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Finding pet-friendly accommodation when travelling isn’t always easy. Kennels and catteries can be expensive, and many hotels and self-catering cottages won’t welcome your furry friends. Thankfully, many of our members are pet-owners themselves, so if you’re looking for a gorgeous dog-friendly home swap, or you’d like to enjoy a house exchange with your cat, then you’re in the right place. Many of our members are happy to welcome fellow animal-lovers, so read on for the etiquette of travelling with your four-legged friends – plus some cracking tips from our members.   

 

How can I travel with my pet - or leave my pet at home while I go on holiday?  

They're both great questions. For many pet-owners, the thought of leaving their friends behind while they travel is enough to make them reluctant to travel altogether (especially given the hefty price tag attached). So if the thought of travelling without your pet is a no-go, you’ll be happy to hear that there are options available. 

If you’d like to bring your pet on holiday with you, then you’ll find that many of our members live in properties that are perfectly equipped for dogs, cats – or whatever and whoever it is that you’re travelling with! Alternatively, if you want to leave your pet at home to be cared for by a home swap guest, then that can be easily arranged too – leaving you to travel freely, safe in the knowledge that your pet is happy at home, being cared for by fellow animal-lovers. 

How to find pet-friendly homes

How to let others know you’re pet friendly

 

Our members share their top tips and experiences: 

Avid home swapper Chisara has exchanged her apartment in London for a number of gorgeous house exchanges – and her trusty companion Sensi was there every step of the way...  

 

 

“I love home swapping with my dog. It’s really good, because there are a lot of places that are really pet-friendly, so Sensi and I can hop in the car and go somewhere. The people that I have ended up swapping with have always been extremely helpful and accommodating.  I've done swaps with and without my dog and I’m open to swappers that want to bring their dog to my place too.” 

 

What’s been your favourite home swap with Sensi?  

“Definitely our Newquay trip in the summer...we both absolutely loved it! The house had a garden, so I could leave the door open for Sensi. What was great was that we could get up in the morning and walk along the beach instead of walking through Finsbury park, and then at lunch we’d go to the beach to play or for another walk! At the end of the day, instead of going to the gym, I was taking my dog off to explore the city or for a hike. It’s great when you can get into a different area, especially for Sensi because he loves exploring. It's a chance to change my scenery, get out of the city, and get more space to run around!” 

 

What are your tips for travelling with a pet?  

“Talk to your host about what services they typically use locally and ask if they can provide any emergency numbers for dog walkers, minders etc. This was super amazing during our stay when I wanted to go sightseeing at a place that didn't allow dogs. I didn't want to leave Sensi by himself for that length of time, and their existing sources and connections were amazingly helpful! As a host, having this information ready for your swappers is such a lovely touch! Additionally, make sure to ask and respect their house rules regarding what pets are and are not allowed to do and use. For example, some swaps allow pets on furniture, while others do not.” 

Read more about Chisara and Sensi’s adventures. 

 

 

Marie is an experienced swapper, and currently swaps homes around five times a year with her partner and their dog.  

 

She says:  

“I don’t attempt to contact the people who have stated no pets. I do still message the people who haven’t specified and those that say pet-friendly. Trying to find properties with a dog may seem like a challenge, but there are lots of dog-friendly properties. We’ve been lucky enough to find swappers who are happy for us to bring our dog. We’ve stayed in many properties in the UK and it’s worked out wonderfully. We love travelling with our furry friend. She’s part of the family.”  

Read more about Marie’s travels. 

 

Things to consider (as a host):

Having a pet-friendly home is a great selling point for many home swappers. But before you finalise your swap, make sure you’ve asked the following questions: 

 

1. What kind of pets will be staying?

The requirements of home swappers with pets will vary greatly according to the type of pet, and how many of them will be staying. And if it’s a dog, what kind of dog? If you’re living in a cosy city apartment without easy outdoor access – and your guests are arriving with a Great Dane – you’re going to want to make sure there’s enough room for the pet to be happy. 

 

2. Who will be looking after your pets?

If your home is pet-friendly, then it’s more than likely that you have a pet yourself. Be sure to confirm with your guest whether your pet(s) will be staying at home with them, and whether their pets will be comfortable around yours. You’ll also need to confirm the level of care that your pet will need – if your dog expects walking several times a day, then they need to know this when making their plans! Likewise, if your pet doesn’t like to leave the house (particularly house cats that aren’t used to being outdoors) then you need to discuss these details upfront.  

 

3. Have you made it clear to other home swappers that you have pets?

It’s great for pet-owners to know their pets are welcome to stay at yours, however it’s also important to warn others in case of allergies. The best way to do this is to include a mention of your pet in your home listing description, and you should also flag this up with your guest during your trip discussion.

 

Things to consider (as a guest):

You've found your dream property and you're ready to go. But before you pack your bags, ask yourself the following questions:

 

1. Has the host specifically agreed to let your pet stay?

When planning a home exchange, always make sure you have confirmed with your host that they are happy to accommodate your pet (even if it says they’re pet-friendly in their profile). It's really helpful to mention this in your initial exchange request, so give a brief description of your pet (including the type and breed) so that your host is fully aware of everyone (and everything!) who will be staying in their home. 

 

2. Have you made the relevant travel preparations?

If you are crossing borders with your pet, ensure that you have done your research to find out what paperwork and certificates you will need to bring your pet into that country. This can include, but isn’t limited to:

- Health and rabies certificate

- Vaccination history

- Proof of ownership

 

3. Are you equipped to prevent damage and handle any accidents?

It seems like an obvious thing to say, but if you are taking your pet with you on a home swap, remember to leave their home in the same (if not better!) condition than when you arrived. This means making sure that your pet is well-behaved, house-trained, and comfortable travelling and staying in an unknown home. Of course, accidents can happen, so make sure that you come prepared with the right cleaning equipment if an accident were to arise, and for any bigger damage, get in touch with your host to explain and arrange a suitable solution. And don’t forget that our friendly Customer Service team are always ready to help!  

 

How to find pet-friendly home swaps

We’ve made it easy to find homes that are suitable for pets. Simply go to the filters, and under ‘Swap preferences’ select ‘Pet friendly’.  

 

You can also see on a member’s profile whether their home is pet-friendly by looking in the property features section.

You’ll find a huge amount of our members are open to hosting your furry friends, but it’s also possible that members who haven’t specified whether or not they are pet-friendly may be open to hosting your well-behaved pet (because circumstances and attitudes change all the time, and it’s possible that they just haven’t got round to updating their preferences!) All you need to do is send the homeowner a friendly message introducing yourself, and explaining that you’d love to stay in their home with your pet. If you need a few hints on writing the ideal introductory message, then you might find this blog about securing more swaps useful.  

 

How to let others know your home is pet-friendly

It’s easy to let others know you’re pet-friendly so you can come up in search results. Simply head to your account and go to ‘my homes’ section, select the property you would like to edit, click general and scroll down to select ‘Pet friendly?

You'll find thousands of pet-friendly homes on Love Home Swap - and just as many animal lovers who will be happy to take care of your pets while you're away. So all you need to ask yourself, is where in the world you'd like to go?! For a little travel inspiration, check out our blog - or head to our Facebook groups to start a chat with other members to find out their recommendations for travelling with a pet. And don't forget to share your experiences and travel tales with us on our social channels using #welovehomeswap

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