Lots of hotel brands are getting on the pet friendly travel bandwagon these days. Some hotels and resorts boast about their love of pets … but are they true lovers of our furry friends? If you travel with your pet, there are many things you need to check out before your arrive with your four-footed friend at a hotel or resort.

Is it time for turkey jerky turndown again?

When we travel with our pets, it makes us happier and my experience shows it makes others happier, too. Even the surliest will crack a smile as a dog walks by wagging their tail. People just tend to relax and chill when dogs are around.

Is it time for turkey jerky turndown again? Yes they kept asking!

While pumping gas recently on my way to The Willcox Hotel in Aiken, SC for a bit of pet-friendly travel, I noted heavy metal music blaring from a car that was shaking from the sound. As I cautiously looked over toward that music loving vehicle, the inhabitant of the car looked over my way and smiled — not at me, at my dogs. Later I saw two kids in a backseat having an argument, and then they stopped when I pulled up and started straining their necks to look into the back of my car instead.

The world just seems friendliest with a dog by your side. That is why finding ways to take these members of your family along is important.

Afternoon walks are the best.

So remember your pets when planning your next vacation. One does not have to leave a member of the family home alone. When you take a vacation, so should the entire family, including your pets!

After traveling with my dogs Lily and Ellie (the MuttleyCrue_) to The Wilcox Hotel, I came up with these tips of what you should look for in true pet-friendly accommodations. These tips can help you plan your next pet-friendly trip.

Check out the pet policy of any hotel or resort.

If they do allow pets, be sure to see if your pet is allowed. Many place pet type, size and number restrictions in their policies online. Although my two dogs are both well mannered and well traveled, they are not always allowed when the weight policies are extremely low. Hoteliers should know that many larger dogs are much more chill than some of their smaller cousins. Always call to verify and make sure before you arrive. Many times the websites have outdated policies. Hotels are easing up on their policies and updating them annually. A pet that may have not been allowed last year could this year be a welcomed guest.
Research to see if there are adequate places to walk your dog.

Outside of The Willcox Hotel, there were tons of places for a brisk walk or a relaxing stroll. Aiken, SC is full of greenways, which invite playtime — even for the humans. The Wilcox also offers a pet station just outside their front door to assist you with clean-up.
See if there are any special pet vacation packages.

Amenities for dogs are sometimes more luxurious than those for the humans. Upon arrival, The Willcox Hotel will give your pooch a “Guest of the Willcox” pet tag to wear while on vacation, which includes the address and phone number of the resort in case anyone wanders off. Also, your room will be adorned with a special bed, bowl and delicious hand-baked “I Love You” dog biscuits. Your dog’s favorite part of the day will be turndown, which includes their own turkey jerky in place of a mint! Get them a souvenir of Mini Mutt Muffins to take home so they can remember your amazing time together.
Always inquire at check-in where your pet is allowed on the property.

This is usually custom to each property, so knowing at the beginning of your trip will make it much more seamless. Many hotels will allow your dogs to relax with you in the lobby. Relaxing in the lobby by the fireplace with live jazz, a cocktail and your furry pals by your side may be your new favorite pastime.
Be sure to schedule some outdoor fun.

Find a park like Hitchcock Woods and explore with your “best friend.” Many parks allow some off-leash fun, so be sure to check out the posted rules at the beginning of your trek!

Looking to take your pets along next time? Visit the pet-friendliest city in the southeast, Aiken, SC, and make memories with your furry pals soon!

Ava Roxanne Stritt is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads visit travelocitygnomads.com.

Enjoy my dog friendly travel article that first appeared here on Travelocity!