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