They say a dog is a man’s best friend and this anecdote is proving more true every day as travelers are increasingly including their pets in their vacation travel plans. As our four-legged canine (and feline!) friends become indispensable companions on our journeys, the travel industry is adapting to make traveling and lodging with them a seamless and enjoyable experience. Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you are planning a pet-inclusive vacation.
When planning a dog- or cat-friendly vacation, one of your first considerations should be how you will travel to your vacation destination. If you are driving, thoroughly plan your route and make note of pet-friendly pit stops along the way, including restaurants that will welcome your pet as well as rest areas for your pet to stretch his legs and get some fresh air. If you are flying to your destination, choose your airline carefully and become very familiar with their pet policies. A few airlines receive top marks for accommodating pets in the cabin with you, though be prepared to pay a fee of $100 or more each way for this privilege. Some states require a certificate of health for your pet to be allowed in, and each airline has its own policies on the maximum number of pets that may accompany each human as well as where in the plane the pets may fly. The keys to having a smooth trip with a cat or dog are planning ahead, obtaining all necessary documentation, and knowing exactly what is and is not allowed for your pet.
Where to Stay
Another part of planning is identifying and booking a pet-friendly hotel or resort to stay in. There are lots of pet-friendly options in the Orlando area, and two hotels that have recently adapted to welcoming furry friends are the Wyndham Orlando Resort & Conference Center/Celebration and the Crowne Plaza Orlando Lake Buena Vista. Both of these hotels are close to all the theme park, dining, shopping, and entertainment action. The Crowne Plaza Orlando Lake Buena Vista is recently renovated and welcomes up to two pets (dogs or cats) up to 50 lbs with a per-stay pet deposit. The Wyndham Celebration was also renovated in 2021 and allows pets in specified rooms.
Things to Do
Once you’re checked in and settled at your vacation destination, it’s time to let the pet-friendly fun begin. In Central Florida, there are lots of dog-friendly activities for you and your pet to enjoy around the area. Lake Eola Park welcomes dogs with plenty of green space and hosts engaging events for humans like farmers markets, concerts, and craft fairs. The Orlando area is also home to pet-friendly shopping options, breweries, restaurants, and even a few dog bakeries. If you are heading to Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort, know that pets are not allowed in the parks, but service animals are. If you plan to bring a service animal, contact the parks well in advance to make arrangements for your animal companion.