Thinking about taking a trip with your pet and worried about your budget? Here's the scoop on what it really costs to travel with your pet. With an increasing number of pet friendly accommodations with low or no pet fees coupled with lots of ways to save, it’s more economical to bring pets along than you might think. Here’s the real deal for keeping your wallet in check with your pets in tow.
Pet Friendly Lodging that’s Easy on the Pocketbook
Pet friendly accommodations come in all different “varieties” - vacation rentals, bed & breakfasts, cottages & cabins, and of course hotels and motels. It tends to be a common belief that traveling with pets means exorbitant pet fees - not true. In fact, no matter what type of lodging you’re looking for, you can find many that welcome pet guests to stay for free. While others have pet fees that cost, on average, $15-$20 per night. Compare that with keeping your four-legged family member at home with a pet sitter or at a boarding facility. That will cost you an average of $55/night for a pet sitter and $35/night for boarding. Granted, there are some accommodations that take the “friendly” out of pet friendly by charging high pet fees, but that is definitely the exception, not the rule.
Finding pet friendly lodging with low or no pet fees does not always mean staying at an economy hotel. Yes, convenient economy chains like Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn have a “pets stay free” policy. However, you can also find mid-scale hotels like La Quinta Inns & Suites, as well as high-end brands like Aloft Hotels and Kimpton that also welcome pet guests to stay at no additional charge.
Further, there are certainly many luxury vacation rentals and bed & breakfasts that charge low or no pet fees, it all depends on the property owner. Check out DogWoods Retreat luxury vacation cabins in North Carolina or Avenue O Bed & Breakfast in Texas...no pet fees.
An Ounce of Prevention = No Unexpected Lodging Charges
Don’t leave pests behind. Whenever you’re traveling with your pet, it’s best to apply a flea and tick preventative in advance so you aren’t charged an extra fee for pest removal from the hotel or property you’re staying at.
Accidents happen, so be prepared. Soiled carpets, floors, even bedding are another way to incur additional cleaning costs when staying at pet friendly lodging, so take the necessary steps to avoid this. Walk your dog frequently and put your cat’s litter box in the bathroom where there’s typically tile flooring. Also bring along some of your “tried and true” potty clean-up solution just in case.
Don't let the fur fly because it eventually lands. One sure fire way to be charged extra for cleaning fees is to leave half your pet's fur behind and muddy paw prints on bedding and furniture. So...before leaving for your trip, be sure your pet is clean, well-groomed, and smelling like a rose! Throughout your trip, take the time to brush your pet regularly to help keep flying fur in check. It’s also a good idea to bring along a sheet from home to cover beds and furniture.
Leaving on a Jet Plane or Road Tripping?
If your travel plans don’t involve flying, you’ll only have to worry about time spent on the road rather than additional pet transportation costs. All you have to do is pack up your pet’s travel kennel, car seat, or seat belt, as well as their food, water, pet poop bags, and other pet travel essentials and hit the road.
If you plan to fly with your pet, rest assured - plane tickets for pets are less expensive than those for people, averaging around $100 each way. Airlines do have guidelines for flying with pets, including kennel requirements. It’s possible that you may already own a travel kennel that meets airline requirements, so no additional purchase is necessary. If you don’t already have an airline approved pet carrier, you can pick one up for $25 -$150, depending on size and features.
People AND Pet Friendly Things to Do That are Free for Pets
From winery tours and ghost hunting to whale watching excursions and panning for gems, there are a lot of activities that both you and your pet can partake in while you’re traveling. And the good news is, you don’t have to pay extra for your four-legged sidekick.
Thinking about hitting the beach or grabbing a cold one? Head to a dog friendly beach then cool off at a pooch friendly brewery with your special furbaby by your side. There's always something pet friendly to add to your itinerary, no matter where your travels may take you and the cost of bringing your pet is not just priceless, it’s free!
When You Need to Step Out Without Your Pet
You may have an occasion during your trip when you can’t take your pet with you (if it’s a people-only venue). If you must step out without your pet, a great way to make sure he’s having a day of fun as well, is to scope out a local doggie daycare. The average cost for a day at doggie daycare is about $25 -- a small price to pay to make sure that your little furbaby is well taken care of while you’re doing your people thing.
Traveling with your pet doesn’t mean breaking the bank. So, when it comes down to deciding whether to bring your pet with you on your trip or not, your decision should be primarily based on what’s in his best interest. If you plan to include your pet in your vacation activities, and he’s in good health and a happy traveler, then I think you’ve got your answer.
Author: Elise Laurie
Elise is a big dog lover and marketing major at Central Washington University. As a marketing intern at TripsWithPets.com, Elise most enjoys building on her marketing knowledge and focusing on pets in the process. She is mom to one Chihuahua mix, Sophie, and enjoys traveling with her husband and Sophie in her spare time.