Traveling with pets? My go to hotel is LaQuinta when available – HaliPawz

I love travelling with my two dogs.  They are part of my everyday life, so it only makes sense I enjoy them when I am on the road as well.  When I moved from Michigan to Missouri eleven years ago, I learned how to travel better with my one dog, Jake, because I was on the road so much for work.  Even traveling home for a visit, I had to plan accordingly because it wasn’t always easy to find a place to stop if I drove.  When I flew, Jake had to be in a travel carrier and travel as cargo.  I hated it.  I was always worried something would happen to him.  It caused me to choose car as a way of traveling instead.  A thirteen hour drive without stopping can make for a long trip, especially when I was traveling after working all day.

Then I discovered the LaQuinta hotel chain!  They quickly became my go to hotel chain of choice.

Let’s discuss the reasons why:

LaQuinta currently operates over 830 locations throughout the US, Mexico, and Canada.  I know they have grown quite a bit over the last few years, so they are becoming easier and easier to find in a location I am traveling to.  Of course, I have emailed them more than once to open one up in my home town of Port Huron, Michigan so I can stay there when I go home to visit family.  Maybe one day!  They may not always be in the prime spot in the city, so if you are hoping for an ocean view room, or a location right in the heart of the city you are traveling to, then you may want to consider a different hotel, but they are usually within a close proximity of where I want to be.

LaQuinta is affordable!  Yes, cost is a huge factor for me when I travel.  I try to find the best priced location when I travel and I have found LaQuinta to participate in many of the travel discounts available.  This is an important side note, LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS!!!!  You should NEVER pay full price for any hotel.  Don’t always assume the discount option you chose the last time is the cheapest option this time.  I will write another blog about traveling on a budget later.

The rooms are nice.  Now, I do want to put in a disclaimer.  If I am not familiar with the location, I will call them to find out if they are a corporate location or a franchise.  If they are a corporate location, I will book with them in a heartbeat.  If they are a franchise location, I will first look to see if there is another location within the same proximity.  If there isn’t, I will go and look for reviews, study the pictures, and I will have to consider if I still want to book at the location.  Not every franchise location is bad, but there has consistently been a difference in the quality of the rooms between the franchise locations and the corporate locations.  The corporate locations have been redesigned.  The rooms are nice, the colors are cheery, the staff always seem to be friendly.

Speaking of staff, the staff is another reason I like to choose the LaQuinta hotels when I travel with my dogs.  With the exception of one location in Georgie, I NEVER feel like traveling with my dogs is a pain to them.  I never feel like I have to hide the fact my dogs are with me.  The staff seem genuinely happy to see them.  They greet them.  They smile when they see them.

All of their locations, with three exceptions, are dog friendly in the US.  I have never travelled outside of the US with my pets, so I can not speak for their Mexico and Canada locations.  I was told the reason the three do not is because of where they are built, there is no grass for the dogs to be taken outside, so they cannot be welcoming of pets.

They have a great rewards program.  If you do any traveling, always look into the hotels rewards program, but I can attest to LaQuinta’s being great.  It is so easy to earn free nights or turning the points into gift cards, airline miles, charitable donations, magazines, or even luxury resort partnerships.  I use mine for free nights except one time I turned it in for a gift card.  Redeeming for a free night is extremely easy.  You can do it on their website or by making a phone call.  I have never had a problem redeeming points, even at midnight ten minutes before I arrived at the hotel because I was driving overnight and got tired.

Their rewards program is on a tiered system, where the more you stay, the quicker it is for you to earn points towards a free night.  I have been at the Platinum level every year except this year.  I am not traveling as much so I am not staying in any hotel as much as I used to.  Another nice thing about their rewards program is you usually receive a follow up survey about your stay.  While you do not earn any points for filling it out, I can speak from personal experience someone DOES indeed read them and follow up.  On the rare occasion I have had a bad experience, I receive follow up rather quickly and even received a partial refund on my stay because of the situation. I can probably count on one hand how many times I have had a bad experience, so when it does happen, it doesn’t deter me from the brand, just that location.

One of the best reasons for choosing LaQuinta when traveling with pets is because they do not have a breed restriction, a size restriction, or a number’s restriction.  They are just as happy to see my 100lb Neapolitan Mastiff Bella as they are to see my lovable, Jack Russell Terrier Zipper.  Of course, Zipper wins them over because he constantly tries to jump up on the counter (a bad habit he was taught at a LaQuinta we frequented often shortly after I adopted him).  There are a few locations that ask you to fill out a pet release where you include your cell phone number.  There are some that state the animal can not be left in the room unattended.  I find these are usually at the franchise locations.  I have never had a problem at a corporate location.

Most of the corporate locations have designated areas to walk your dog, including pick up bags.  The property is usually well maintained, so you don’t have to worry about stepping in messes left from lazy dog owners.  The dogs are not allowed in the breakfast area, for obvious reasons.  They do not want dogs in the area where food is served.  They are usually welcomed in the lobby area provided they are behaving and leashed.  Again, the only exception I have ever had is the location in Georgia where I was clearly informed they were not allowed in the lobby and I had to remove them.  It stunk because I was with a large group, my entire family was staying there, so I would have preferred to have my dog with me instead of locked up in the room, but I respected their wishes.

Speaking of breakfast areas, they have a decent continental breakfast.  There are always waffles, one of their signature items, but then, depending on the location, they may have biscuits and gravy or hard boiled eggs, in addition to the traditional continental breakfast items.

So, the next time you are getting ready to plan a trip and your fur babies are going with you, consider staying at a LaQuinta if one is available in you area of travel.  You can visit their site, which is easy to navigate, at LQ.com.  It is important to remember, as pet owners, you are responsible for your pet.  If they have an accident on the floor, CLEAN it up.  If they are chewers on doors, don’t leave them unattended.  Even if your dog is well behaved off leash, when you are staying at a hotel, USE A LEASH!  Not only is it probably a requirement where you are, but you also don’t know what other dogs are going to be traveling.  Just because a dog travels, doesn’t mean they are dog friendly.  My Jack Russell is not dog friendly.  More than once, I have had to tell a dog owner to recall their dog because it comes running up to mine off leash.  I am always quick to say he isn’t dog friendly from a distance but too many owners say, “Oh, my dog gets along with everyone.”  Those are the owners who ruin it for everyone else.

I want to note I wrote this blog completely to help other owners.  LaQuinta was not aware of this blog at all.  I do want to say a special thank you to one LaQuinta.  I never formally thanked the La Quinta Inn Little Rock at Rodney Parham Rd  1010 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock, AR for their amazing support towards me and my late Rat Terrier Jake.  Jake was suffering with cancer and our last trip was to Little Rock.  We had been there many times, so the staff knew him and me very well.  I am sure the same staff is not there as this was back in 2008, but his last couple of days here, he lost control of his bowels.  He stopped eating.  He, sadly, had a horrible accident in the hotel room.  I knew the end was near.  I took him to a veterinary down there and they were able to get him rehydrated and we took the chance of getting him home to Kansas City, to his cancer specialist.  When I told the staff about the accident and offered to pay extra for cleaning, not only did they tell me to not worry about it, but they were genuinely concerned about him and me.  When I notified them of his passing, many of them I had encountered throughout my stays signed a card and mailed it to me.  I have never forgotten how wonderful they were.  I had ever made a collage for them to hang up, but circumstances happened and I wasn’t able to return for a couple years.  By then, they had a new manager and it didn’t seem fitting to give them the collage.  Even with new staff, that particular location will always hold a special place in my heart.

Zipper in Little Rock.

Zipper in Little Rock.

I hope this helps the readers the next time they are getting ready to travel with their pet(s).

 

If you like this article and other articles I’ve written, please follow me on twitter @HaliPawz and like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

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Shaving with a Savings-HaliPawz

Sometimes I am like a dog with a bone when it comes to finding the best item at the best price.  I love finding the best savings on a product I like.  I chalk it up to my inquisitive mind, my taste for the best, and that I hate spending money! Recently, that focus was on razors. I HATE spending money on razors but I don’t want to use the cheap ones that cut up your legs, so I spend the money and regret it the whole time. Of course, like so many, I then tend to use them too long and eventually end up not getting as smooth of a shave as I would like.

I started noticing on Facebook that razors were being promoted stating things like, “women you don’t have to use a pink razor just because you’re a woman, you can use the same razor as a man” or “shave for a dollar a week”. I ignored the ads at first because, let’s face it, most of the “advertised” stuff on Facebook leads to spam emails and more annoying advertisements. After a month or two…..OK, confession time…..after I was out of razors and needed to go spend money on some, the ads caught my attention again.

Here are the thoughts that entered my head:

  1.  Is it legitimate?
  2. Is it really as inexpensive as they say?
  3. Do the razors work?
  4. Why do they have to be so blasted ugly??  Those razors they use in the ads are scary looking, I guess they want men to know they are really “manly”!
  5. Why is it we women have to use an ugly silver razor, why can’t they be a pretty blue or purple and make the man use the colorful razor?

Now I know number 4 is just my own opinion. Some people may think they look sleek and sexy. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say. Besides, if 1-3 are good, then my penny-pinching ways will help me look past number 4 any day!

Number 5 is never going to change. If we want something that be used by both men and women, we are always going to have to settle for the not so eye appealing item to appease the man. They can’t be seen with a pretty colored item, that’s not chest pounding “MANLY”. Yes, sometimes I make myself chuckle as I picture my own words.

Back to the list. I will go in order now.

Number 1….legitimacy. There is only one way to find out. I started looking for reviews of the company OFF of Facebook. I weeded through the well written reviews. I like to read the different levels of reviews. Sometimes you have to get past the 1 star people who will hate anything and everything. They are the ones that expect the $10 item to work as well as the $1000 item their neighbor purchased but they only want to spend $5 for the thing. As I was reading the reviews about the company AND the product, everything seemed to be ok. No one seemed to have any real issues with them. There was the occasional, I couldn’t cancel when I wanted story. Again, sometimes you have to read multiple reviews because not everyone takes the time to read HOW to cancel an automatic shipment and then gets mad when things don’t get canceled correctly.

On to number 2…….price. I went through and started to process an order. There didn’t seem to be any hidden fees. I get to checkout and notice a location for discount code. WHAT??? Inexpensive razors that STILL have the possibility of a bigger discount! Let me go back to the internet! As I was searching for the discount code I come across someone asking HOW can they be so inexpensive and someone else answered that they are Dorco razors purchased in bulk. Dorco? I had never heard of that company before. Another internet search begins.

Much to my surprise, Dorco razors do exist and even better, I can purchase DIRECTLY from them. Getting rid of the middle man and the middle man’s middle man. I go to their website dorcousa.com and start browsing. The first thing I notice is…..There are razors for both genders! What?!?! No ugly silver razor? I can get an attractive razor FOR THE SAME PRICE as the unattractive one? This is getting even better! I start reading the reviews. All pretty favorable. So number 2 and number 3 are checked off my list in my mind because the reviews are strong. What’s even better is that they have a variety to choose from. After going through each one, I started to get the woman’s variety pack but then decided to just purchase Shai Trial Pack. The Shai razor seemed to be designed specifically for a woman’s body. It had a flexible head, multiple blades. The reviews were all favorable.

I begin my checkout session. I find the Shai Trial Pack for a promotional price of $17.50. Then I find a COUPON CODE online (Yay me!) that takes an addition $2.63 off. Shipping was $4.99. So, for $19.86 I get the following: One Razor Handle with two six blade flexible cartridges plus an additional 8 replacement cartridges. Because that is a lot of numbers all at once, I’ll save you the headache….. TEN Cartridges TOTAL for less than $20 including shipping! Are you kidding me? Now to wait and see if they really work.

From the date I ordered them to the date they were delivered was a total of 5 days. Not too bad for budget shipping considering that was them processing the order, shipping it out, AND I ordered it on a Friday, received on the following Wednesday.

I opened the package and was pleasantly surprised.

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First, the package that the handle and two cartridge come in was a plastic blister pack but it had an easy open slit in the back. I LOVE packaging that is easy to open!

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It also comes with a base that has a suction cup back for you to hang the handle in the shower.   Another nice feature is that all of the replacement cartridges come with a plastic protective cover. This makes them easy to travel with and store. They also included a coupon for 5% off my next purchase if I used it within he next three weeks.  A nice option if I had purchased a smaller amount.

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I had not even used the razor yet and I was already impressed with this company.

Now, for the true test, does the razor WORK?

Yes! The handle fits in my hand very nicely. I don’t feel like I’m fighting with it as I shave. The shave is nice and smooth. I have to admit I am one of those lazy shavers that doesn’t use shaving cream. I just use soap and a loofah and shave using the soap. Even with that, the shave was nice and smooth. I am not an extremely safe shaver either, one of the reasons I don’t use the cheap $2 disposable razors because I would always cut myself with them. Not the case with these at all….and they are less than the $2 razor! It glides over my legs nicely. I didn’t have to do repeated passes to remove the hair. The razor rinses pretty well under water.

One takeaway is that they last much past a week of shaving (I know most razors don’t, just stating these are no exception). Perhaps in the winter when I am not shaving every single day, they will last longer, but I noticed by day eight or nine I was starting to have to repeat my pass in order to remove the hair.

I wouldn’t count on the holder if you have tiled shower walls. I tried so many ways to get it to suction on my wall and I would come in the next day to the razor being on the floor. One time I thought it had broken because it was in three pieces, not just two, but I was able to snap the one piece back on to the handle and then put the cartridge back on. I would say not to bother if you can’t get it to suction the first one or two times. I have thought about just putting a different, larger suction cup on it to see if that would help, but I haven’t bothered yet. If I do, I will definitely update this post.

To help you out, if you want to order from them, click this link: Save 20% with Dorco and you’ll save 20% off your order!

Thank you and happy Shaving and Saving!