With the weather FINALLY starting to get warmer many of you may be thinking of taking a road trip or visiting friends or family. And often you wonder “Can I bring Mocha/Nora/Winston with me?” The answer is YES if you pick one of these very pet-friendly and affordable hotel chains.
I have three former shelter cats that compete in TICA’s Household Pet class so I’ve done a lot of traveling around Washington and Oregon as well as British Columbia and Alberta, Canada over the past few years. Here’s my picks for most affordable pet-friendly hotel chains. Note: always check ahead of time with the particular hotel you want to stay at to make sure their pet rules are similar to the standard for that chain.
Motel 6 – http://www.motel6.com I put this one at the bottom because well, they tend to be pretty bare-boned rooms with few amenities. I stayed at one with “free WiFi” once and found out that it only applied to the four rooms closest to the office because that’s as far as the router would reach! I actually sat on the ground outside the office for a little while so I could get some work done. Another room was so small that when you opened the dresser drawer it hit the bottom of the bed. Another didn’t even have a dresser – just open cubes to put your clothing in. They also tend to rent out rooms on a weekly basis so you might have some questionable neighbors. So if there’s no other option BUT a Motel 6, put this one as your “well at least the pet can stay” last choice option as they do stay for free. They also tend to be very inexpensive.
Super 8 – http://www.super8.com Since some Super 8’s do charge a fee per pet this keeps this hotel chain further down my list. In most cases it’s $10 per pet per stay. All hotels offer a free continental breakfast and many offer free WiFi. One thing I do like about Super 8’s is that they are in both the US and Canada and there’s lots of them all over. Some also have added features that you tend to only find at fancier hotels – i.e., the free shuttle to Walt Disney World and the other parks at the Orlando, FL location I stayed at.
Red Lion Hotels – http://www.redlion.rdln.com/ I’ve stayed at Red Lions in both BC, Canada and Oregon and have always been quite pleased. The rooms are nicely appointed and very large, the beds are super comfortable and if you sign up for their R&R Club your pet always stays for free. You can also gain points towards a free stay. Many locations also include a free breakfast. When you’re traveling with pets I’ve always found this a major plus since it means your pet can relax in your room while you eat instead of waiting in your car. Then once you’re done with breakfast, grab your pet, check out and off you go. Red Lion hotels, however, are only found in Western US states and BC, Canada.
And my choice for Best Traveling With Pets Hotel Chain is:
La Quinta Inns & Suites – http://www.lq.com/ First off, there’s never a pet fee. Secondly, the rooms at every La Quinta I’ve stayed at in Washington, Oregon and California have had REAL furniture in them – free standing dressers and TV armoires. For a very low price you’re staying in a room that seems like it should have cost you far more. Most have free high-speed internet and swimming pools as well. And most La Quintas also have a great free breakfast that includes cereal, muffins, toast, bagels and at many locations – make your own waffles – yum! There’s also coffee, juice, milk and fruit. A friend of mine recently stayed at one in Lacey, WA and they had free freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen in the evening being handed out for several hours by a friendly La Quinta staffer. Sadly, there are no La Quinta Inns in Canada but they are found all over the United States.
To ensure these hotels (and others you may find) continue to allow pets please do all you can to make sure your pet makes the least impact on the cleaning staff and other hotel guests. Here’s a few tips I’ve found that really help:
1) Bring a garbage bag with you so you can dump the litter pan when checking out and take the garbage bag with you to the dumpster outside.
2) Bring along a small dustpan and broom to clean up scattered litter and/or food. If you have a small hand held vacuum cleaner – even better.
3) Most hotels state that the pet can not be left unattended in your room. Try to stick with this rule and if you do have to leave your pet, put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. Housekeeping may not know you have a pet and there’s too much a chance of your pet getting loose if they prop the door open with their cart. And if your dog is a barker or unfriendly to strangers do NOT leave it behind in the room – period.
4) If your dog or cat likes to sleep up on the bed bring small blankets you can put down between your pet and the bed to lessen the amount of fur left behind.
5) Do be sure your pet is free of fleas and ticks. If there’s any doubt get a dose of Advantage or Revolution from your vet several days in advance of your trip.
To ensure your pet can be returned to you as quickly as possible should it get lose make sure your dog is wearing a collar with a tag with your current information and that both cats and dogs are microchipped.
One final tip – if you use http://www.hotels.com to book your stay after ten nights you can get one night free at any eligible hotel on their website. If you book through an individual hotel’s website try searching for coupon codes online for that hotel. I find these all the time and end up with great discounts – sometimes making it even cheaper than hotels.com’s rates.
And what to do with all that money you’ve saved? Why, more catnip and dog toys, of course!
Happy traveling to you and your furry friends,