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So you want to take your dog out on the road with you? You have trained them to be a good dog, you need a vacation and you want to take him with you, but your budget is running short this year. Here is a list of the top ten ways to save money while traveling with your dog by your side.
  1. Do your research. Once you decide on a destination, get informed; find anything you can about the area, buy books, go online and prepare.
  2. What kind of vacation do you want to have? Which sounds better to you? Staying at a campground, hiking and canoeing with your pooch by your side; or staying at a four-star hotel, lounging by the pool and getting room service? Make sure that your vacation really is something that your dog can do with you. If not, maybe he should be kept with family/friends or boarded. There are now many locations that will allow your dog to come with you, and some even offer pet sitting services. Again; do your research.
  3.  Check out many different places before making a decision. Unless you are totally set on one place to stay at, shop around. You would not buy the first car you see would you? No, you would shop around until you found the right car for the price you are willing to pay, so traveling is no different. This is not a new concept, just look at all the online discount travel sites. 
  4. Ask.   If you find the perfect cabin, campground, hotel etc. that you want to visit, but they are a little over your budget; call and ask if they offer any discounts. But be sure to let them know that you are traveling with your canine pal. Some businesses will make you pay extra for bringing your pet. Try to get them to wave the fees, some will; some will not.
  5. Offer to help out. We have found that if we call a cabin rental establishment and they have a house cleaning fee for people who bring pets, we offer to bring our own sheets, blankets and vacuum the whole place before we leave.   ALWAYS leave the place better than it was when you came. We have one rental company that was not sure about our dogs staying with us the first year, but the next year we called them and they willingly gave us a discount because we had left the cabin spotless when we left the previous year. Treat it like your mother-in-laws house; no one wants a messy visitor in their home.
  6. Search for off-season rates. If you are traveling to a heavy travel destination, check and see when they have the least amount of visitors. For example, if the place is a summer destination, look at going in the spring, fall or winter. Most businesses have different rates for their off seasons. If you can be a little flexible on when you can travel, this is a great way to get that wonderful place at a great price, and a lot of the businesses will be more flexible on allowing pets. As always; do your research; if you want to go to the mountains to go boating and hiking, going in the middle of winter would not be an option, so go online and research the area and make sure it would work for you.
  7. Make an agenda. No, you do not have to plan out day-by-day, minute-by-minute, but do not go totally unprepared. Know what you want to do while you are on vacation and decide how long and when you will do it. Why do this? Because you will find that you can save money if you know what you are willing to do with your dog. If you have an expensive destination, you can plan it for one or two days of your vacation, then plan a couple of days of doing no-cost days.
  8. Spend some days doing free stuff. If you brought your dog with you, there are plenty of things you can do for free that will bring great memories forever. We have stayed at many beautiful locations with our canines, but the most that I remember about our vacations are the times we spent with our dogs, not where we went. Go hiking, dogs love the great outdoors and it usually does not cost a thing! Go swimming, dogs love the beach! Go to the park; most cities have off-leash dog parks now, take your pooch and let them meet up with some of the locals. Staying at a hotel? Take some time out and leash up your dog and go walking. You will get to see so much more and meet more people when you are out browsing the town. Who would not want to stop and pet a friendly dog?