Finding pet-friendly accommodation is sometimes the difficult aspect of the trip. On our three-month-long trip (Bangalore-Kanyakumari-Kashmir -Bangalore, covering 15 states) we stopped at places that had pet-friendly accommodation. I relied on Airbnb, Booking.com and similar websites. I would spend hours finding hotels and homestays that were listed as pet-friendly, and then called or emailed them to reconfirm.
Even while being this cautious, we had to find alternate accommodation more than once in the same city. Here are a few learnings:
Even if the website or review says they are pet-friendly, call and confirm. Their policies might have changed.
Specifically mention that the pet will be staying with you in your room. Some homestays expected the dog to be tied outside in the parking.
Ask about any additional charges. While most places charged us a flat cleaning fee for our stay, some places charge per dog per day which can turn out to be quite expensive.
Tell them about the breed and the size of your dog. Even after calling and confirming that the hotel is pet-friendly, upon our arrival, the manager said the hotel allowed only dogs that you can easily carry in your hand (i.e. Shih Tzu and other toy breeds).
If it’s a homestay, specifically ask them about any other pets on the property. If there are, ask whether they will be off-leash and if there is a way to make sure your dogs don’t need to share the same space with the other dogs. Not all dogs get along well.
Don’t forget to ask about fencing, especially if your stay is amidst nature. During our stay in Himachal, a beautiful homestay in the middle of the mountains had no fencing. A few minutes after we checked in, when I was about to take my dogs out for a stroll, we were attacked by a local dog that appeared out of nowhere.
If your stay is in a gated community, ask about their pet policy. One time during our visit to Vrindavan, the owner of the apartment said he had no issues with pets but the security at the gate refused to let the dogs in!
Although we faced a good number of challenges, there were places where people were extremely welcoming. When the planned accommodation didn’t work out, we approached a few hotels and explained that we were travelling with dogs and they readily agreed to let us stay. One of them even offered to let the dogs use their pool!
I have understood that most often it’s just a perception. Some of the hotels mentioned that they have never had a pet stay with them before but agreed to take a chance. Such experiences give me more faith and courage to travel with my dogs. However, we need to understand that it’s upon us to make sure that the dogs behave well and that the hotels are willing to welcome dogs in future too.
Deepthi AR is a behaviourist based in Bengaluru; you can follow her on @happypupprsblr. Here are her other tips for travelling with your dog.