Wednesday, June 17, 2009
By Anna Lee
Are you anxious to take a vacation in the mountains and stay at a beautiful, authentic log home? Perhaps you are a beach person and would love a carefree condo steps from the water? Or is a week at the lake where you can relax, read a book or do some fishing something you would like to try? You want to take the dog with you no matter which vacation home you choose. How do you find a vacation rental to suit all your needs, including being pet friendly? That’s no longer a problem, as there are thousands of pet friendly mountain rental cabins, lake cottages and vacation homes across the United States. You just need to know how to search for them.
I recently made reservations for lodging in Beaufort, SC. I found a great house with a private dock close to all the action in town. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, a full kitchen, dining area and living room. But what were the words that attracted me to the ad for that home? Pet friendly!! I found it on VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner), a site I have been using for many years. It’s very easy to use, and I know you will find what you are looking for.
Start by going to VRBO.com, where the first page has a map of the United States. Click on the state you are interested in, which takes you to a map of that state with various areas noted. Example: when I clicked on South Carolina the next screen had choices such as Charleston or Beaufort. I clicked on Beaufort. Click on the area’s name and the next page will start the list of available rentals. Not all of the rentals on VRBO are pet friendly. If the unit is pet friendly, you will see a blue pet friendly symbol (dog’s paw) on the right hand side. Skim down the list and read the descriptions such as 3BR/2BA with dock, 2BR/1BA Oceanside cottage, or an A-frame on the lake with row boat included. They also give a price range of each particular rental.
When you spot one that sounds interesting, just click on it and the next page is a storehouse of information. There will be photos of the property, usually inside and outside shots, so you get a good idea of what the place will look like. That’s important information in our case. If a home has very steep steps, or a lot of steps, then it’s not right for us. There will be a complete description of the location and all the amenities. As you venture down the page you will find more photos, more pricing information and local activities. You will know if they have a washer and dryer, how many TV’s and what size beds in each bedroom. If you have questions, you can send an e-mail to the owner. I have never had to wait longer than 24 hours to get a response from an owner. There is also a ‘comment’ section so you can read what the previous guests thought about the rental.
Vacation Rentals By Owner is just what the title implies. The vacation rentals are owned by individuals who rent the property themselves, using VRBO to advertise them. They pay a fee to VRBO for the service. Most of the pet friendly property owners are pet owners themselves, and understand the need for pet friendly lodging.
In past years we rented a small cottage in Andrew, North Carolina for a 4-day stay. I found a rental cottage on Coosaw Island, SC. We liked it so much we went there two years in a row. I found a rental in Pleasure Bluff, GA where we had access to a huge double story dock and a golf cart. All of those rentals had very friendly owners who made a point to stop by and say hello and make sure we had everything we needed. The owners of the Pleasure Bluff home gave us several pounds of shrimp our first day there. It was a Sunday and the fish market was not open, and we were craving shrimp for dinner. Many of the rentals will give you a discount if you return the following year.
There are other ways to search for pet friendly rentals. All you need to do is Google “pet friendly vacation rentals in Beaufort, SC,” for example, and you will get a list of homes. However, in my years of doing this I found that VRBO is the only site I need to use for vacation planning.
When you are ready to plan your vacation get-a-way, turn to VRBO.com – it is the best and easiest way to locate a pet friendly vacation home. You have my paw print on that!
Read more articles by Anna Lee