Thursday, May 15, 2014

Traveling with Pets

Yes, we have 2 cats and they travel with us. I know some people are surprised when I tell them, but these are our babies and a part of our family. They are already kennel trained and are accustomed to our schedules, too. I did try (a little) to find good homes for them, but in the end I could not let them go. We gave up so much that I drew the line here. However if it were the dividing factor in staying or traveling, of course I would have chosen to travel without them. A few weeks before we left, we decided to just bring them along for the ride and it's really not been that difficult, just adding to the adventure! 

On the road, I have not had any trouble booking affordable hotels for us. LaQuinta has been the best nationwide hotel chain we have found as of yet. They are everywhere and about 90% of them are pet friendly. They have never required a pet deposit and we have even found suites for as little as $99 a night. This has been a great help to us, as we can kennel them for a few hours while we go sightseeing or out to dinner. I bring their favorite food and toys, their beds are in their kennels and I use disposable litter trays. I then pick up any additional items we need from the dollar store, usually spending no more than $5. When we check into the hotel, I always tell the desk clerk about them. In case of an emergency...I leave detailed instructions about kenneling and feeding, including our pets names, our phone numbers, and ways to contact our family members, too. I always decline housekeeping, I always clean up any messes we make, oh and I leave a nice note and tip. The hotel staff has always been very accommodating to us and that has made it all the easier.  After traveling for a few months, you really do get good at it.  

Instead of receiving a monthly housing stipend, we have selected the provided corporate housing. The agency Steve works for coordinates it for us and knows it has to be pet friendly. Their job is to secure it for us. We have been very pleased with the living arrangements we have been provided and we pray that our future housing at the next assignment proves to be as comfortable. The housing pet fees we have incurred have ranged from $100-$300 per housing assignment. That seems to be fair. We have never paid out of pocket as the agency pays up front in our behalf. Any fees over and above the contract agreement have been deducted from Steve's paychecks during the course of the assignment. These are not surprise fees either. These are fees we agreed to and we expect, like upgraded housing and furniture. If you are interested in travel should never pay ANY fees up front.  A reputable agency will pay all your fees including licencing and deposits. They should make it clear in your contract what they will pay and what they won't pay.  If there is a fee and it is not covered by the agency, and you agree to it, they should deduct it from your paycheck. Do not ever give them any money up front ever. Run don't walk if they request money from you. 

With that said, we have not had any unexpected pet fees or pet illness either. I've so enjoyed having my cats with me especially at night while Steve is working. I know it seems like a burden, but they give us so much enjoyment and with anything, once you make the decision to do it, you just figure out a way. 

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