In Dana Travels

A recent AAA/Best Western survey revealed that 51% of travelers with pets would take them along on every vacation if they could. (Read again: every vacation.) If you’re thinking about joining the pack, Tib (my terrier mix) and I have a few pet-friendly travel tips for you.

Choose a pet-friendly destination: Hey, there’s a reason why The Black Dog is ubiquitous on Martha’s Vineyard. You’ll see dogs everywhere (black, white, big, small), as well as meet people who love animals and simply must stop to pet yours. In high season, dogs are allowed on many beaches early in the morning or in the evening. MV also offers plenty of scenic dog walks (try the West Chop Lighthouse loop) and casual outdoor dining spots (try Mocha Motts or The Black Dog Cafe outlet) where you can converse with other dog owners while you share a muffin or a lobster roll.

Command the best stay for you and your pet: While a number of hotel collections boast pet-friendly policies (Kimpton Hotels and Loews Hotels come to mind.), we opted for a vacation rental acquired through Simply request “pet-friendly” listings, and you’ll be surprised at what’s available. We chose a charming cottage in Vineyard Haven with a fenced-in yard that was ideal for our family vacation.

Familiarity breeds content: We brought along Tib’s bed, a few well-chosen possessions and her usual dog food. The first two days of our vacation we took her everywhere—only when the cottage felt like home did we leave her napping while we explored the island or went to the beach.

Be your pet’s watchdog: New surroundings equal new pet hazards. Of course, you’ll want to be sure to have proper pet ID and never leave your pet unsecured—but who predicted skunks? (Favorite MV t-shirt graphic: skunk saying “Wasn’t me.”) Be well informed about “local color” before you travel with your pet. Tib loved MV but did not appreciate the impromptu mouthwash and tomato juice bath or her new nickname, Pepé Le Pew.

See the world through your pet’s perspective: The best thing about traveling with Tib? I walked more, relaxed more and met more people. We stopped to smell…well, whatever. So, traveling with pets? I’m sold. Tib is already packing her bag for a long weekend in Vermont soon!

For a helpful pet packing list, check out

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