Q. My husband and I are interested in finding a vacation rental near the Homestead Air Force Base area and near Cape Coral or Naples, FL. We want rentals that would allow us to bring our Golden Retriever. She is fully housebroken and behaves nicely. Please let us know if you can come up with some listings for us.
A. There are a few sites you can look into: try the Greater Naples Marco Island Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau (800-688-3600) where you can find listings of vacation rental companies. However, they don't specify whether pets are allowed, but if you were to go through a rental company, they can easily help you in that regard.
The other option is to search on Web sites that specifically list rental properties that are pet friendly: www.PetFriendlyTravel.com, www.petswelcome.com, www.pettravel.com, and www.dogfriendly.com.
Q. I'm thinking of going to Europe and would like to bring my schnauzer with me. In light of what happened to that poor lost whippet at New York JFK, I was wondering if any cruise lines would allow me to bring him along?
A. You and your schnauzer can travel in style onboard the Queen Mary 2. It does trans-Atlantic crossings all summer long. Cunard is now adding some perks for the four-legged friends of its Queen Mary 2 guests, with its "Pets on Deck" program. Included: fresh-baked biscuits at turn-down; a choice of beds and blankets; an assortment of toys; cat posts and scratchers; and a selection of premium pet foods from top brands. Queen Mary 2's kennel program is overseen by a full-time "kennel master" who feeds and walks the pet guests (assuming, we guess, that the owners are too busy playing roulette to do so?) and cleans the ship's 12 kennels. As part of the enhanced program, traveling dogs and cats also receive a complimentary gift pack including a QM2-logoed coat, Frisbee, name tag, food dish and scoop; a complimentary portrait with pet owners; a crossing certificate and personalized cruise card. The kennels and adjacent indoor and outdoor walking areas are open throughout the day, enabling guests to spend time with their pet. Of course, the ultimate perk would be to allow pets in cabins, where they wouldn't be lonely, but that's not happening any time soon. Even so, reminded by what happened to that whippet, we are more firmly resolved than ever not to send a pet by air cargo and if you're traveling to Europe and want to bring your pet then this is really the only way to do it safely. Reservations for the kennels may be made at time of booking, and are based on space availability. Fees ranges from $300 to $500. For more information, call (800) 7-CUNARD or go to www.cunard.com.
Q. We are traveling to Boston by car and then would like to spend some time on Cape Cod, perhaps ending up in Provincetown. We'll be traveling with our well-behaved 25-pound dog. Can you suggest pet-friendly hotels in both locations?
A. My favorite pet-friendly hotel is the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. It enjoys a great central location in the Back Bay. They're so pet-friendly that they even have their own "lobby" dog, a black lab named Catie Copley. Check out availability and rates by calling 800-257-7544 or online. They do charge a small pet fee however.
In Provincetown I have a great suggestion for you:Gabriel's Apartment's and Guest Rooms (800/9-MY-ANGEL). It's located next to a nice grassy park where you can walk your dog (scooper bags included) and offers amenities such as Tempur-Pedic mattresses, wood-burning fireplaces, a full breakfast, high-speed WiFi, kitchenettes, and Jacuzzi tubs. Rates start at $125 per night. You'll love it.
Q. My question concerns the recent proliferation of motels charging between $15 and $25 in "pet fees" for each stay. For example, the Sleep Inn in Lexington, KY recently charged us $15 for an overnight stay with a small, 15 lb. dog. When I complained about the charge, they said it was for "deep cleaning" of the room. However, my daughter and son-in-law, who frequently travel with their dog, have told me that all the motel cleaning people do is to spray some kind of solution on the carpet. They have had to pay as much as a $25 pet fee and in one case, the motel would only put them in a "smoker's room," even though both of them are non-smokers. They were, of course, unhappy with this.
The Sleep Inn desk clerk also told me that they could only waive the $15 fee if the dog was a "Service Dog." That seemed unfair, since a dog is a dog, as far as any extra clean-up expense goes.
Can you offer any comments or insight into what is going on here? Is it just another concerted effort by the hotel industry to try to take advantage of the traveling public? The Sleep Inn person told us that they used to require an extra $50 deposit, refundable upon checking out, assuming that the pet had done no damage to the room. But the motel's parent company made them change the policy to the extra $15 fee.
A. Yes, these charges are just one of the many that hotels and inns are turning into profit centers in my humble opinion.
I'll bet that some dogs create fewer clean up problems once the guest leaves than do, say, certain rock stars or unruly children. But that's the way it goes I'm afraid. I'm staying at an inn in Provincetown, Mass. soon and they are charging $40 per night for Browser--even though he is a well-trained Wheaten Terrier and doesn't shed. But considering that so many hotels don't accept dogs at all, perhaps those hotels that do feel guests should consider themselves "lucky"?
Q. I live in Las Vegas, and would like to bring my 18 pound dog with me when I visit relatives in San Diego, Salt Lake City and Phoenix. Which airlines would allow a dog of that size to travel with me in a "carry-on fit under the seat in front of me pet carrier" and which airlines would allow a dog of that size in a FAA pet carrier in the pet cargo hold area of the airplane?
A. In order to bring your dog into the main cabin, the kennel must be able to fit in the area under the seat in front of you. The maximum dimensions for the kennel is 17 inches x 12 inches x 8 inches, but keep in mind that it varies, depending on the plane you'll be on, as some aircraft have smaller areas under the seat in front of you. The maximum weight allowed for the dog is 20 pounds on most airlines. Some airlines, such as Frontier and Southwest, do not allow pets in the main cabin, unless it's a fully trained service animal.
You can check-in your dog in the cargo area, but the kennel has to meet the following requirements: kennels with wheels, wire kennels, collapsible kennels are not allowed; kennels must have a leak proof bottom with absorbent material; there must be a one-inch spacer bar around the kennel; the door must be lockable and secure; your dog must have enough room in the kennel to stand, lie down and turn around; at least three sides of ventilation; correct labeling (live animal and directional up arrows); and must include water/feed dishes (two dishes or divided dish).
The rates vary to bring your pet along vary, depending on the airline. Delta Air Lines and Jet Blue charge $50 one-way to bring a pet into the main cabin, whereas, United Airlines charges $80 one-way. To check-in your pet into the cargo hold, it's $75 one-way for Delta, $100 or $200 one-way (depending on kennel size) for United, and $100 one-way for Frontier. Southwest doesn't allow pets in their cargo hold.
Also keep in mind, depending on when you're traveling, that most airlines have an embargo on pets in the cargo area during the summer, with varying dates depending on airline. For example, Delta's embargo is between May 15 and September 15, and United is between June 1 and September 30. Personally, I'd never check an animal that I love in the cargo hold. If there's a depressurization in the hold or the heating malfunctions the animal would be a goner.
Your dog has to be at least eight weeks old and have the required health documentation from your veterinarian. Some states may require a health certificate for your pet, and you can find out more information about that from your veterinarian or the US Department of Agriculture at (800) 545-8732 or www.aphis.usda.gov/ac/pettravel.html.
And be sure to notify the airline at time of making a reservation (or as early as possible), that you plan on bringing your dog with your, whether you plan on bringing your dog into the main cabin or check it into the cargo hold, because there are space limitations.