It's midsummer and millions of American families are going on vacation. Chances are if you pass a vacation-bound vehicle on the road, one of those passengers will be the family dog.
The 78 million family dogs in this country mean big business for boarding kennels in the summer months, but in recent years, they mean even more revenue for hotels and resorts that welcome them.
It's easier than ever to plan a vacation that includes Rover.
When you are looking for pet-friendly accommodations, a good place to start is one of the many websites that list hotels, resorts, and private owner rentals that allow four-legged visitors.
Be sure to read the charges and policies, which typically include weight and/or breed restrictions, number of dogs, responsibility for damages, and fees. Hotels charge an average of $50 per stay, but can be as much as $150 and some hotels charge by the night.
Taking your dog along on vacation has many advantages besides the obvious one that you enjoy his company and want him with you. Often it's less expensive than boarding your pet at a kennel, eliminates the worry of being separated from him. It also ensures you'll be more active because you'll walk him - a great way to burn up those extra vacation indulgent calories. Dogs are people magnets and you'll meet more interesting folks just walking your dog on the beach than you'd imagine.
Deciphering the "dog code" when picking vacation lodging is crucial.
The most restrictive notation is a "Pets Accepted" property. This usually means just what it says. As an example, Stonewall Resort in West Virginia has six rooms specifically allocated for guests with pets. However, you aren't allowed to eat on the outdoor patio with your dog and dogs aren't allowed in many areas of the resort. If your dog is like my dog, Sadie, and you can't leave her alone in a room, this type of situation probably isn't a good choice.
"Pets welcome" is another term. The Greenbrier resort uses this term. It has four cottages designated for guests with dogs at a charge of $150, but again there's nowhere to dine with your dog. Your dog is not allowed in the main building and other areas of the resort.
For Sadie and me, outdoor dining has been the rule of the road. We've enjoyed gourmet cuisine at many great restaurants that allowed dogs eat on the patios. The Wyndham Hotel in Richmond, Va., even has a specific area in its indoor dining room for guests with dogs.