We all love to save money.  Who doesn’t, right?

Recently, when our pet accompanied us during a road trip, I learned some new ways to save a buck. They might all come across as no-brainers, and maybe somewhat trite, but they will be wallet-friendly. It all comes down to being ready.

With the summer on the horizon, getting away for a vacation is something we don’t want to give up.

Here are a few suggestions that can help you do that.

Create a List and Pack in Advance  

Create a list of all the things your pet requires that must be packed, then pack them ahead of time! Learning after you’ve left that you forgot your pet’s favorite toy, medication, leash, or food will bite you in the butt. Purchasing replacements for items from wherever you are instead will eat away at your gas budget, schedule, and wallet. It pays to be ready for such scenarios.

Locate Hotels That Allow Pets to Stay Without an Extra Cost

A lot of money can be saved if you stay at hotels that don’t charge fees for pets. Here are some pet-friendly hotels, for example, that do not charge the fee:

  • La Quinta
  • Motel 6
  • Kimpton Hotels
  • Red Roof Inn

A few websites I like when searching for pet-friendly hotels includes BringFido.com and PetsWelcome.com.

Seek Out Destinations That Are Pet-Friendly

Several destinations are very pet-friendly, while others aren’t so accommodating. If you intend to visit a resort destination, you shouldn’t worry about getting a deal that’s all-inclusive and dog-friendly. However, pet-friendly hotels are increasing in popularity, specifically in large cities.

As such, you should browse all options available to get a deal that comes with special toys, treats, and facilities for pets. Anticipate paying a surcharge much cheaper than progressive establishments ask for. Also, it’s beneficial to consider pet destinations you know your pet will have fun in, somewhere that perhaps includes walking trails or sandy beaches. For instance, in the United Kingdom, you’ll find nothing but lovers of dogs, as you can tell from London’s pet boutiques and the vast array of dog costumes out there! Some will surprise you – you might not consider New York City as an ideal place for dogs to visit, but they have a number of pet-friendly cafes and dog parks to choose from.

Advance Hotel Bookings

Establish when and where you’ll require pet-friendly accommodations when planning your trip. Booking first will let you browse different rates, giving you time to isolate the best one while getting a great deal on accommodations that are pet-friendly. It is troublesome to compare one hotel to another when you’re already on your trip. Preparing in advance will minimize the odds of unanticipated costs arising.

Hotel Room Maintenance

You are financially responsible if your pet damages the hotel room, regardless of whether or not they stay for free. Pets can behave erratically when in unfamiliar places no matter how well trained they are. Refrain from leaving your pet alone in a hotel room. Don’t stay out for a lengthy duration in such scenarios. For sound comfort, consider leaving the TV on, and make sure your pet is crated. Don’t leave your pet alone in the room if the hotel doesn’t permit it.

Affordable Pet Car Safety

This is a BIG one. When you’re trying to save a buck, your pet’s safety isn’t something to compromise. Your pet needs to be secured even when traveling in your car. There are several choices at your disposal: pet car seats, pet travel carriers, pet seat belts, and pet car barriers. The costs for these items are all over the map. An ideal choice for under $10 is the Pet Auto Safety Restraint. This seat belt for pets has a pair of sizes that you can adjust, and can be attached to your backseat’s belt buckle (ensure a pet harness is used along with this product).

Eating Outside

Picnic areas are essential when eating outside, particularly if they come with tables. We can consume food while our pets get to enjoy outdoors.

If outdoor grills are available, consider grilling something special for the dog while making your own food (don’t go overboard, though). A picnic dinner or lunch is a surefire way to stay under budget while having fun in the process.

Transporting Pets on Buses, Trains and Airplanes – Knowing the Rules

Trains and Pets

You aren’t allowed to bring pets on Amtrak, but there are rare exceptions made for service animals (to help passengers with disabilities), along with some small pets.

This isn’t the case for many European trains, however. The high-traffic lines in Germany, France, and Italy tend to permit pets, along with trains run by England’s national rail.

For a detailed list of train rates and policies, see PetTravel.com.

Airlines

Airline pet travel can be separated into a pair of categories: luggage and carry-ons. As you can learn, each approach to transporting your beloved animal can be costly.

For a one-way ticket, expect to pay at least $100 USD, depending on the airline you choose.

This is an example of an airline cost that may have been around for a while in some way, shape, or form. Anticipate seeing these prices gradually go up as time progresses.

Those who travel might need to sift through website sitemaps before finding the information they need about their pets. For instance, I discovered the pet prices for United inside the “travel information” section (under the web hub). If you want your domesticated pet by your side in the cabin, reservations are necessary (on flights that accommodate pets). If there is availability, expect to pay a one-way cost of $125.

It is necessary to book early when you are traveling with an animal, so last-minute deals are not something to hope for here.

Owners of pets make the claim that, because they have paid for leg room, putting a small animal carrier beneath the seat shouldn’t warrant an extra fee.

However, airlines require income to stay in business, and they are very adept at figuring out methods to generate revenue. Depending on the flight, they may charge extra for snacks, blankets, and soft drinks.

Transporting bigger animals as a cargo shipment can get costly. US Airways cites high temperatures in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and other hub cities as a justification for higher fees.

For travelers on a budget, there may be some positive news with regards to pets. Costs on several carries have fallen as of late.

For instance, according to the New York Times, Delta had reduced its pet prices to $175, down from $275. Today, if the animal is carried onto a flight, the cost for a one-way pet trip is $125 (at one time, the cost was $150).

Be mindful that airlines handle this issue using several different philosophies.

Pets were banned from Frontier cabins at one point, and only allowed to be transported as cargo. A representative for the company cited the policy as a “customer service concern,” since several passengers have a low tolerance of (or are allergic to) specific animals. However, Frontier currently permits some domesticated animals in their cabins. Frontier’s pet policy is very precise, and warrants a thorough once-over prior to your leave for the airport.

Buses

Most of American bus lines don’t permit the transportation of pets (exceptions are made for service dogs), either. Because travelers on a budget take the bus from time to time, this isn’t welcome news, so be prepared.

As you can see, the more prepared you are for your upcoming vacation, the more you can have fun, and more importantly, the more you can save.  Take the time out of your day to prepare well ahead of time to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.


About the Author: A dog owner herself, Stephanie spends time a lot more time than she should with her two beloved dogs.  Also a mom to two, Stephanie is committed to helping the world pay a fair price, a big reason why she created Howmuchisit, a cost-helping database dedicated to helping consumer share the prices they paid.