Book a place to stay as soon as possible, as pet-friendly accommodation tends to be limited. Depending on the location, it is worth noting that Airbnb may not be the most affordable option. Always check hotels and hostels as well, to make sure that you know all the options. Remember that hostels also have a limited number of private rooms available, although if your pet is social a dormitory bed can also be a fun experience! If your pet is rather on the timid or reactive side, being the early bird means you'll have more choice when it comes to finding a suitable place. Some things I try to look out for in location as a dog owner:
- Accessibility: an apartment or room situated on the ground or first floor.
- Greenery: close to a park, off-leash dog area or forest for exercising. Be sure to check the relevant leash laws!
- Convenience: with a direct route to the main station (when travelling by train) or with free parking (when travelling by car).
Pro Tip: Non-carpeted and non-wooden floors are the best choice when it comes to cleaning and avoiding damage (claws!).
A key point to look at in any case is whether there are any pet-related surcharges, as these can vary greatly and range from no extra costs at all to up to €50 per pet per night. Be prepared to pay a cash deposit, and always make sure to read the fine print as there may be other pet-related restrictions such as:
- number of pets per room
- size (weight or height)
- species (e.g. no cats)
- breed (e.g. no pitbulls)
- supervision (pets cannot be left alone)
- sleeping area (restricted to their crate)
It is best to stick as closely as possible to your pet's regular routine to minimize the amount of adaptation and stress your pet experiences.
- Bring along a small supply of your pet's regular food. If you are going to be away for an extended period, you can either order some food to be delivered to your first place of accommodation (save some space in your luggage), or use the small initial supply to acclimatize your pet to a local brand.
- Don’t forget bottled water (or boil the water) if it is unsafe to drink in your travel destination) and be sure to bring any prescribed medications.
Prep the vacation home (or room): before you let your pet roam free, be certain that it is safe. Make sure that electrical cords are out of reach and that previous occupants didn’t leave anything on the floor or under furniture that could be potentially harmful to your pet.
Bonus Tip: if you are travelling to multiple cities or regions, leaving the crate in storage at the hotel of your arrival between stays can save you a lot of hassle!
When travelling by yourself, it is inevitable that you will need to leave your pet alone for short periods. There are some steps that you can take to make sure that your pet feels secure and causes minimal disturbance to others.
- Always remember to put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door in case of staying in a hotel and leaving your pet alone temporarily!
- You don't need a fancy surveillance system, you can also use Telegram to call your laptop or another phone to observe and talk to your pet!
We all hope that our pets won't cause any damage, but in case it happens it is important to take a proactive approach. Make sure to take photographs when you first arrive, in case you need to compare it to after damage has occurred. This isn't usually necessary in more upscale places, but it is a must when you are staying in accommodation with some obvious wear and tear.
In the best case scenario, you should have liability insurance to cover such damage (if you have Mastercard Gold, booking at least 75% of your trip by credit card is necessary to qualify for insurance coverage). If you do not, however, then you should always ask for the official quote or receipt for the repairs or replacement (in the case of bed sheets etc.) before you make any payment. Costs can differ greatly by country and sadly such circumstances are often used as an opportunity to rip tourists off.