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Posted on Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 11:06 a.m.

Planning a road trip with your dog? Catch TripAdvisor's top 10 list of pet-friendly hotels

By Lorrie Shaw


Road trip!

flickr photo courtesy of melanieburger

It's always great to get away and see different places whether you're staying close to home or a multi-state road trip.

With the growing trend of so many people sharing their lives with dogs, in particular, it's not that uncommon to see a car pull into a hotel parking lot with a canine or two in tow — a far cry from days past when you might only see a dog tagging along with his family on a camping trip.

This time of year is prime time for a doggie road trip — and why not? The cooler temperatures, great fall color developing in the northeast and with some very popular travel spots being far less crowded, it's a good time to go.

Giving your dogs an opportunity to see different places and have new experiences is healthy and fun for them. Thankfully, a lot of hotels are creating a welcoming space for their guests' pets during their stay.

TripAdvisor is a great online tool that I have used for many years to get quality information on destinations that have piqued my interest, and it has always yielded great results. With listings for hotels, bed and breakfasts, area attractions and restaurants, it's fueled by ratings from the travelers themselves — complete with reviews and message boards to help get the skinny on what's what when traveling.

(The TripAdvisor app for smartphones is fantastic, too — I used it on a recent trip to the South Haven/Saugatuck area.)

Just in time for the fall travel season, the travel site has released their top 10 pet-friendly hotels in the United States.

With accommodations ranging in price from a very affordable $60 to $600 per night, TripAdvisor details some of the best places to visit if you're considering having your pooch tag along. Most of the facilities are more than accommodating, offering plenty of goodies for your dog and complementary dog beds.

Some hotels even offer a doggie concierge service of sorts, giving you a heads up on the pet-friendly events, attractions and restaurants in their area so that you can include your four-legged companion in the fun.

In keeping with the trend, boasts a comprehensive site that offers additional useful resources for pet-loving road warriors.

Hitting the highway for a road trip with pets isn't all that difficult, but as always when thinking about pets, a little preparation and consideration is key in making the time enjoyable, safe and trouble free.

Here are a few tips to make the trip enjoyable for everyone:

  • A well-trained dog is a happy dog. Be sure that your pooch is proficient at listening to commands, walking on leash and is over all well-behaved. (This means barking, too!) Hotel staff, other guests and others along the way will appreciate you and your pets even more.
  • Be sure that your pet's vaccinations are up-to-date. Rabies is needed everywhere, and you should check with your vet to see if any additional precautions are needed, depending on where you are driving.

  • Assemble a pet travel kit to take along. In addition to vaccination record, food, bowl, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack your dog's favorite toy, and a dog bed to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Don't forget your favorite leash (six feet is customary in most areas), a walking harness and your waste bag dispenser!
  • Use a travel bowl like Water Rover for your pet's water, and as a rule of thumb, I say, "bring it." Use bottled water when away from home, as it can cut down on the risk of tummy trouble from unfamiliar water sources.
  • Feed light meals when on the road, and stop for frequent potty breaks.

  • Locate veterinarians and emergency clinics in the area that you're in with ease with the Trip Planner app from HealthyPet.

  • Consider using a car harness or a travel kennel when in the car. Start with short trips to get your pet comfortable with the idea.

  • Have identification tags attached to your pet's flat collar with current info, including your mobile phone, on it. For added measure, have an extra tag made up for your pooch with the hotel's info on it, in case the dog becomes lost — they're super affordable and easy to make at your local pet store. You might even consider having your pet microchipped.

To view TripAdvisor's top 10 list of pet-friendly hotels, click here.

Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger for Catch her daily pet adventures or email her directly.