Renting a cabin or vacation property is a fantastic plan for your family’s next trip. But, for those of us who consider pets part of the family, finding pet friendly options can add a layer of complication. While many vacation rental properties allow pets, most do not make their policy clear in their listings. Whether you’re looking for a waterfront cabin in the wood, or a base to explore a new city, here some tips for finding the perfect pet friendly vacation rental.
The first thing to do when you are looking for a vacation rental is to use a website that allows you to search for pet friendly properties. There is no need to waste your time wading through pictures of homes that don’t allow pets, and sites like HomeAway.com, FlipKey.com, and GlampingHub.com all allow you to filter their properties by those that allow pets.
However, you will likely need to do some additional digging to find out if your specific pets are welcome. Similar to hotels, most vacation rental owners have limits on the size and number of pets, and some may not allow certain breeds, or require that pets stay outdoors (not very pet friendly, in my opinion). Contacting the owner by email is the best way to determine their requirements, and let them know a bit about your pet – including a few of their virtues that make them an excellent house guest.
Generally, you will have better luck searching for pet friendly vacation rentals in areas that are known for being pet friendly, and scanning our pet friendly destination guides is a good place to start! Narrow the options by focusing on the outdoor activities you and your pet enjoy most – from romping on the beach, to hitting the mountain trails, to window shopping and dining out – your vacation rental should give you easy access to many fun alternatives.
Nearly all vacation rental websites allow previous renters to write reviews. Read them carefully, and pay special attention to any comments regarding the ease or difficulty of working with the owners.
Putting your cards on the table is best when renting a vacation property. Saying that you’ll be bringing your chihuahua when you actually have a St. Bernard can jeopardize your deposit – and the pet deposits are substantial! Be sure that you understand the owner’s pet policy, the amount of deposit required, what animals are welcome, and whether there are certain areas of the home that pets aren’t allowed. And be sure to get all the rules in writing before you make a deposit, in order to avoid misunderstandings.
If you have your heart set on a particular vacation rental, but their pet policy doesn’t accommodate your pet, or the price is too steep, consider negotiating to stay during the off-season. Vacation rental owners don’t make any money if the property isn’t rented, which gives you some extra leverage, and may cause an owner bends their rules or allow you to negotiate a better deal. Contacting several property owners will also give you more options to consider.
Most property owners will require a substantial pet deposit. Find out how much the deposit will be, and what you need to do to ensure that it’s returned to you after your stay. An alternative would be to purchase a short-term insurance policy to protect the property owner against any damage that may be caused by your pet during your stay. Though the cost of the insurance won’t be returned if your pet does no damage, the cost of the policies are generally quite affordable, and should give the property owner the security they need.
Your best bet is to be polite and friendly when inquiring about pets in vacation rentals, make sure to obey the rules, and you’re sure to enjoy your stay together!
Have you ever rented a vacation home with your pets? What tips can you pass along?