Updated: November 2021
Originally Posted: June 2019
You want to take a trip with your pet, but your bank balance looks bleak. We get it! And we have some ideas for affordable pet friendly vacations.
These suggestions for affordable vacations with pets are intentionally vague in terms of destination. They’re the kind of trips you can take anywhere in the country, with a little creativity and a bit of planning.
What’s important to remember is that taking a pet friendly vacation doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair. Going simple can be highly rewarding! Perhaps there is something on this list that you haven’t tried before. Make this the trip that you and your pet experience something new together.
6 Affordable Vacations With Pets
Car or tent camping is one of the most economical ways to vacation, and a great way to spend a few days with your furry travel companion!
If you’ve never camped with your dog before, you may want to practice in your living room or backyard before you set out for the woods. Set up the tent and have a sleepover!
READ MORE ⇒ Beginner’s Guide to Camping With Pets
Most campgrounds are pet friendly, as long as you keep your cat or dog on a leash. And federal campgrounds tend to be less expensive than those that are privately-owned or run by the state. But keep in mind that they may also have fewer amenities.
If you’re counting on electric outlets and shower facilities, do some careful research before selecting your site. Some campgrounds only provide drinking water and composting toilets – and some don’t even have that. These are the kinds of places we love because they’re less crowded and offer first-come, first-served campsites when other campgrounds can be booked months in advance.
Another great option is camping on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Depending on where you choose, these spots are very inexpensive or free, making for super affordable vacations with your pet! BLM locations are generally undeveloped, so there will be no amenities, and stays are usually limited to 14 days.
Take A Bicycle Tour
Consider taking a cycling vacation with your dog! The idea might sound daunting at first, but remember – you set the pace and decide how far to go. Cycling is a lot of fun, and moving along more slowly allows you to see things you’d otherwise miss.
If you don’t have equipment like panniers or a trailer for your dog, ask around to see if you can borrow them from a friend or rent them from your local bike shop.
READ MORE ⇒ A Complete Guide to Cycling With Your Dog
Before you head out, spend some time acclimating your dog to riding in a trailer, like you would if you were teaching her to use a kennel for the first time. Once she’s used to the trailer indoors, transition to short rides around the block, gradually increasing the distance over a few weeks.
Start with a weekend tour from your front door. Many cities have bike paths that lead to known cycle routes or quiet country roads outside of town. Check your local tourism board website for ideas, or follow the routes used by local bicycle races. (Bonus: the race markers are often left along the road, so you won’t have to check your map as often!).
Another option is to check Wikiloc, which has thousands of bike routes all over the world.
Plan A Road Trip
Flying is expensive and can be stressful, and larger dogs aren’t permitted on trains like Amtrak. That makes road tripping a natural choice for affordable vacations with your pet!
If you pair it with tent or car camping, you’ve really got yourself a budget vacation!
READ MORE ⇒ The Ultimate Pet Friendly American Road Trip
The beauty of taking a road trips with pets is that you’re able to explore destinations and attractions you’ll both enjoy.
Love hiking? Apps like AllTrails can help you locate local favorites. Prefer shopping? Want to lay on the beach? Or sampling what’s brewing at the coffee shops or breweries in a new city? Pet friendly road trip planners can provide you with a nice selection of options.
Rent An RV Or Campervan
If you prefer to take your home with you everywhere you go, try renting an RV or Campervan. There are several pet friendly RV rental companies, and some only charge a pet fee if the RV requires additional cleaning. So, do the clean up yourself and you’re good to go!
READ MORE ⇒ Tips for RVing with Pets
While the cost to rent an RV or van might seem high at first, you will save on hotel fees and eating out. Find a BLM campground and prepare your own meals in the on-board kitchen, and this becomes a great alternative for affordable vacations!
Schedule A Staycation
When you’re planning pet friendly affordable vacations, don’t overlook your own backyard! Visit your local tourism office and pick up some pamphlets about nearby attractions to check out.
You could also find a new trail, visit the local botanical garden, or try paddle boarding with your pup on a nearby lake.
Even if you’ve lived in the same place for years, it’s amazing the things you’ll find to do when you play tourist in your own hometown.
Find Hotels Without Pet Fees
With more and more folks traveling with their pets, hotels are becoming more pet friendly. However, some take advantage and charge exorbitant pet fees.
Private accommodations, like AirBnb and vacation rentals, sometimes do the same – so carefully check the pet policy before making your reservations.
READ MORE ⇒ Hotel Chains Where Pets Stay Free
Luckily, there are plenty of great hotel options that allow pets to stay for free, like Kimpton Hotels, Red Roof Inn, and some La Quinta locations. These chains are located throughout the US, so you should have no problem tracking one down in your ideal destination.
We hope these tips help you plan a budget-friendly vacation with your best friend. If you have other ideas for saving money on a pet friendly trip, please leave a comment below!