Ask Trip Coach: Top Tips for Traveling With Your Pet
Sometimes dogs and cats need a getaway, too. With the right planning, you can include every member of the family on your next vacation. Our Trip Coach shows you how.
Are there any places that simply don't allow pets?
Every park has its own rules, but generally National Park Service sites aren't as pet-friendly as you might think. Pets are barred from most trails and campgrounds, including those in Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon National Parks. The same goes for most national monuments, like the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, and the Washington Monument. Check nps.gov for guidelines. Also, pets are often banned or allowed limited access on many U.S. public beaches, especially during peak season. Petfriendlytravel.com/dog_beaches lists specific rules for dog-friendly beaches across the U.S.
What if I can't take my pet along for some parts of the trip?
Don't just leave your companion at the hotel. "Some properties simply don't allow it," says Heather Hunter, a spokeswoman for AAA who works on Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook. Hunter recommends calling ahead to check on that property's policy. If leaving a pet unattended is allowed, though, be sure to notify housekeeping and crate the animal while you're out. The housekeepers will appreciate it, and you could save yourself a bundle: Even the mildest creatures have been known to wreak havoc when left alone in unfamiliar territory. After all, would you want to be left alone all day? If your hotel doesn't allow solo pets, ask the concierge to help you find a local dog sitter, kennel, or special "pet hotel" (basically a day camp for dogs and cats). National retailer PetSmart offers doggy day care and overnight programs, and petsitters.org lists professionals around the country.