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By Dave Sumner

The pros and cons of budget conscious, dog friendly travel

One of the greatest challenges for dog lovers who love to travel is being forced to leave their beloved dogs behind in a kennel. It can be expensive to kennel dogs while traveling, and the kennel is often a lonely, boring place for a dog to await your return.

Instead of leaving your dog behind during your next vacation, consider these tips for traveling with your pup.

How to find a dog-friendly vacation destination

Many dog lovers really miss their pets while traveling, and more would take Fido with them if they were sure of which accommodations allow dogs. One solution can be found through self-serve rental websites, such as and

Sites such as these allow travelers to find pet-friendly rentals in cities all over the world. Depending on your travel needs, you can rent anything from a bedroom to a mansion and bring your doggies along for the trip.

Taking your dog along can save you money

Our family's first dog-friendly vacation was in 2014, when we rented a studio apartment in the South Beach section of Miami Beach, Florida, for two weeks. We found the apartment through a self-service website by searching for pet-friendly rentals. Although a suburban pet, our dog quickly acclimated to the faster pace of city life.

While in South Beach, we were able to introduce our dog to the ocean at a dog beach in nearby Key Biscayne. Each day, she got long walks on the Miami Beach boardwalk and a trip to the dog park. By taking her along, we explored the city on foot way more than usual. Additionally, we did not have to feel guilty about leaving her stuck in a kennel. And we saved hundreds of dollars on kennel fees!

Taking your dog will make you both happier

The Miami Beach success soon inspired us to rent a dog-friendly cabin in the mountains of East Tennessee. Again, we saved money on kennel fees and we took our dog out daily for long walks through the woods. Rather than going home to a depressed pooch who had been stuck in a kennel, we took home a happy, tired pooch who was ready for a long nap to recover from her own active vacation.

For our next adventure, we rented a house through one of the self-service sites for a month in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. Although the drive to Santa Fe was 1,400 miles, our dog was much happier going along for the ride than being alone at home. It had never felt right to leave such an important family member behind, and being able to take her along has completely changed the way we travel.

Pros of dog-friendly travel

• You save the cost of kennel fees

• You know your pets are being cared for properly

• You alleviate the "vacation guilt" of leaving your dog behind

Cons of dog-friendly travel

• You may have to pay a non-refundable pet fee

• You will have to interrupt vacation activities to take your dog out for "potty breaks"

• You will either have to carry dog food with you, or interrupt your trip to go buy dog food

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