How to Make Traveling With Your Pet Affordable

Reyna Gobel
By Reyna Gobel 
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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When you’re traveling with your pet, there are several costs you need to consider beyond airline fees: doggy day care or pet-sitting services, hotel pet fees and transit costs.

But sometimes travel rewards can help keep traveling with your animal affordable.

Here are a few things to consider when planning pet travel, and tips on how to keep the costs down.

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What is the hotel’s or Airbnb’s policy for leaving your dog in the room?

If the hotel or Airbnb you’re staying in has a policy of never leaving your dog in the room by itself, you’ll need to also budget for local pet-sitting services or day care.

If you’re gone for a few hours, services such as Rover will help you find an experienced dog walker, and the first two walks are free. Pet-sitting services are priced similarly to babysitting services. Expect to pay at least $10 per hour, though pet day care services may cheaper. We pay $25 per day in New York, while other people I know pay $35 per day. Generally, expect to hire a pet sitter if you need to leave your pet at night.

How much are the pet fees?

Hotel pet fees can range from $0 to $100 per stay, or nightly rates of up to $50. Even chains that may have a stated price could vary by location. Alternatively, Airbnb pet fees are set by individuals. I’ve been charged $0 to $5 per night or $40 per stay.

But unlike a hotel, Airbnb pet fees can be negotiated. I responded to the person who asked for $40 per stay that my dog was well behaved and I’ve never had a pet fee for an Airbnb on other trips. The host dropped my fee to $20.

What rewards perks make traveling with your pet cheaper?

If you are using travel rewards to book lodging where you have choices among multiple hotels, call individual hotels to check their pet policies. If you can get a free or cheap room at a hotel that doesn’t forbid you to leave your pet in the room, you’ll save on both pet-sitting services and the hotel room itself.

» Learn more: The 3 C’s simplify the complex rules of flying with pets

Because pet policies can differ within a chain, having a travel rewards credit card with multiple hotel options is important.

Does the hotel have amenities for your dog?

Some do. Kimpton Hotels offer toys, treats, clean-up bags and water bowls for your pet.

You should generally plan on bringing or buying your dog’s food from a local pet store. Some boutique hotels will have doggy menus to treat your pooch, although the food may be pricey.

Are there pet-friendly options to get to the hotel you choose?

If the local shuttle services don’t accept pets, you could end up paying a much higher price to get to the hotel. It helps to call the hotel concierge and ask about transportation options both to the hotel and around town.

Additionally, find local attractions or outdoor restaurants that allow pets. I’ve visited quite a few hotels recently that will serve your pet indoors in seating areas outside of the restaurant.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

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