Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Tips for Booking a Pet Friendly Cabin or Vacation Rental Property

Tips for booking the perfect cabin or vacation rental property from GoPetFriendly.comRenting 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.

Use Websites with Pet Friendly Filters

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,, and 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.

Focus on Pet Friendly Destinations

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.

Read The Reviews

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.

Be Honest About Your Pets

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.

Couple Walking Dog

Travel Off-Season

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.

Inquire About Deposits

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?

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
Pet Friendly Hotels | Pet Friendly Destinations | Pet Friendly Activities

  • Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by! I’m glad to hear that you had such a great time in New York with your dog. It’s a fantastic place to visit, because you can walk so many places and see so much. Thanks for the tip on Pet Hotels of America, too … though we’d rather people use to book their pet friendly travel. ;-)

  • Hi Amy:
    Actually every year we rent a home at the beach and take our dogs with us.  I always read the reviews and check out the pictures.  However, if the rent sounds too good to be true, but the pictures look good – don’t be fooled – it’s probably a dump! 

    We made this mistake once.

    • Great tip about not blindly trusting the photos. That’s the one thing that always makes me nervous about a rental – you don’t know if the photos were taken years before or even if they’re of the same place sometimes! And the reviews can be tricky too, because people’s expectations vary so much. What one person thinks is a dump, I might find perfectly acceptable. Putting your money down before you see the place is a bit of a gamble, but it’s usually worked out well for us.

  • Pamela says:

    Each year we rent a pet-friendly home for a week’s stay in Cape May,NJ. In 2010, we rented at a place with a 40 pound limit because Honey was still a puppy. 

    This year, we asked the owner to waive the size limit since we had been good tenants the previous year and she was pleased to welcome us (and 50 pound Honey) back to her property. 

    Next year, I’ll ask her to consider dropping the size limit for everyone. Hopefully we have been good enough ambassadors that she’ll see the foolishness of the arbitrary size limit.

    The post’s advice to be polite and consider the rules of the rental are important. But I’d also suggest folks advocate for reasonable pet policies that are fair to animals of all sizes. And we need to be sure we are great tenants before asking property owners for change.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Pamela. Developing a relationship as a good client and then asking the owners to reconsider their policy is a great way to change the minds of people who’ve set these arbitrary weight restrictions. Nice work!

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