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pet-friendly vacation

September 5, 2012

PetSafe® Expert

PetSafe® Guest

What Is Your Vacation Missing?

By Natalie Lester, PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist

Labor Day weekend is usually when families try to squeeze in that last vacation, and it just passed. However, if you’re anything like me, as soon as one vacation ends you start thinking about the next one. I am always looking to have a bigger and better time away. And I'm looking for the best deal on what I want to do.

Planning the Best Pet Vacation

How can you improve your vacation without blowing the budget? Bring your pet with you! You may be skeptical, but I recently took Emma to Hilton Head Island and having her there was one of the best parts of the trip. It may have taken a few extra steps in planning my trip, but it only cost me an additional $100 which is less than I would have spent if I boarded her – even though she probably would have loved a staycation just as much.

When I first started planning my vacation, I didn’t even consider I would be able to take her. We had chosen to visit Hilton Head, which happens to be one of the most pet friendly beaches in the United States. Yet I was still oblivious. It wasn’t until I was looking for lodging that I saw the pet friendly option. I knew immediately that if it was an option, Emma had to come! As much as I love the beach, how could I deny her the experience, especially since I know how much she loves water?

The truth is I couldn’t. We found the perfect pet friendly condo, packed our bags and headed out for a week of fun and relaxation. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a small voice in the back of my mind that updated me of all the things that may go wrong with Emma on board.

Keeping Pets Safe in Strange Places

With the marshes of South Carolina, I worried about alligators. I was a little concerned she would drink too much salt water and make her sick. What if she didn’t adjust to the condo and barked every time we left? What if I missed something somewhere and we had really strict rules about what she really had access to?

Turns out, all my worrying was for nothing. There were alligators around, but we made sure to keep a watchful eye of our surroundings. She also stayed on leash to be sure she didn’t venture out into uncharted territory.

She did drink a lot of salt water and got a little sick once. However, we alleviated the issue by poking a hole in the top of a regular water bottle. This way there was always a fresh water source and she figured out it was much tastier and more fun to drink out of the bottle.

We cooked in the first night and let her explore all the nooks and crannies of her home for the week. We put her “house” in the bedroom so she would see the closed door and feel safe while we were away. We waited outside the door for a few minutes each time we left to be sure she didn’t bark. Luckily, she only whined briefly the first time before she settled in. 

We did have rules about when she could and couldn’t be on the beach. She was allowed before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m., which was really best anyway so she avoided getting overheated.

Finding Pet-Friendly Places to Visit

There were certain restaurants that allowed pets on the patios, so we were sure to visit The Black Marlin one night. It was one of our favorites. Really and truly, Emma only enhanced our vacation. She made the condo feel like home and made being there even more fun.

It was so exciting to watch her experience the ocean for the first time. We’ve already decided it will become a tradition and we’ll really never leave home without her!

After dinner at The Black Marlin, we explored the marina and dreamed about which house boat we would like to live on. Apparently, Emma just wanted to play on the wave runner behind us.

What about you? Have you ever taken your pet on vacation? What was it like? What advice would you have for other pet owners who are considering it? If you haven’t taken your pet before, do you will?


As the PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist, Natalie manages The Paw Print blog and generates other brand related content including public relations and promotions. Before PetSafe, Natalie worked in the local media covering politics, education, and religion. Natalie’s puppy, Emma, spends almost as much time in the office as she does.  

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