From the TPPC.tv Crew: We welcome GoPetFriendly’s Amy Burket as an expert contributor to our blog! Amy’s tips will keep you and your pet comfortable on the road. Read more about Amy on our About page and see her bio below.
Finding the Right Pet Friendly Rental Car Company
In recent years, the idea of enjoying a vacation with your pets has become the norm. From ski and snow resorts in Aspen to pet friendly hotels in Orlando, vacation destinations have adjusted and met the demand for pet friendly vacations and accommodations. While hotels and resorts have come around to the idea, car rentals still pose a challenge to some pet-friendly travelers. Without knowing, your vacation could take a turn for the worse with hidden fees and limited access to vehicles.
Not all rental car companies are the same when it comes to traveling with your pets. Many companies have specific pet policies that may or may not allow you to have pets within the vehicle. Add to that the possibility of “hidden fees” and you might have a major headache on your hands. While we always recommend calling the rental car company to discuss their individual pet friendly policies, our comprehensive list of agencies and their guidelines is a great starting point.
Pet Friendly Rental Car Companies
In most cases, the major rental car companies in the United States allow pets to ride in their vehicles with no additional fees. These rental car companies include Advantage, Alamo, Avis, National and Dollar. Some rental agencies, like Budget and Hertz, specifically use the terms “housebroken” and “domestic” in their pet policies allowing pets to ride in the vehicles at no additional charge. In all cases, renters are responsible for any damage caused by pets.
Both Payless and Thrifty Car Rental have pet policies that vary from location to location. Although many do allow pets to travel within their vehicles, some do not. If you are planning to rent from these agencies, it is best to call in advance to make certain that particular branch has a favorable pet policy.
Although it may vary from location to location, most Enterprise Rent-A-Car agencies do not allow pets within their vehicles. Also, if you are lucky enough to find an Enterprise that does allow pets in their cars, the pets will need to be confined to a carrier. It is best to call Enterprises’ central reservations to determine the exact policy for your rental location.
Avoiding Unexpected Charges
In all cases, rental car companies require that the vehicle is returned without damage, cleaned, and free of pet hair. That last point is of particular significance to many pet owners. Having additional fees tacked onto your credit card for a bit of dog hair could be a shock to you and your wallet. To avoid these additional fees and to make clean up much easier, we turned to an inexpensive shower curtain and doormat.
Why a shower curtain? First, a nylon-like shower curtain generates a bit of static cling so loose hairs tend to be pulled to the shower curtain instead of the upholstery of the car. Also most shower curtains have prebuilt reinforced holes – and those holes are perfect for securing it to the vehicle. Keep in mind that if the car you are renting has a cargo area you might need to invest in an additional shower curtain to cover both the back seats and the cargo area.
In our rental vehicle, we removed the back seat head rests and slid the legs of the headrests through the holes of the curtain. When we placed the headrests back into place the headrests secured the shower curtain perfectly. If you find it difficult to remove the headrests, invest in two or three carabiners to attach the shower curtain to the headrest posts. Make certain you spread out the curtain to ensure maximum coverage and then place the rubber-backed doormat on top of the shower curtain. This will make sure that your curtain doesn’t slip and slide in the vehicle and will also give your dogs a comfy surface to stand on.
When it is time to return your rental car clean up should be a snap. Carefully remove the shower curtain and shake off the collected fur. Take a lint roller to the upholstery and knock out any stray hairs the curtain was unable to collect.
Amy Burkert runs the award-winning pet travel website, GoPetFriendly.com, which makes it easy to plan a trip with your entire family. Her blog, Take Paws, is an encyclopedia of pet travel tips, pet friendly destination advice, and stories of the adventures she and her husband share as they travel full-time in their Winnebago with their dogs, Ty and Buster.
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