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Pet Travel: An Inspired Itinerary with Pet Friendly Hotels near Los Angeles

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Your dog is part of the family, so it makes sense that you want your pooch with you when you travel. There’s also nothing like a Southern California road trip filled with sun, surf, sand, amusement parks, and one Frisbee loving dog! Yes dog lovers, we’ve got you covered for pet travel. Here’s a Hilton Resort inspired pet travel itinerary for those who want to take Fido, Rover, Scout and other canine friends on the road with them, and it’s packed with something for every member of the family!

DAY 1: Check in the Hilton Universal

Conveniently located adjacent to Universal Studios Hollywood, Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City is pet friendly. Dogs are allowed on leash in the hotel lobby, as well as around the pool and hot tub areas. We found the staff to be very welcoming, even to our dog. Universal Studios however, does not allow pets.

Pet travel to Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City - View from room

The entrance to Universal Studios could clearly be seen from our room at the pet friendly Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City.

Check Your Dog into the Bow Wow Bungalow

Having been a dog owner for more than 15 years, I’ve seen a lot of doggie day cares. I must say that this small local business is one of the best and most nurturing I’ve ever seen. The Bow Wow Bungalow resembles a large private dog park with both indoor and outdoor play areas that include fountains, a pool, tunnels, and all sorts of colorful fun spots for dogs to frolic.

Great care is taken to ensure that only well-socialized dogs with playful temperaments are part of the pack that your dog will hang with. All dogs must pass an evaluation in order to stay at the Bow Wow Bungalow. It’s free of charge and includes a short interview as well as a free half-day of daycare, which is about six hours of time. During this time your dog is closely observed and rated on socialization and temperament.

Visit Warner Brothers Studio

While our dog was undergoing her evaluation, which we knew she’d ace, we took the VIP tour at Warner Brothers Studios. This was an amazing perspective on making movies and television shows. Groups are kept small; there were about a dozen people in our extra large golf cart. Visitors even got on and off the cart during the tour.

We got a peek inside a couple of homes on the lot, many of which looked familiar, to find they were mere shells with not much inside. We learned all sorts of interesting tidbits about the trickery that goes into shooting in these situations as well as other spots around the studios. We checked out the sound stages of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Big Bang Theory. We even sat on the couch in Central Perk from Friends!

After the tour, pick up an exhausted happy dog and relax by the hot tub together.

DAY 2: Visit Universal Studios

Our dog passed the evaluation with flying colors, so she went back to the Bow Wow Bungalow for another day of fun and play while we visited Universal Studios. As we enjoyed a second day of taking in movie making magic on the Universal Studios tour, watched multiple shows, rode brand new attractions like Transformers and Despicable Me, and pondered the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter, our dog was running, playing, and having a great time under watchful caring eyes. She was again happy and tired when we retrieved her at the end of the day. She easily settled in for the evening, nestled between our kids as they watched a movie.

Visiting Universal Studios while our dog enjoyed his own pet hotel in Los Angeles.

While our dog played at the Bow Wow Bungalow, we had fun at Universal Studios.

DAY 3: Check into the Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel

Just an hour’s drive from Universal City, The Waterfront Beach Resort is located across the street from a pristine stretch of coastline near the original Surf City, Huntington Beach. The resort allows dogs around the pool, including on the patio area of its Shades Restaurant, and in the hotel’s hallways and grounds.

The hotel is so dog-friendly that there’s even a room service menu for canine guests. Select from meaty staples such as chicken and rice, kibble and steak, beef stew, and hot dogs. Dinner is even delivered to your room on a silver platter with a bowl of fresh water.

Take your dog for a walk

The town of Huntington Beach is a short walk from the hotel and home to the U.S. Open of Surfing. We strolled the Surfer’s Hall of Fame; much like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the sidewalks in Huntington Beach are filled with plaques calling out notables in the competitive surfing world.

You’ll be hard pressed not to notice many other dog owners walking the same route. There are plenty of cute shops and sidewalk cafes in the area that are happy to welcome your four legged friends along with the rest of the family. If you’re feeling rather ambitious in stretching your legs, continue down Main Street toward the ocean and pick up the Huntington Beach Pier on the other side of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). At 1,850 feet in length, it is one of the longest piers on the West Coast.

While dogs aren’t allowed on the beach below it, that’s ok because there’s a beautiful beach designated for them located just a short stint down the PCH. The Huntington Dog Beach is a beautiful one-mile oasis of sand and surf where dogs can socialize, frolic, and play as well as vie for Frisbees and balls off leash.

Pet Travel - View from our room at the pet-friendly Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach

The view from our room at The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel.

The Benefits of Pet Travel

  1. Pets amp up the fun: Our dog is a golden retriever, which means she has a great temperament as well as unending energy that needs to be released. This keeps us on the move, even more than we usually are. Because while our kids are at an age where we may have to drag them away from their electronic devices to get them outdoors, our dog expects to be taken to the beach!

  2. Maintain the look of a local rather than a tourist: Whether we were walking along the beach or strolling down city streets during our trip, we were often asked for directions. Because we were traveling with our dog, it was assumed that we must be locals. You gain a different perspective on a new city or town when you are treated like you’ve lived there all along.

  3. It was actually cost effective: Once we added up the fees some hotels charge for having a dog in your room and the cost of the two daycare centers Kona visited, it turned out we actually spent less having her with us than we would have by boarding her!

Tips for Traveling With Your Pet

  1. Ask yourself: Will my dog travel well? Just as we want to believe that our kids will adapt to every situation, we want believe the same for our pets. Be honest, though, because taking a timid or high-strung animal on the road with you will be a recipe for disaster. Don’t put yourself through that when you’re on vacation! Take only well-socialized animals with easy going temperaments.

  2. Make arrangements well in advance: We traveled with our dog during Thanksgiving week. During a busy travel time with most kids out of school, pet friendly hotels and doggie daycare accommodations can fill up quickly. Plan ahead so you don’t miss out!

  3. Bring copies of health records: Be sure your pet is up-to-date on shots and that you can prove it! No daycare service can take your animal otherwise.

  4. Pack properly: Just as you would pack everything your kids would need for a trip, do the same for your dog. Medications, leash, toys, food and water, bowls, and bedding are among the items that should be on the packing list.

  5. Ensure proper ID: Make sure your dog is micro-chipped and/or wearing a collar with your name and contact information on it so that if you are separated a reunion can be easily facilitated!

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Kristine lives in Mountain View, California, where she is the mother of a gifted girl athlete and a special needs charmer. Like almost everything in her house,…

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