versatility and levels of service. Most national parks have campgrounds that accommodate tent camping and RV's. Many have bathrooms with showers. Hook-ups such as electricity, water, and sewer are often offered. You can find these just about anywhere. They run an average of $30 per night. They're pretty scarce in the inner city and more expensive. However, right outside the city, where you can see the stars at night, they're plentiful. We love using HipCamp which connects you to public and private campgrounds, RV parks, cabins, yurts, and varying levels of glamping. You all know what glamping is right? It's fancy camping. You'll probably have personal bathrooms. Maybe, a kitchen. Definitely a comfy sleeping arrangement. Pets are often welcome. We've encountered campgrounds with fenced off dog areas and even dog washing stations.
Play with Sparky in a new backyard as often as you like. Imagine it: throwing a tennis ball on green grass overlooking the ocean somewhere in South America. It's possible. Housesitting is just as it sounds. You look after someone else's house while they are away. It may include pet sitting, watering plants, and general landscaping. Typical sits are two weeks but can range up to 3 months. Although rare, longer sits may require a fee for electricity or internet. Housesit opportunities are available all over the world through several websites. Mind My House is just $20 per year to sign up with an average of 200 sits available. Trusted Housesitters is $9.92 a month and typically has thousands of sits listed. This option is the least disruptive on routines and lifestyles. And, if petsitting is a part of the opportunity then your dog may make a new friend!