Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals
We asked a dog travel expert how to plan a family vacation that includes your pet
Let’s face it: When you vacation with the entire family, including the dog, sometimes a hotel room just isn’t as convenient as having a house with a fenced backyard for an early-morning romp and a kitchen where you both can chow down, just like back home.
Whether traveling within the United States or to other countries, vacation rental websites provide advantages like these for the 53 percent of travelers, who tripadvisor.com says, bring their pets. Since pet acceptance is the fourth most wanted amenity (according to moneywise.org), many hosts, like Maggie Espinosa (travelwithmaggie.com), accept pets in their rented homes. Here’s what Maggie has to say about going the house-rental route.
Why is renting a home a good choice for pet owners?
Airbnb [where Maggie lists her property, and other vacation rental sites] gives pet owners the option to rent a house with a yard and more space when traveling with their two- and four-legged family members.
What are the five most important questions a pet owner should ask when considering a vacation rental?
1. Does the home have an adequate fenced yard?
2. How many pets do you allow at the property?
3. Is there a size limit for my pet?
4. Do you provide food and water bowls?
5. Is there a pet fee?
What tips can you share with our readers who travel out of the country with their pets?
The pet will need proof of vaccinations and a health certificate from their veterinarian. Since rules for traveling out of the country with pets change frequently, I suggest they contact their veterinarian to inquire about what else is needed to travel to their particular destination.
Is there a limit on how many pets are allowed?
Each pet-friendly rental has its own rules. I allow one or two pets at my house.
Who should people ask to get the most reliable pet-friendly vacation rental information?
I suggest guests contact the host directly to ask specific questions about their pet staying at the house.
There are lots of sites to help you navigate the world of vacation homes that let you bring your pets, including Airbnb, VRBO, Home Away, Vacasa, Bring Fido, Owner Direct and Petswelcome, among others.
…the ad says dog-friendly, call the owner to clarify what dog-friendly means to that owner.
…you have a service dog and/or emotional support dog, the host may not decline or charge you more money for the stay. Always double-check the state’s regulations.
…you are staying in a rental that does not allow pets, and one of your guests brings a dog, contact the host or owner to get approval immediately. (You don’t want to exit under heated circumstances.)
…you should experience a pet emergency while on your trip, be prepared by obtaining the address of your destination’s closest vet or emergency pet clinic ahead of time, and by bringing your own first-aid kit and a copy of your pet’s medical record with you on your trip.
…you want your pet to feel extra comfy while away from home, bring sealed kibble so he maintains his same diet and bring your pet’s blanket and favorite toy.
…you leave your rental home for a night and head out where you can’t bring a pet companion, make sure every exit at the home is secured. Leave the TV and a light on.
Wondering where your pooch might prefer to go on vacation?
Water dogs, retrievers and setters yip, “Yes,” to seaside or lake vacation spots. But you may get lots of useless barking if you try to bribe your Chinese crested, Pekingese or shih tzu to jump in the water. Their vote on a seaside or lake vacation? A resounding no.
Book a vacation rental property in the mountains, if your family “best friend” is a border collie, Alaskan malamute or Burmese mountain dog. They will vote “Yay” for blazing through forest trails and snow banks.