How to find the perfect pet-friendly hotel

How to find the perfect pet-friendly hotel

About 60 percent of pet owners bring their pets with them when they travel, according to a 2011 study conducted by the website, GoPetFriendly.

More and more hotels have caught wind to the trend and have implemented pet-friendly policies, providing pet owners with an alternative to traditional animal boarding kennels. Even big-name chains like Marriott, Choice Hotels and W Hotels have pet-friendly locations. Luckily, you'll find thousands of motels, hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts across the United States that not only accept pets, but cater directly to their needs.

Here's how to find the best pets hotel for you and your furry friend:

Search online and ask for recommendations

Search travel directories for pet-friendly hotels in your destination area. Hotels typically advertise their pet-friendly accommodations under amenities. If you find that your search comes up dry, contact the state tourism department for more information. Also ask your family and friends for recommendations. A good word from a trusted source makes all the difference when choosing a hotel for you and your pet.

Call the front desk

Call the front desk of your favorite hotel to ask about their specific pet-friendly policies. They can vary greatly from hotel to hotel. Some hotels set aside a few particular rooms for people with pets. These rooms often fill up quickly, so you'll need to book a room far in advance. Some hotels advertise as being "pet-friendly," but actually charge you an additional fee for pets of $25 or more. Many hotels also tack on additional pet expenses such as refundable deposits (of $100 or more) and require that you accept financial liability for any damage your pets cause to hotel property. Some even charge additional cleaning fees.

Find out pet policies

Be sure to ask about specific pet regulations. Some hotels allow cats and dogs, but not exotic pets such as birds or ferrets. Others have specific guidelines as to weight, size and breed. If your pet doesn't meet the specific requirements of the hotel, don't give up hope. Talk to the hotel manager to see if special arrangements can be made.

Also ask about what kind of documentation you'll need to bring along. Many hotels require proof that your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations. Lastly, find out the hotel's policy on leaving your pet alone in the room. Some hotels won't allow pets to be left alone in a room, while others require that pets stay crated when you leave.

Ask about pet-friendly amenities

Many pet-friendly hotels offer exciting amenities for their furry guests. Be sure to ask about extras like doggie day care, kenneling, dog walking and pet massages. Some even offer pillows, bags of doggie treats and pet "room service." Just make sure to find out how much the hotel charges for these services.

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