As the holiday high has now worn off and everyone is back to work and back to school, dreams of a vacation burn big in my head. It’s that humdrum of being back to the daily grind after the crush and chaos of the past two months or so- and living in a state like Michigan- craving a place that does not offer the exquisite winter weather of the enchanted mitten. But where to go? A quick weekend to tide me over, or plan big and wait it out?
The popular KOA brand offers tent campsites, RV sites, cabins, and unique lodgings to
rent. Many sites offer dog parks for play. Make sure you get camp appropriate gear for Fido too. You can get your pup his very own tent too, like this one from Frontgate.
Many hotel chains are also pet friendly. The Kimpton Hotels line is pet-friendly and will welcome you and your furry friend- no weight, breed, or quantity limits- at no extra charge. Be greeted with a fluffy pet bed, food and water bowls, water and treats in the lobby, and a list of pet-friendly attractions and businesses in the area from concierge. Can’t bring your pet? Request a substitute pet goldfish for your stay instead.
Loews Hotels are pet friendly and limit you to a maximum of two pets and charge a one time deposit of $25. However, your pooch can choose from a doggie room service menu, spa treatments, and dog walking services for an additional fee. Loaner beds, bowls, and an ID tag are provided.
For a little luxury, how about the W Hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, Hilton or the Mandarin Oriental? All of these have weight and quantity limits which vary by property, and each also has a per day fee which varies. However, expect to be pampered to the max! It wouldn’t be unusual to have staff call your pup by her name every time you walk down the hall, or have a loaner Burberry raincoat during your stay. At the Hilton, your dog will receive her own travel tote filled with treats, waste bags, and other goodies. Maybe squeeze in a massage after that park walk….
Hotel Indigo is more budget friendly. Pets are allowed at all locations, but weight limits and fees vary by property. Treats and water bowls are provided, but don’t expect luxury items like a fluffy dog bed and a gourmet room service menu. Some locations have fun activities like “Yappy Hour” for guests.
So maybe you want to make a trip out of it. Lots of places are beginning to recognize that pets are part of people’s lives in a way that they just never were before, and adjusting to fit the pet person’s lifestyle. As much as I may sigh over the winter weather in the mitten, Reggie loves the snow. He flings himself around like a gazelle and makes Reggie-snow-angels and the labrador in him comes out full steam. That being said Reggie would love a vacation in Whistler, Canada, in the Olympic Village.
Whistler has plenty of dog-friendly accommodations, and a lot of activity as well. Some hotels offer dog sitting, and there is a company- Alpine Dogs– that will pick up your dog in the morning for a nature hike and return them at noon. Or, for an afternoon hike, or for an all day adventure. How awesome is that? You can ski during the day and your dog can adventure hike with other dogs during the day as well.
For a different kind of trip, try voluntourism. In Bali, a pet dog is kept as a guard dog and not generally fed or given medical care. Consequently, dogs in Bali often forage for scraps and food. Despite the predominantly Hindu religion, the extreme poverty makes the dogs a source of food themselves. Because of a dog infected with the rabies virus that was brought to Bali in 2008, an epidemic spread across the island when that dog bit a child. A mis-informed government ordered the mass killings of dogs, while the human death toll rose. The Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), after more than a year of pleading with the Balinese government and 40,000 dog deaths, got the green light to begin vaccinating dogs. Now, 70% of Balinese dogs are vaccinated (pet dogs and streets dogs). You can volunteer with BAWA but you must have two weeks of time. Spending two weeks in Bali and helping a dedicated and life changing organization like BAWA!
Whatever your 2013 vacation plans are, be sure to include your furry family members. Vacationing with your dog can be a fun and pampered adventure, or a rustic retreat. Whatever you do, plan carefully, watch your budget, and have fun!